Committee Presents Plan to Prevent Homelessness

Early last week, the City Council was presented a plan to prevent homelessness by a committee that includes representatives from two foundations.

The committee includes representatives from the Oklahoma City Homeless Services Division, the Inasmuch Foundation and the Arnall Family Foundation.

The 102-page plan outlines eight focus areas and 24 strategies to enhance homeless service delivery and help residents experiencing homelessness move into permanent housing.

“Implementation teams made up of two to eight people will be assigned to tackle each of the 24 strategies,” said Homeless Services Division coordinator Jerod Shadid. “Implementation will be led by Lindsay Cates who will ensure forward movement of the plan.”

The City Homelessness Task Force was formed by Mayor David Holt in 2019.

It’s co-chairmen are  Bob Ross, chief executive officer of Inasmuch Foundation, and Sue Ann Arnall, president of the. the Arnall Family Foundation.

Inasmuch Foundation contributed $100,000 to pay for the study.

“The number of people experiencing homelessness will continue to grow until we make strategic changes and investments focused on preventing homelessness,” said Assistant City Manager Aubrey McDermid.

“The success of this plan involves assistance from the entire community.”

The City hired a consultant, Analytic Insight, to help develop the plan.

The consultant conducted interviews with more than 50 key stakeholders and held 12 strategic planning sessions that involved service providers, service recipients and others, who shared ideas and recommended strategies. Analytic Insight also conducted an analysis of the service network, as well as data from the Continuum of the Care’s Homeless Management Information System database.

These are the focus areas and strategies:

  • Advocacy;
  • Create a community education and engagement initiative;
  • Update the cost of homelessness study;
  • Expand City Care’s Samaritan Program;
  • Transition age youth services
  • Expand transitional housing and supports for youth
  • Transportation;
  • Establish a microtransit program;
  • Expand the bus pass program;
  • Emergency and temporary shelter;
  • Expand coordinated entry services in shelters;
  • Create a year-round inclement weather plan;
  • Funding Sources;
  • Establish a priority driven, outcomes-based, coordinated funding source;
  • Develop a housing trust fund;
  • Affordable Housing
  • Make zoning ordinance changes so it’s easier to develop affordable housing;
  • Create a land bank 501c3;
  • Develop a lien forgiveness program;
  • Follow recommendations from the affordable housing study;
  • Prevention;
  • Create discharge planning liaisons;
  • Develop transitional housing for ex-offenders;
  • Start an eviction prevention and diversion program;
  • Increase and expand low-barrier employment options;
  • Advocate for refiling and passage of HB 3710 or similar legislation;
  • Outreach, engagement and case management;
  • Intensive case management and outreach;
  • Enhance access and use of HMIS for client data;
  • Case management training and professional development; and
  • Mobile services team

Expand peer support mentor program.

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