Bethlehem Inn recently acquired the Greenway Motel in Redmond, Oregon for a new high-barrier homeless shelter. The 36-room motel located at 517 NW Birch Avenue will become Redmond’s first permanent, year-round shelter. The Oregon Community Foundation allocated funds for Project Turnkey to acquire motels/hotels for non-congregate shelters for people experiencing homelessness. Compass Commercial broker Howard Friedman, CCIM represented Bethlehem Inn in the transaction.
Friedman has been heavily involved with Bethlehem Inn for over 15 years. He cooks for the residents once a month at the Bend facility and serves on numerous committees and the board of directors, serving as Board President in 2019 and 2020.
“I am honored to be associated with this amazing organization,” Friedman stated. “Having assisted with the acquisition of both the Bend and Redmond facilities, as well as volunteering in the kitchen and serving on the board, I am constantly in awe of the staff, volunteers, fellow board members and especially our Executive Director, Gwenn Wysling. She selflessly and tirelessly provides shelter, help and hope to our most compromised population.”
Plans are in place to convert the 1960’s style motel into a full-occupancy shelter. The Inn contracted SunWest Builders to renovate the motel. Modifications will include a commercial kitchen and dining room, which will also serve as a classroom for community partners. The Inn will have laundry facilities and a clothing room, which will give residents access to clothing, shoes, and other essential items. Two of the six downstairs rooms will be ADA accessible, with 14 additional rooms available for residents upstairs.
Shortly after the Inn completed its new Bend campus in 2019, Bethlehem Inn Board of Directors and staff met with Central Oregon stakeholders to determine what future activity made sense for the institution. They factored this research into their 2020-2030 Strategic Plan.
Wysling stated, “We learned of the need and desire for increasing the geographic capacity beyond a single location in Bend; Redmond was on top of the list for consideration. When this Project Turnkey grant funding became available, the board and leadership staff agreed the opportunity was in alignment with the Inn’s strategic plan. Therefore, we decided to move forward with this purchase in Redmond.”
The Project Turnkey grant included acquisition funding, along with a portion of the funding necessary to convert the motel into a shelter. The Inn has a formal resident intake process to ensure the organization’s high-barrier requirements meet CDC guidelines. Bethlehem Inn also partners with over 70 agencies throughout the Central Oregon region, providing access to mental health and medical services, education, child services and more. While the Inn still must follow CDC shelter guidelines, they can accommodate 20 people by summer 2021. The Redmond location can house up to 88 people total as the CDC guidelines relax.
“We are fortunate to have such a centrally located opportunity to collaborate with our partner agencies and neighbors to help make a positive impact in the community for those who struggle with homelessness,” Wysling said.