The former juvenile justice center on Gilcrease Museum Road, which has offered daytime services for Tulsans experiencing homelessness since earlier this month, has expanded to offer overnight accommodations to those in need, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Monday.
"We're continuing our work to try and help vulnerable populations in the midst of this pandemic, and we're doing this at a time when shelters that historically our community would rely on to assist homeless Tulsans are having to reduce their occupancy to make sure that people can maintain social distancing and avoid the spread of this virus," Bynum said at a press conference.
Bynum said the facility has about 55 beds, and will also be equipped to provide medical treatments, meetings with case workers, meals, substance abuse counseling, and even a pet wellness clinic for people experiencing homelessness alongside their animals.
According to the city of Tulsa, over $1.5 million of the federal coronavirus relief funding awarded through the state has gone to issues around homelessness. The initiative is a partnership between the city, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, City Lights Foundation, and the Community Service Council.
Becky Gligo, housing policy director for the city of Tulsa and interim executive director of the separate, independent nonprofit Housing Solutions, said earlier this month that while true numbers on homelessness in Tulsa haven't meaningfully increased this year, people experiencing homelessness are more visible during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the reduction in capacity at shelters, leading to more people living unhoused around town.