Each year, Oklahoma city takes one day to count and survey every homeless person in the city. The most recent “Point-in-Time” count of the homeless was conducted on January 31, 2008. The intention of this count was to provide a snapshot picture of homelessness in Oklahoma City, of both the number of homeless people and their characteristics. A large team of community volunteers from more than ten organizations surveyed homeless persons in emergency homeless shelters, transitional housing facilities, hot meal sites, crisis facilities such as hospitals and the jail, encampments, and various street locations.
The Point-in-Time count yields valuable data to help service providers understand how many local people are homeless and what kinds of needs they have. This information aids in planning Oklahoma City’s services and programs to feed and shelter the population as well as to help them find affordable housing, access transportation, receive rehabilitation and counseling, find employment, and improve their skills through education and training.
Results showed that Oklahoma City had a high rate of chronic homelessness. A chronically homeless person is, according to HUD’s definition, an individual with a disabling condition who has been continually homeless for one year or more or has had four or more episodes of homelessness within the last three years. On January 31, 304 people counted in emergency shelters, in crisis facilities, and on the streets met this definition. Eleven percent of all people counted had been homeless at least one year, with 19% having been homeless for two or more years.
Of adults responding to special needs questions:
23% were chronically homeless by HUD’s definition
33% report mental illness
43% report substance abuse
19% report physical illness or disability
Current results show a total of 1415 homeless people counted on the night of January 31, 2008.
*The Point-in-Time count was a joint project of the City of Oklahoma City, the Coalition for the Needy, and the Homeless Alliance.