OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – City leaders in Oklahoma City say more than $3 million is headed to help programs that work with the homeless.

The City of Oklahoma City was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to participate in the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. As a result, the city was awarded $3 million in community funding.

Officials say Sisu Youth Services and HOPE Community Services will receive most of the funding for projects to prevent or end youth homelessness in the city.

“We are honored to be selected by HUD to participate in the YHDP,” said Lindsay Cates, senior planner for the City of OKC. “Youth in Oklahoma have historically faced adversity, and we are grateful to work with organizations like Sisu and HOPE that continue to help youth overcome that adversity. We envision OKC as a place where every youth and young adult has access to proactive, preventive services and a choice of prompt, safe and low-barrier housing options.”

Sisu Youth Services was awarded $990,000 annually through 2023 to help with housing programs.

“Sisu Youth Services is thrilled to be a recipient of the YHDP community funding. This is an incredible opportunity to dramatically increase the scale of the services we provide – like expanding our drop-in center from 18 hours to 161 hours per week,” said Rachel Bradley, executive director of Sisu. “The expansion will provide a low-barrier safe space for young people at all hours of the day and night. This investment in Sisu’s work is especially meaningful because it came at the recommendation of the Oklahoma City Youth Action Board, some of whom are Sisu alumni.”

HOPE will receive $150,000 in 2022 and 2023 to serve unaccompanied youth with case management services.

“We are excited for this opportunity to collaborate with Oklahoma City on this diversion program,” said LaKeisha Lewis-Vick, LPC-S, Children and Youth Program Director for HOPE. “This provides an opportunity to help youth identify direct and indirect barriers. We will assist in addressing those barriers to support the youth’s independence, while using funding to assist them in maintaining current housing by addressing certain financial needs.”

The final portion of the funding provides salaries to the City’s Youth Action Board.