state of homelessness
Homelessness Remains a Stubborn Problem in Tulsa

Too many Tulsans – our neighbors – are homeless. Officials estimate that during a given year, as many as 6,500 individuals experience homelessness in our community. These are people who need to be shown the compassion, mercy and love of Christ. Each year, the Mission participates in a survey that reveals critical information about homelessness in Tulsa. The 2014 survey, conducted one night in January, counted 699 homeless individuals. That number is down from 705 people the previous year. Unfortunately, the number of children in shelters or on the streets increased from 72 to 87 over the last year, an increase of nearly 21%. Although an improving economy and decline in the unemployment rate have helped reduce homelessness, Rev. Steve Whitaker, the Mission’s President & Sr. Pastor, cautions that much of the problem of homelessness is out of sight. “The survey is useful because it gives us valuable insight, but it’s only a snapshot in time. About 6,500 people become homeless in Tulsa every year, many for only a brief period. We’ve got to be ready to meet their needs for food and shelter and help equip them to get back into housing. Also, the survey can’t take into account what we know are dozens, if not hundreds of people who are camping in hidden areas, staying out of the shelter system.” 2014 Survey highlights reveal:

• 68% of the homeless were male, 32% female
• 64% were white (including 4.5% Latino), 20% black, 11% Native American, 6% multiracial
• 31.5% were between ages 51-65; 22% were 41-50; 21% were 31-40; 18% were 21-30 and 4% were 18-20; .5% under 18
• About 13% were veterans (down 3% from 2013)
• Causes cited for homelessness included: 29% due to lost job; 25% mental illness, 20% substance abuse. Other causes were divorce, domestic violence, eviction by landlord or family, illness/injury and release from incarceration. About 2.5%       reported that foreclosure led to their homelessness.
• 18% reported becoming homeless for the first time between the ages of 41-50, while 19% became homeless between 31-40 years old. 19% became homeless between ages 21-30.
• 11% reported being homeless less than 30 days; 27% for 1-6 months; and 19.5% for 1-2 years. About 9% reported being homeless for 5 or more years.

NOTE: Survey by the Tulsa City-County Continuum of Care (CoC)