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City’s CARES Act Funding Used to Open Night Shelter to Ensure Homeless Population Receives Critical Services Amid Pandemic

Ensuring that Tulsans experiencing homelessness have a safe place to stay amid the pandemic, a warm meal and educational services that will enable them to transition into long-term and stable housing is a top priority for the City of Tulsa.

This week, the City’s temporary day shelter at the former Tulsa County Juvenile Justice Center opened for overnight services seven days a week, which is operated by the Tulsa Day Center. On Tuesday, 45 individuals enrolled at the night shelter, which has a capacity of up to 55 people. Meanwhile, the day shelter served 126 individuals.

According to Becky Gligo, the Housing Policy Director at the City of Tulsa, most of the participants are male, accounting for 82 percent of the visits and 18 percent female. During week two of operations, 21 percent of individuals were first-time visitors.

“The overflow shelter demonstrates the success we can have when we come together as a community to make homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring,” Gligo said. “Not only is it a place to stay, but it is a pathway to permanent housing for our most vulnerable neighbors.”

It takes a citywide collaboration between strong partners, such as Mental Health Association Oklahoma and A Way Home for Tulsa, to ensure this vulnerable population gets the help it needs during this difficult time. Thanks to Iron Gate, Tulsa’s largest stand-alone soup kitchen and grocery pantry, more than 1,235 meals have been distributed to participants.

Since September 8 when the shelter opened its doors, it has provided case management, housing services and medical care. Some of the participants have also signed up for A Better Way and other employment services to aid these individuals in removing barriers.

“The shelter also provides local businesses concrete steps to reduce the effects of homelessness on their day-to-day operations by referring those that need help to this facility,” Gligo added. “I am proud of our community for focusing on partnership and innovation to solve complex issues during this pandemic.”

Pet wellness clinics, in partnership with Skyline Animal Hospital, are also being provided to administer free vaccinations and exams.

This upcoming Saturday, October 3, a second pet clinic will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the shelter located on 315 S. Gilcrease Museum Rd., Tulsa, OK 74127.

For more information on the City’s homelessness response program and the other City projects funded by the CARES Act, you can visit: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/cares.