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Tulsa Day Center marks completion of $16M renovation

Matt Trotter

A $16 million overhaul of the Tulsa Day Center is finished after more than two years of work.

The improvements to the 35-year-old downtown facility for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness include an expanded medical clinic, remodeled clothing room and kitchen, and an area to meet with case managers.

Executive Director Mack Haltom said the Day Center’s goal remains getting people into permanent housing, which can be difficult.

"There's just a lot of barriers out there once people are experiencing homelessness that we help them overcome, but it's nothing new. One of the things we're seeing as we go on through the last couple years is the lack of affordable housing, and that's an issue that we need to deal with as well," Haltom said.

According to the Day Center’s 2020 annual report, 566 clients were successfully housed. The center saw more than 75,000 people that year.

The Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation donated the first $5 million toward the Day Center renovation. Executive Director Bill Majors said they’re committed to what’s expected to be a years-long push to end homelessness in Tulsa.

"What we've really appreciated most about the Tulsa Day Center is they went through this entire renovation but never closed. So, facing COVID, facing a very difficult winter, facing all the things that they've had to do with construction, they still stayed open every day," Majors said.

Service providers in Tulsa say the pandemic has resulted in more people on the streets. Shelters had to modify their services and sometimes reduce capacity as thousands of people were losing their jobs or their homes.

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