Tulsa’s Slow Motion Emergency Overlooked
By Rev. Steve Whitaker
President/CEO John 3:16 Mission
If you’ve lived in Tulsa long enough, you’ve no doubt experienced some of the worst that Mother Nature can throw at us in the form of tornados, floods, ice storms, etc. (The floods of ’84, ice storm of ’07, blizzard of ’11 and last summer’s tornado in midtown are a few that come to mind)
Every city, of course, needs a plan to deal with disasters that can leave hundreds if not thousands of people without power, water, heat, or even their homes.
At a recent “hazard mitigation” meeting I attended along with local public safety officials and other leaders, we discussed relief effort preparedness in the event of future catastrophic weather events.
I left that meeting encouraged by the professionalism on display and more confident than ever that our city can and will respond effectively to a disaster that might leave hundreds or more homeless.
And yet, I know there are literally HUNDREDS of people on our streets who ALREADY ARE HOMELESS and not because of a terrible weather event. In fact, conservatively, there are at least 400 unsheltered people on our streets right now. Hundreds more are functionally homeless, going from couch to couch until they wear out their welcomes and end up on the streets.
Now, imagine if a tornado had struck and rendered 400 people homeless overnight. It would be an ALL HANDS-ON DECK EMERGENCY! Right? I have no doubt our city would respond quickly and generously in this situation. Those people would be sheltered, fed and their needs would be met until their lives could be restored.
But what’s clear is that we already have a slow moving, stubborn emergency going on right before our eyes with hundreds of homeless on Tulsa’s streets. John 3:16 Mission – with YOUR HELP – is here for them.
This Mission is their ongoing refuge from the many personal “storms” of life that have led them into homelessness. What’s more, this service goes on uninterrupted 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
As you enjoy the best that summer has to offer, I hope you’ll remember the plight of those who struggle daily on our streets and understand that for them, John 3:16 Mission is – ONLY BECAUSE OF YOUR HELP – a first responding, disaster relief ministry!