As of March 23, the Tulsa Health Department (THD) has confirmed 72,378 positive COVID-19 cases in Tulsa County, with 774 people having died. Test results and additional data can be found at www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19.
City of Tulsa Updates
A mask mandate remains in effect in Tulsa city limits until April 30, 2021. Additional COVID-19 requirements are also in place. For the most up-to-date information on the City’s COVID-19 mitigation efforts, along with COVID-19 news and business resources, visit www.cityoftulsa.org/COVID19.
As the effects of Spring Break are being monitored, Mayor Bynum, the Tulsa City Council, THD and Tulsa’s local hospitals will continue to stay in contact with one another. The City will make future decisions as warranted by what comes out of those data-based discussions.
On Monday, March 29, anyone over 16 years old who wants a COVID-19 vaccine can schedule an appointment through the State’s vaccine portal at: vaccinate.ok.gov
The portal is also available in Spanish, which can be accessed on the top righthand corner of a desktop or mobile device.
For questions on vaccines and appointments, call THD at (918) 582-9355 or call 211.
COVID-19 Relief Funding Updates
Emergency Rental Assistance Program
In just over a week, the launch of the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) on March 15 has drawn more than 2,600 applications with more than $7 million in requests received for rent and utility assistance. The City and County’s partner organization, Restore Hope Ministries, is processing each application and will notify the tenants who have been approved. Distribution of funds is anticipated to begin April 1. It is important to note the funds will go directly to the landlord or property manager.
The program’s goal is to help any tenant within the Tulsa city county area who has been affected directly or indirectly during the pandemic. The City of Tulsa was awarded more than $12 million for ERAP from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. To find out if you’re eligible and apply for the assistance, visit https://erap.restorehope.org/. For more information on the program, call (918) 528-9008.
The City’s overflow shelter has seen more than 21,731 visitations at the former Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center with the majority being male, making up 72 percent of the participants, 28 percent are female, six percent are veterans and five percent visited for the first time. It opened in September 2020 to help individuals experiencing homelessness. The facility, under the lead of the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, continues to provide crucial services during the pandemic that include shelter, free wellness exams, veterinary care, legal aid and case management. In collaboration with Iron Gate, more than 33,830 meals have been provided. Other partners in this citywide effort include the Community Service Council and Housing Partners of Tulsa.
The money allocation is also helping fund the City Lights Hotel, in partnership with the City Lights Foundation. It provides a low-barrier shelter for those experiencing homelessness. The hotel has sheltered 225 individuals. Eighty-two of those needed isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. Approximately 37 of the residents were discharged from local hospitals, and the hotel also helped permanently house 44 individuals. Thanks to a partnership among local restaurants, the staff provides three meals a day for the hotel residents along with case management and connection to support services.
More than 900 households have signed up for subsidized internet service through the City’s partnership with Cox Communications. Eligible households interested in this service must currently lack internet at home and have a current student enrolled in Tulsa Public Schools, Union Public Schools, Jenks Public or Charter Schools, Educare, Headstart or CAP Tulsa who are receiving either government assistance or those who live in Section 8 Housing or live in Public Housing, among other eligibility requirements. For more information on the program and see if you qualify, contact Tulsa Responds at (918) 900-0918 or visit: https://www.tulsaresponds.org/
Financial Empowerment Center
Since the Financial Empowerment Center (FEC) launched in December, it has served 40 clients and has held 91 sessions. The one-on-one financial counseling is free for individuals, regardless of income, who are looking for long-term help in their financial goals. The topics include dealing with debt, creating a budget, building their savings and improving their credit. These are ongoing sessions with a trained counselor. Services are available in English and Spanish, as well as other languages supported through “Language Line.” You can schedule an appointment online or call (918) 802-7279.
The Financial Navigators (FN) program also assists individuals with free financial advice, but the sessions are shorter than FEC. Counselors assist individuals with more immediate needs. The service is for those who need quick, immediate help on their finances. To date, 206 sessions have been completed and 1,692 referrals given. Navigators will speak with the client over the phone, identify resources and send them action steps they can take. Services are offered in Spanish, Zomi and Burmese. Utilities hardship, rental assistance and food insecurity continue to be the top three topics of concern among callers. More information on the program, along with how to schedule an appointment, can be found online or by calling 211.
Student Support Camps
The City of Tulsa Parks and Recreation’s student support camps remain open Monday through Friday, with Virtual Wednesdays, to help with students’ distance learning. The camps offer pod-style learning areas where students 1st through 6th grade can complete distance learning under the supervision of a support aide. There is a $25 fee per student per week. To register, visit: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/camps
To learn more about other programs funded by COVID-19 relief funding, visit: https://www.cityoftulsa.org/cares
The City’s website, www.cityoftulsa.org, has a tool to help with translation assistance for any page. Website visitors can click the drop down menu on any page that says, “Select Language,” and choose from one of more than 100 different languages.