(Update: Adding video and comment from Community Justice director, KTVZ.COM Poll)
Facility also will be for those who must avoid contact with minors
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Deschutes County is using a $1 million state grant to seek proposals from those able to provide new shelter and housing for men who as a result of court sentences can have no contact with minors, and/or must register as sex offenders.
Deschutes County Adult Parole & Probation has received a grant of just over $1 million under a state Emergency Order to purchase a four-plus bedroom property to shelter “male justice-involved individuals” – those who have a restriction on contact with minors or who have to register as a sex offender.
“A lot of even shelter services or other kind of subsidized housing that many of our other clients are able to access — they actually have restrictions on accepting those individuals.” Deevy Holcomb, director of Deschutes County Community Justice, said Tuesday. “Either because they themselves might also take minors into their program, or they’re located in a neighborhood that, you know, is close to a school or a church or a day care or something like that.”
The proposal would provide housing for at least eight men on parole or probation and two long-term beds. The expectation is that residents would continue to work and be part of the community while having access to housing in the area.
“We’re looking for a housing manager to have a significant presence — possibly not 24/7, but if we can, 24/7 — and then also possible for that provider to provide some sort of recovery and reentry support staff, maybe through their own organization, or just hooking those individuals up with services that they might be ready to access terms of housing or treatment or transportation.” Holcomb said.
Holcomb says sex offenders are more likely to end up homeless, due to the nature of their crimes. Overall, about 10% of those on parole or probation end up in a permanent cycle of homelessness and transitional outcomes.
The county aims to improve those outcomes, but knows finding a location to house sex offenders may be a challenge.
No location has been chosen for the housing, but the director says residents living near the facility will be notified of sex offenders in their area.
“In some cases, we think, well, maybe it’s going to be better to have it in a spot where there aren’t a lot of neighbors, not in a community. And that may be where we end up.” Holcomb said. “On the other hand, if it’s too remote, it’s possible that access to transportation or other necessary services might be really, really difficult and make it harder for those folks to do what they need to do to get back on the right track.”
The county is now waiting for organizations to respond to the the proposal to begin building. Questions from the public can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sept. 6.
Here’s the issue summary from last week’s county commission meeting:
Here’s the request for proposal: