The City of Tulsa has taken a significant leap forward in tackling the issue of unsheltered homelessness with the release of a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Low Barrier Shelter, marking a pivotal moment in the community’s approach to supporting its most vulnerable citizens.
Since 2015, the number of unsheltered individuals in Tulsa has been on a steady rise, with a staggering increase of over 200% in the last eight years alone. The recent point-in-time count in 2023 paints a concerning picture: 39% of surveyed individuals are without shelter. The essence of a Low Barrier Shelter lies in its inclusivity—providing a haven for those who, for varied reasons, find themselves without a roof over their heads.
The RFP, dated November 6, 2023, outlines the city’s plan to establish a non-congregate, referral-based shelter aimed at serving approximately 50-75 households. This facility is more than just a place to stay; it’s envisioned as a navigation center that offers intensive case management and healthcare services tailored to the individual’s needs, with the overarching aim to facilitate a transition to permanent housing within 120 days.
The City has secured funding for the initial three years, covering all expenses from facility acquisition to any necessary renovations. Operations are expected to commence by June 1, 2024, and while the City does not commit to additional funding beyond the stated period, it pledges to support further funding efforts.
This initiative is not a solitary endeavor; it’s a call to action for local service providers, businesses, non-profits, faith-based groups, and community organizations to come together and support those in dire need. It’s a chance to unite in purpose and address the root causes of homelessness.
A Low Barrier Shelter is more than just a shelter; it’s a critical step towards reducing unsheltered homelessness. It addresses several barriers that keep people from accessing existing services, including:
In Tulsa, the absence of medical respite care, a service that provides a place for those too ill for the streets but not ill enough for a hospital, has been particularly glaring. The proposed Low Barrier Shelter aims to fill this void, offering a safe, monitored environment that can foster recovery and rehabilitation.
The City of Tulsa’s RFP for a Low Barrier Shelter represents a beacon of hope. It’s a testament to the city’s commitment to not just managing but actively working towards ending homelessness. As the city awaits proposals, the anticipation grows for what could be a transformative chapter in the lives of many, a chapter where compassion, dignity, and support pave the way towards a brighter, more secure future for all citizens.