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Oklahoma City joins campaign to get homeless people off streets, into housing

The focus of the nationwide 100,000 Homes campaign is to get chronically homeless people off the streets and into housing. Oklahoma City has joined the effort and will begin surveying its homeless camps next week.
BY VALLERY BROWN vbrown@opubco.com Published: January 19, 2013
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Health, safety issues

Jonathan Roberts, with Be the Change, another nonprofit helping with the effort, is often on the streets, talking to the homeless who live in camps scattered throughout the city. For many, getting off the streets is a matter of life and death.

“This is about someone's health and safety,” Roberts said. “People who are homeless face dangers most of us don't, and we have a moral and ethical duty to step in and help people when they can't do it for themselves.”

None of the homeless he meets wants to stay on the streets.

“I've yet to meet someone who says this is what they dreamed of as a child,” he said. “Something got them to this point, and most are receptive to help and want to be clean and dry and have a door that locks.”

Oklahoma City is the 102nd city to join the national 100,000 Homes campaign. Tulsa is also a part of the effort.

Volunteers will canvass the city Monday through Wednesday to survey and document the homeless. Straughan said that will give workers the ability to triage and prioritize the most vulnerable individuals before participating organizations move them into housing.

Individuals will be matched with appropriate housing programs, and homes and apartments for them will be located across the city. Those with health conditions will be matched with groups that provide housing for people with certain health conditions. Homeless veterans will be matched with veterans' housing programs, and those who don't fit a certain program will be housed using Section 8 vouchers.

Community help is needed to provide move-in packages for people who will be placed in housing. Packages will cover the costs of utility deposits and provide common household items such as towels, bedding and household supplies.


HOW TO HELP

For more information about how to help, call the Homeless Alliance at 415-8410 or go to www.homelessalliance.org.

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