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Nonprofits Pushing To Get People From Winter Storm Emergency Housing To Permanent Housing

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Night Light Tulsa
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Nonprofits saved 400 Tulsans experiencing homelessness during February’s winter storms by getting them into hotel rooms.

Now, those same organizations are working to get those Tulsans into permanent housing in a matter of weeks, a process that typically takes two years.

"But for the people that we’re working with and the folks with typically the most complex needs, what often happens is that they fall out of that process at any place during those steps. And so, where do they land? They land back to the street, then to the shelter, jail, emergency room, crisis services," said Housing Solutions Director of Emergency Housing Juliana Kitten.

Kitten said getting people into housing first, then addressing their needs like mental health, employment and transportation, is an approach with an 85% success rate. There are more than 250 people housed during the winter storms who are still in hotels.

"But if we wait to get someone sort of ‘fixed’ before putting them into housing, then many people will never get into housing, and that’s just — it’s not good for a community, both from a financial standpoint and just from overall sort of culture. No one wants to live in a community where there’s hundreds of people living on the street," Kitten said.

Housing Solutions is looking for landlords with available units to help out. Participating landlords get guaranteed rent and 24/7 access to clinical support staff helping the nonprofit's clients.

There’s an online information session for landlords Tuesday at noon. More information is available at Housing Solutions Tulsa's Facebook page.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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