Those who run the local men's shelter first offer compassion.
"Jesus has asked us to give love to those that are in need of love and care for those that are in need of care," says Greg Sanders, Redemption House Ministries executive director. "I believe that part of our responsibility as Christians — as believers — is to become that person — or people — that support those that are on hard times."
Redemption House Ministries is one step closer to being able to offer compassion to more local homeless men who have fallen on hard times.
They received the approval of the City of Prineville Planning Commission a few weeks ago and have just completed the 12-day appeals period, said Ken Fahlgren, the Association of Oregon Counties local public safety coordinating council coordinator for Jefferson and Crook counties. On Tuesday, they received the conditional use permit from the City of Prineville.
"So now the work begins to sight a modular unit on the property," Fahlgren said.
The final purchase of the property will happen next week, and the modular unit on the following week. Fahlgren is working with contractors to install a septic system and with the city to set the water meter.
"If all goes well, we should be operational by November," Fahlgren said.
"Homelessness is definitely a hard time for many people," Sanders pointed out. "A lot of the people we come in contact with are not homeless because of their choices or because of bad decisions, it's because of their circumstances."
He says those who operate the shelter don't make any judgement of why they became homeless.
"We just try to offer that stepping stone or that step up in their current situation to hopefully get them to a situation where they can recover and start to do better for themselves," Sanders said.
The shelter, called Regeneration House, will be located at 970 and 980 NW Madras Highway, near The Outpost, and is intended to provide homeless men a place to stay. The facility will be operated by Redemption House Ministries, a faith-based organization that operates a women's shelter and opened a men's shelter in January of 2016.
They needed to find a new location for Regeneration House after Crook County officials decided to build a jail on the site of their Northeast Second Street shelter.
After vacating the eight-bed Second Street location in February, Redemption House Ministries was allowed to shelter up to 12 men each night at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Since May, no men's shelter has operated in Prineville.
Fahlgren and staff from St. Vincent de Paul of Crook County joined Redemption House in efforts to secure a new shelter location, resulting in Fahlgren finding two vacant lots on Madras Highway as well as a 24-by-60-foot manufactured module. The new shelter will have 16 beds.
Much of the funding comes from the estate of a anonymous local person who left a large sum to be used to purchase, build or operate a homeless shelter.
The shelter will open its doors each evening at 5 p.m., close them by 10 p.m., and reopen them at 6 a.m. when occupants will be asked to leave for the day.
"There's a significant population of homeless men in the community," Sanders said, noting that in 2016, Regeneration House served 47 individuals, but he believes there are around 50 homeless men in Prineville.
He points out that when men come to Regeneration House, they first offer compassion.
"We don't make them go to services, or we don't make them have Bible studies," he explained. "They're invited to become part of that tradition if they so choose, but our goal is to show them that love and that compassion first and earn that respect to talk to them about Christ."
Sanders said they don't want to impose their faith or beliefs upon them but instead want to give them love and care.
"Then, if we've earned that trust to talk to them about faith, then we do," he said.
Sanders says he is grateful to the residents surrounding the area of the new shelter.
Local Public Safety Coordinating Council and Redemption House Ministries will have a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate siting and opening a men's shelter at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25. The community is invited.
"We're going to try to be good neighbors in the community," Sanders said.
Regeneration House Groundbreaking Ceremony
Date: 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25
Location: 970 and 980 NW Madras Highway
For information about Regeneration House, contact Greg Sanders, 541-362-6995.