The City of Tulsa plans on spending another $885,000 from its share of federal coronavirus relief funds to help keep open awhile longer a hotel nonprofits are using to house people experiencing homelessness.
City Lights Foundation is running the hotel, which includes rooms where COVID-positive people can quarantine. People also stay there while organizations work to get them into permanent housing.
"This will allow them to keep the hotel open, I think, another six months. And then there's some [U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development] guidance and some HUD funds that might be coming to make this potentially a permanent part of our community rather than the city having to peel off these funds in the meantime," said Housing Solutions Executive Director Becky Gligo.
City Lights Executive Director Sarah Grounds said the recent spike in COVID-19 cases kept their 66 rooms completely full.
"COVID really got us in August. It was tough. But usually we have — normal, it's around 60, 55 to 60. We try to always leave space for those COVID beds because we don't know — you know, we can't predict when somebody's going to need that," Grounds said.
People staying at the hotel get meals and services that can prepare them for permanent housing, like mental health evaluations. It's also one of the few places offering shelter that pets are welcome.
Funding for the hotel was set to expire at the end of the month, and hospitals have been known to discharge patients directly to it.