Five years after it was first envisioned, a comprehensive center for the homeless has opened in Oklahoma City as a one-stop shop to help the indigent get back on their feet.
And the new WestTown Homeless Resource Center at 1724 NW 3 includes the city's only day shelter, which opened Aug. 15.
Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance, said the resource center and day shelter are invaluable components of the alliance's goal to help Oklahoma City aid homeless and indigent individuals more efficiently.
He said construction on the project began in early 2010.
WestTown, which takes up a city block near the corner of NW 3 and Virginia, encompasses two rehabilitated warehouses. The resource center is housed in one building and includes offices for agencies that aid the indigent, such as Legal Aid, Neighborhood Services Organization and Healing Hands. The adjacent building houses the day shelter that is managed by CityCare and includes a place where homeless and indigent people can receive free breakfast and lunches, take showers, store items in lockers, use computers and watch television.
Straughan said the day shelter also is a place where people can go when they are waiting to be connected to the resources available at the resource center.
He said the day shelter fills a void left when the Rest day shelter for the homeless closed in 1995. Straughan said most of the downtown homeless shelters only allow people to stay overnight, so most must leave the shelter during daytime hours.