OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local organization is hoping to help people who are experiencing homelessness get back on their feet.
A Better Way OKC says it plans to visit people at panhandling hotspots and offer them jobs beautifying public spaces instead of asking drivers for money.
“There are many ways that people enter homelessness and so there must be many ways out as well,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt. “The answers aren’t simple. We have to offer a lot of different options to meet people where they are. We already have a national model with entities like Curbside, but a lot of people in our city were also intrigued and inspired by this program, and its success in Tulsa and other places. The best programs provide benefits to the community on many levels, and ‘A Better Way’ certainly does that. It provides a path for some of our residents who need it the most, while also beautifying our public spaces. My gratitude to everyone who made this program launch possible.”
Organizers say the program initially launched in Tulsa and has been a success.
“Our program in Tulsa has been a great success helping people gain competitive employment and access to services,” said Terri White, CEO of Mental Health Association Oklahoma.
Organizers say the van will visit panhandling hotspots from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The program will offer people lunch and a $65 daily wage for work like litter removal and beautification in parks and other public areas.
Participants will also meet with a case manager who will connect them with services they need like mental health services, substance use treatment, healthcare, housing, transportation, and workforce training. An employment specialist will network with local employers to find long-term work for successful participants.
Potential employers, service providers or donors can visit abetterwayokc.org for more information and contacts.