OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma City is moving ahead with a new plan to significantly reduce the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness.
“We know it’s going to be a lot of work,” said Lindsay Cates, the strategy implementation manager for the city’s Homeless Services department. “But, we also think that as we’re coming together and we’re working more in lockstep together, we think we can do it.”
The 2-year, $12.5 million “Key to Home” initiative was rolled out last week.
“The Key to Home partnership is our new collaborative system in order to rehouse people from encampments directly with the goal of a 75% reduction in homelessness for those unsheltered over the next two years,” said Cates.
It’s a plan that Cates says has already had success in Houston, Texas.
“They’ve seen a 70% reduction in their own unsheltered population with this kind of approach,” said Cates.
Dan Straughan, the executive director of the Homeless Alliance explained how it will work.
“Case managers will go to a homeless camp and engage everyone in the camp in services and housing and then on a certain date all of the people in the camp are moved into housing with appropriate supportive services,” said Straughan.
He explained they’ll be working with landlords and property managers all over the city to set up what’s called “scattered site housing.”
Once everyone in the camp is housed, he said the site will be cleared.
“Everything’s cleaned up, it’s fenced off, no trespassing signs are posted. Whatever needs to happen to make sure that camp is not reoccupied,” said Straughan. “Then we just move to the next camp and do the same thing.”
According to Straughan, three camps throughout the city have already been decommissioned. He said the big push for the project will start on July 1.