Report: Last year, 1 in 5 homeless people in Tulsa had jobs
TULSA, Okla. (AP) — One in five homeless people in Tulsa were employed last year, including almost 100 people who had no home despite having a full-time job, according to a community council study.
Data from the Community Service Council study indicates more than 5,600 people were homeless in 2018, the Tulsa World reported.
“This speaks to the need for affordable housing and livable wages,” said Rhené Ritter, program coordinator for A Way Home for Tulsa, a coalition of organizations working with the homeless. “The current rent cost for a two-bedroom in Tulsa would require an income of $16 an hour.”
The survey found it took homeless people 27 days on average to find somewhere to live, and that 65% were experiencing homelessness for the first time.
The numbers are partially based on an annual “point in time” census, in which officials counted every homeless person they could find at shelters, and on the streets in alleys and underpasses. This year’s survey was taken in late January, when officials tallied 1,188 homeless individuals, a 9.7% rise from the previous year.
At the time, the city’s homeless population included 659 people in emergency shelters, 225 in temporary housing and 296 on the streets, the Community Service Council’s study revealed. The amount of homeless children more than doubled from 131 in January 2018 to 288 this past January, with 19 children living on the streets.
Officials said the homeless population is continually evolving, as some people secure housing while others lose it. But the general size of Tulsa’s homeless population has remained comparatively steady for several years, Ritter noted. Officials calculated 5,800 homeless individuals in 2017.
“However, we are seeing an increase in the unsheltered population for the second year in a row,” she said, referring to people who live on the streets rather than receiving help from shelters. The number of “unsheltered homeless” increased nearly 31% in Tulsa last year, according to Community Service Council’s statistics.
On the bright side, Ritter added that the quantity of homeless veterans in Tulsa dropped by 16%, mirroring the success of programs that prioritize veterans.
“We’re continuing to build on our partnerships to have similar results across all homeless populations,” she said.
Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com