A homeless man's shelter in winter in Oklahoma City

Understanding homelessness is the first step to creating solutions. 

Oklahoma City began struggling with the issues surrounding homelessness more than a decade ago. During the 1970s, the successes of the oil industry and agriculture masked the growing population who were becoming homeless. During the last four decades, the number of people on the street and the number of families losing their housing has steadily increased. Also, during this time, a large number of public, private and faith-based agencies created their own programs to serve the homeless population.

Oklahoma City is moving away from the belief that emergency shelters are the answer toward a more lasting solution of a housing-first approach.

How Oklahoma City is addressing homelessness:

  • Defining and identifying who the homeless are.
  • Describing the role of community oversight through the Continuum of Care Committee.
  • Preventing Homelessness through early intervention.
  • Providing permanent supportive housing for those with disabling conditions.
  • Addressing housing and services for the homeless through homeless assistance programs.
    The addition of the WestTown resource center and day shelter. The shelter will provide a centralized, one-stop shop for locating housing and services and a daytime location for food and daily needs.
  • Researching homelessness by generating studies and reports that detail our long term plans, annual cost, progress and the results of our annual one-day count of the homeless.
  • Meeting monthly with the Coalition of the Needy and the Governor’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Oklahoma City continues to work toward achieving the goal of ending homelessness through collaboration with non-profit agencies, the faith-based community and state agencies.