2 News Oklahoma reporter Jeanette Quezada joined Housing Solutions’ outreach teams recently, sharing with viewers the realities of experiencing homelessness during a heat wave with little-to-no affordable housing availability.
The first stop on the outreach effort was an emotional contact. Outreach teams were expecting to find a dozen or more people in a well-established downtown camp. However, a recent death — an accident — led to several members moving out.
A man who remained at the camp agreed to be on camera but asked not to be identified or have his face shown.
Outreach specialists Whitney Crawford and Nicholas Parker took the sad news in stride. It’s frustrating for them, but losing track of a client due to displacement, whether elective or enforcement, is a daily obstacle.
“So this is a pretty established camp,” Crawford told 2 News Oklahoma. “But it looks like there are new faces there … and they had one of their family members, one of their campmates pass away … in the middle of the month, and so they’re really just struggling trying to figure out how to move on, and they’re not real open to receiving help from the outside. They don’t trust us.”
“They may not trust the rest of the city or the community to take care of them in this moment in time, so this is where it’s really important for us to maintain and establish a good relationship with them so that they know that we are here,” Crawford said.
A second effort led them to a family living out of their car for several months. They have two dogs, who they call family members, and Tulsa shelters don’t allow pets.
Between the pet barrier and the cost of basic housing fees or a hotel, Richard said his family decided to stick it out until his retirement starts.
Housing Solutions’ outreach team is going out to encampments and other gathering places to bring necessities such as water, food, sunscreen and hats.
Through Housing Solutions since July 1, encampment communities have received more than:
– 60 cases of water,
– 100 cooling towels,
– 200 electrolyte packs,
– 35 wide-brimmed hats, and
– many more basic day-to-day supplies.
Text HELPTULSA to 44-321 to donate to our outreach team, which brings water and basic necessities directly to those in need where ever they are.
Bottled-water donation drop-off locations:
Iron Gate Tulsa, 501 W. Archer St.
Donations accepted seven days a week, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. or 3 p.m. on weekends. Dropoff at the west driveway and go to the glass door. Questions? Call 918.879.1702
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., 907 S. Detroit Ave., Suite 725
Closes at noon on Fridays.
Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Walker Hall, 1729 S. Baltimore Ave.
Check on people and use cooling stations:
If you see someone in need of immediate heat-related medical attention, dial 911.
If you or someone you meet does not need immediate medical attention but needs time to cool down, direct them to these cooling stations:
Expo Square, 4145 E 21st St
Tulsa County Social Services, 2401 Charles Page Blvd.
John 3:16 Mission, 506 N. Cheyenne Ave.
The Salvation Army Tulsa, OK, 102 N. Denver Ave.