Survivor Resource Network, Peachtree Landing and Northern Oklahoma Youth Services are gearing up to participate in the nationwide effort to count every person experiencing homelessness (PIT Count) on Thursday, January 29th.
These agencies are all United Way Agencies and are active participants in HUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) program— a network of local and nonprofit organizations that deliver and organize services to local homeless populations — and a requirement to apply and compete for dollars in HUD Homeless Assistance grants.
There are eight CoC’s in Oklahoma and our local agencies belong to the North Central OK CoC, which serves Creek, Garfield, Grant, Kay, Noble, Osage, Pawnee, and Payne counties. PIT seeks to capture both sheltered, (i.e. living in emergency shelters and transitional housing), and unsheltered, (i.e. living in a place not meant for human habitation, like a car, outside, abandoned building, etc.), individuals experiencing homelessness.
The PIT counts numbers are combined to be presented to Congress and so impacts federal policy. Locally, Survivor Resource Network and NOYS both received HUD dollars. Terri Hill at Peachtree Landing has served an important role in ensuring NCOCoC grants are processed and graded.
“We are fortunate to have our Ponca City’s attorney, John Andrew, many churches, United Way, Veteran’s Landing, NERA and The Mission along with community members like Teresa Benson, Bret Carter, and Terron Liles actively seeking to tackle our homelessness issue in our community,” said Tara Tyler, Executive Director of Survivor Resource Network. Bret Carter recently made Statewide news for opening up a warning center at his business, Vintage Swag.
Tyler continues, “The truth of homelessness is there is no one truth. It is more than just a matter of personal responsibility. Domestic Violence is the leading cause of women experiencing homelessness. Our veterans and children are also part of the truth. At play is not just lack of support/services for individuals facing substance use disorders and mental health illness. The lack of affordable housing, challenges unique to rural cities, lack of a living wage in the service industries, generational poverty, barriers due to transportation and daycare, and other factors all play a part in the truth.”
According to the Child Defense Organization’s State of American’s Children in Oklahoma 2020 Factsheet, 27,096 homeless children were enrolled in public schools during 2016-2017 and, nationally, more than 25% of former foster children become homeless within two to four years of leaving the system and 50% of adolescents aging out of foster care and juvenile system will be homeless within six months (Covenant House).
Anyone interested in becoming more involved in either the one day Point in Time Count or would like to receive notice of community meetings concerning assisting those experiencing homelessness may join by sending an email to Community@survivorresourcenetwork.org You may also donate adult coats, blankets, hats, gloves, plastic tarps and sleeping bags at the Warming Station located at 207 W. Grand.