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Ending Homelessness

Together, we will end homelessness in Tulsa as we know it.

By Monroe Nichols


As Tulsa’s next mayor, ensuring stable housing for every Tulsan and building the safest big city in America will be priorities of my administration. Together, we will end homelessness in Tulsa as we know it.


My vision is clear: by 2030, Tulsa will achieve functional zero homelessness, a state where homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring.

In 2022, over 5,000 Tulsans occupied emergency shelters, safe havens, transitional housing, and street outreach programs - nearly two-thirds of them were experiencing homelessness for the first time. Since 2021, homelessness has grown by 8.6%, outpacing our overall population growth. Almost 1,000 Tulsa Public School students qualify as homeless, 3,000 students have had their families evicted over the last three and a half years, and 70% of Tulsans view homeless encampments as a threat to public safety. This issue impacts every aspect of life in our community.

Tulsa is rich with service providers dedicated to resolving this issue and individuals who have graciously stepped up to invest in our community. However, 85% of Tulsans believe our local government has failed to meet this challenge and is ready for City Hall to take a new approach to ending homelessness.


My vision is clear: by 2030, Tulsa will achieve functional zero homelessness, a state where homelessness is rare, brief, and non-recurring. This ambitious goal is underpinned by a strategic framework to revolutionize our city's approach, making homelessness a thing of the past.

I’m proposing a multifaceted strategy that focuses on expanding affordable housing, reducing blighted properties, and overhauling how we support our most vulnerable citizens -- including a focus on mental health care and substance abuse treatment. Each piece of my plan is rooted in a data-driven approach, allows for transparency, and holds the community to higher accountability standards.


Collaborative Leadership: Recognizing the complexity of homelessness, my administration will appoint a Senior Advisor for Homelessness, tasked with orchestrating a citywide response that leverages the strengths and resources of our community–including private and non-profit stakeholders. We will build a regional team led by the Mayor's Office, united around the shared vision of treating each individual with dignity and respect, while offering services that secure long-term safe and affordable housing.


Innovative Solutions: Central to our approach is the deployment of a shared, real-time data system to identify and assist those experiencing chronic homelessness. By investing in this technology, we can centralize the administration of services and target our efforts more effectively. Individuals will not be allowed to slip through the cracks and each dollar spent will be accounted for.


Integrated Support Services: We will create a network of care by coordinating with hospitals, community organizations, and transitional housing that treats the immediate need for shelter and assesses the root causes of homelessness, both on an individual level and city-wide basis.


Flexible Funding: Recognizing the diverse needs of those experiencing homelessness, my administration will establish a flexible funding account. This innovative financial tool will allow us to respond swiftly to an individual’s specific barriers to housing, tailoring their services and support.


The challenge of homelessness in Tulsa is more than a call to action; it is an opportunity to redefine what it means to be a community. We can set an example of what it means for a city to end homelessness by fostering collaboration, leveraging technology, and prioritizing compassion. Under my leadership, Tulsa will not only address the immediate needs of its homeless population but also tackle the systemic issues that continue the cycle.


BOTTOM LINE GOALS

  • End homelessness as we know it by achieving functional zero homelessness by 2030

  • Reduce blighted properties by 60% and increase affordable housing units by 6,000 by 2028

  • Reduce Tulsa’s eviction rate

  • Ensure Tulsa has adequate low-barrier shelter capacity

  • Create a citywide system of mental and substance abuse supports


WHY IT MATTERS

  • Homelessness has grown by 8.6% since 2021

  • Family homelessness has grown by 34% since 2020

  • Tulsa has the 11th-highest eviction rate in the country

  • Over 80% of Tulsans do not approve of the city’s handling of homelessness or do not believe the city can adequately address the issue 900 students at Tulsa Public Schools alone are homeless, and 1,000 students face eviction annually


HOW TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS

  • Appoint a Senior Advisor for Homelessness, who reports directly to the mayor, to lead a citywide response to ending homelessness by 2030

  • Invest in a shared real-time data system and frontline outreach workers to identify those experiencing chronic homelessness and target efforts and resources accordingly

  • Provide centralized wrap-around services through case conferencing between different organizations and agencies

  • Invest in respite care, mental health, and substance abuse services, and coordinate with hospitals, nursing homes, community-based organizations, mental health providers, treatment centers, and transitional housing to meet the acute physical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment needs of those experiencing homelessness

  • Create a flexible funding account to more immediately meet the needs of those with specific barriers to housing

  • Enforce the law



 

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