Community Strategies to Protect Neighbors Experiencing Homelessness
Winter brings chilling temperatures that can drop below freezing for days on end in Tulsa. As we prepare to address the danger these temperatures pose to our neighbors experiencing homelessness, we also must look to the broader community to assist in these efforts. With current emergency shelter capacities, we are still hundreds of beds short of having a safe, warm option for everyone in our community.
Community Center and Churches can Help
Other communities across the country partner with local churches and community centers to care for their most vulnerable neighbors during the coldest nights in winter months. Some easy ways to step up and assist in this effort are:
OVERNIGHT WINTER SHELTER
Opening your facility as a shelter when temperatures get dangerously cold is a unique way to help your community, especially people without access to warm shelter.
Elements of a successful winter shelter include:
- Transporting individuals to the winter shelter location and returning them to a designated hub each morning.
- Proper equipment to ensure safe space for sleeping, bathroom facilities, and kitchen facilities if you plan to provide food.
- Supplies such as mats, pillows, blankets, hygiene and bathroom items
- Personnel onsite while neighbors are accessing the facilities
- Safety planning
- Coordination with existing emergency shelters through the A Way Home for Tulsa continuum.
Find more information, visit this resources from Nad Ministerial.
If you are interested in opening your space for overnight winter shelter, we want to be a resource! A Way Home for Tulsa emergency shelter providers are actively working on winter weather planning for safe shelter during the coldest nights. Together, we can make a Tulsa a place where everyone has a safe place to sleep in the winter months.
DAYTIME WARMING CENTER
Churches or community centers could open as a warming center during the day for individuals experiencing homelessness. Often what people need most is a place to get out of the elements, charge their phone, use the restroom, and get some coffee or a light snack. This would also be a great opportunity to connect individuals that may be experiencing homelessness in your community with housing focused outreach services.
Mercy Coalition of West Sacramento has mobilized community centers and churches through their Winter Warming Center program. Learn more >
Warming kits are a simple way to provide life-saving supplies to our neighbors when temperatures drop. These kits are great resources to have onsite to hand out to neighbors in need; or connect with us to provide kits to our community outreach teams.