Tulsa Homeless Count Up 10 Percent

Monday, July 8th 2019, 11:31 pm
By: Justin Shrair

Tulsa homelessness is up based on recent statistics. 

The Community Service Council released findings of their annual one night count, which was taken earlier this year, and some local organizations said the results were concerning.

The numbers released show that homelessness in the Tulsa area is up nearly 10 percent from last year.

"That's a bit of a gut check for those of us that are in the field that are working with homeless all the time," said Rev. Steve Whitaker, Senior Pastor and CEO of John 3:16 Mission.

This year 987 people chose to be surveyed during the annual one night count. Last year, 933.

"We are seeing our shelters staying full both day and night, and we are still seeing people come through the shelter who are first time homeless," said Mack Haltom, Executive Director of the Tulsa Day Center. 

The amount of people who are employed full time and who are homeless has also gone up. The most requested service out of the nearly 1 thousand people, is housing.

"Well that may, or may not be because of some of the lack of affordable housing," said Haltom.

The number of homeless veterans went down about sixteen percent. Which hasn't been clarified as to why. 

"Something is changing and we are not sure exactly what is going on," said Whitaker.

Whitaker and his team work to provide a full range of services, from meals to recovery programs. He said he believes the answer may be within a larger study.

"Let's find out what is going on in with culture. Lets get the anthropologists and sociologists all at the same table," said Whitaker.

There are nearly 30 different organizations around Tulsa ready to help.

"We are collaborating better," said Haltom. "We are communicating better."