Tulsa City and County Continuum of Care, known as A Way Home For Tulsa, is coordinated by CSC and comprised of 23 agencies, all working together to end chronic and veteran homelessness through a national campaign called Built for Zero.
As a part of this work, each year A Way Home For Tulsa facilitates Tulsa’s Point-in-Time (PIT) homeless population count on the last Thursday of January, as required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The 2017 results are in, showing an increase of 1.6% in chronically homeless individuals living in Tulsa (131 from 118 in 2016). Chronic homelessness is defined as an individual, or family, with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years that total one year.
The increase noted in chronically homeless individuals in 2017 is attributed to several reasons, including the relatively mild winter weather, the state budget crisis, and the improved counting practices undertaken by area partners.
Furthermore, the annual count found 824 people, including 99 children, staying in emergency shelters, public facilities or on the street. The number of homeless veterans counted fell by two to 106, down from 125 in 2015.
In addition to the street count, the survey asks a series of questions to gather demographic and service needs information, and collects data from five emergency shelters and the areas’ transitional, permanent and Safe Haven housing programs, including domestic violence emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.
While the PIT count increased slightly this year, significant improvements have been made and collaborations developed to improve the lives of hundreds of homeless individuals in Tulsa throughout this past year.
“While the PIT survey showed an increased number of overall homeless in Tulsa County this year, the increased collaboration between agencies that has been facilitated by the Built for Zero campaign means we have better measurements in place,” said Sandra Lewis, chairperson of AWH4T and executive director of the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless.