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Housing, Homelessness & Mental Health

Task Force

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Mission: For the City of Tulsa to understand the needs of the community in addressing homelessness at the intersection of housing and mental health and create a strategy for the City to best utilize its policy and legislative powers, public convening and education platforms, and financial resources to maximize its efficiency and effectiveness in contributing to broader community solutions.

If you have questions or feedback, please email housing@cityoftulsa.org

Task Force Recommendations

  • April 9, 2024 - Path to Home Recommendations

As part of the cumulative work being done to address homelessness at the intersection of housing and mental health, the Mayor/Council Housing, Homelessness, and Mental Health (3H) Task Force has released its Path to Home Recommendations, which include four goals and 33 actions to address community needs.

  • Goal 1: Housing Production & Preservation

  • Goal 2: Outreach & Early Intervention

  • Goal 3: Leverage & Align Funding

  • Goal 4: Community Standards & Resources

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  • August 9, 2023 - Nine Immediate Action Steps, Council Committee Presentation

The Task Force presented a set of immediate action steps as part of ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness. The action steps represent items that can be implemented now to increase capacity and remove barriers in shelters, provide for emergency temporary housing, and improve public safety. The proposed initiatives will be funded by American Rescue Plan Act and Opioid Settlement monies. The Task Force will continue its work and make future comprehensive recommendations to meet the Task Force's mission and goals. The nine initiatives below were presented and discussed with the City Council. 

  • Emergency Temporary Housing

  • Trespassing on Private Property

  • Priority Housing Placement

  • Public Right-of-Way Obstruction

  • Low Barrier Shelter

  • Private Right-of-Way Enforcement

  • Expanded Animal Accommodations

  • Mayor's Directive on Consistent Approach to Public Safety

  • Open Containers in City Parks

Task Force Meetings

Meeting information will be updated as they occur.

In this meeting, the Task Force received an update on Path to Home Strategy, Goal 2: Outreach and Early Intervention, Action Item 6: Crisis System Coordination, from the First Responder Advisory Council (FRAC). FRAC is a multi-sector governing body that oversees the evaluation of the crisis response system aimed at more effectively responding to individuals in mental health crisis. The team is facilitated by the City's Chief Mental Health Officer and Healthy Minds. FRAC aims:
 

  • Coordinate programs, practices and protocols into a single, community-wide crisis care system

  • Address gaps in Tulsa's crisis system, following best practices

  • Build a governance framework for high-fidelity implementation, oversight and continuous quality improvement
     

The team recently held a retreat and provided an update to the 3H Task Force on an outline of triage levels and plans for protocol development in the Tulsa Crisis Response system.

 

To view the presentation, click here.

In this meeting, the Task Force focused on the next release of 3H Task Force recommendations and the task force’s communications strategy moving forward. During this discussion, Task Force members and staff heard from the Communications team and reviewed the communications strategy in preparation of the April 9 Housing, Homelessness, and Mental Health (3H) Task Force press conference. Members of the task force and the Communications team collaborated to identify and highlight city efforts related to the goals and action items identified by the 3H Task Force and reviewed the status of current initiatives. The Task Force also discussed future meeting topics and future meeting dates as a part of the task force timeline.    

In this meeting, the Task Force discussed a timeline for the next phase of recommendations. The Task Force reviewed initial concepts of a communications strategy for future 3H Task Force recommendations and more broadly for city efforts related to housing, homelessness and mental health. The Task Force will continue to work with the Communications team to develop the next release of recommendations with a target date of April 2024.

 

The Task Force also received an update from City Staff on the Tulsa Housing Strategy.* The Tulsa Housing Strategy is currently in draft form, and is expected to be finalized in April 2024. This Strategy is a set of recommended actions designed to meet Tulsa's housing needs over the next decade. The Task Force reviewed draft recommendations that were designated by the Study to be City-led and implemented over the next three years. City staff reviewed potential budgetary impacts of the immediate recommendations with the Task Force. 

 

*Note: In January 2024, the full City Council received a presentation on draft recommendations for the Tulsa Housing Strategy.

-Watch the presentation here.

-View the full summary here.

In this meeting, the Task Force set aside time to review progress and receive status updates from fellow task force members. The Task Force discussed two measures that will go before the City Council for consideration: an ordinance regarding trespassing on private property and an ordinance regarding public right-of-way obstruction. The Task Force also received an update on both the City's Request for Proposals (RFP) for professional services to operate a non-congregate low barrier shelter and case management program and the Emergency Temporary Housing Program. In the discussion, the Task Force discussed implementation timelines and next steps for the two programs. No formal presentations or panel discussions occurred in this meeting.

In this meeting, the Task Force learned about the data collection capabilities within the healthcare system as well as the recommended metrics for monitoring and evaluating the low-barrier shelter's impact. First, the Task Force received a presentation from Dr. David Kendrick with MyHealth Access Network. Dr. Kendrick provided examples of data points that healthcare partners could collect and helped Task Force members identify potential metrics to measure the facility's impact.  
 
Next, the Task Force received a presentation from the Tulsa Fire Department highlighting their data software and how it can provide centralized data collection and case management specifically for those in need of social services and experiencing homelessness. The Task Force and panelists discussed the capabilities of the program as a mobile integrated healthcare service and how it not only bridges the gap between healthcare organizations that use different electronic health record systems and electronic patient care reporting systems but streamlines communications amongst partner agencies. With patient consent, partner agencies are able to collaborate and share appropriate data that is instantly accessible to other agencies serving the same patients. This allows vital information to be shared efficiently, securely, and in accordance with privacy and security laws. 

In this meeting, the Task Force focused on encampments. In the first half of the meeting, the Task Force discussed the impact of encampments on City operations and the current process for removal with representatives from the City's Asset Management team. The City of Tulsa receives approximately 1,500 calls per year through the 311 system regarding encampments and spent just under $1 Million last year on clean-up efforts in public areas. The Task Force received information about the current response process from city crews and discussed opportunities for increased collaboration.

 

Next, the Task Force received a presentation from representatives from the Coalition for the Homeless, the lead agency for the TX-700 Continuum of Care (CoC) in Houston, TX. This presentation provided information on Houston's Coordinated Encampment Response system which is a four to six-week process that includes site identification, assessment of the housing and other needs of individuals at the site, securing alternative housing, and finally encampment closure. This process is followed by continued site monitoring to maintain site clearance and provides continued wrap-around support for individuals in their new housing environment.

 

To view the Coalition for the Homeless presentation, click here.

The Task Force focused this meeting on the immediate action items. During this discussion, Task Force members and staff reported on follow-up items identified in the previous meeting that were necessary for implementation of proposed immediate action steps. The Task Force planned to review immediate recommendations with A Way Home for Tulsa (AWH4T) on August 8 and the full City Council on August 9. 

 

In the second half of the meeting, the Task Force also invited representatives from the Tulsa Police Department, the Parks and Recreation Department, and City Legal to discuss current City of Tulsa ordinances and receive input on possible modifications for future Council consideration.

The Task Force discussed how to accomplish goals established at the June 27 meeting. For each goal, possible solutions were categorized into immediate, short- and long-term action steps. The remainder of the time was spent discussing immediate action steps including possible funding sources, potential partnerships, implementation timelines, and next steps for the draft initial recommendations.

The Task Force discussed how to accomplish goals established at the June 27 meeting. For each goal, possible solutions were categorized into immediate, short- and long-term action steps. The remainder of the time was spent discussing immediate action steps including possible funding sources, potential partnerships, implementation timelines, and next steps for the draft initial recommendations.

In this meeting the Task Force learned about the medical services provided to individuals experiencing homelessness. First, the Task Force received a presentation from Dr. David Kendrick with MyHealth Access Network. Dr. Kendrick provided data on Emergency Room utilization and reviewed the outcomes of MyHealth's social determinants of health mobile screening project. The group then talked with representatives from OSU Medical Center, Hillcrest Medical Center, Saint Francis Health System, and Ascension St. John Medical Center. These panelists expressed a need for short-term care facilities for homeless individuals after hospital discharge and increased housing navigation services. Finally, the group reviewed possible strategies to meet the needs identified by hospital providers and opportunities to streamline reporting processes.

This meeting focused on a variety of housing programs offered by local housing organizations for individuals coming out of homelessness. The Task Force first received a presentation from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs operates a homeless program that provides transitional and temporary housing through grants and contracts with community partners. Next, the Housing Authority of the City of Tulsa provided an overview of their capital investments, planned and current projects, and housing programs. Both groups highlighted the importance and need for permanent supportive housing.

 

Next, the Task Force held a panel discussion with representatives from The Tulsa Housing Authority, Us. Department of Veterans Affairs, Robinson Properties, LCC, and Habitat for Humanity. The panel gave an overview of their individual services and initiatives. They also discussed the need for gap financing in the voucher process and increased case management services.

  • To watch a video of the presentations, click here.

  • To view the presentation, click here.

In this meeting, the Task Force explored the various ways the legal system can impact an individual's ability to obtain housing. The group learned about both civil and criminal proceedings that may impact homelessness and existing mitigating supportive services. The Task Force first heard from the Oklahoma Access to Justice Foundation who reviewed the recently established Social Services Hub for coordinated eviction response. Next, they received a presentation from Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma who provides free civil legal help to qualifying individuals.

 

The Task Force also spoke with a panel of representatives from the following organizations: Oklahoma Access to Justice, Legal Aid Services, City of Tulsa - Municipal Courts, JusticeLink, and Housing Solutions. The panel highlighted opportunities for upstream solutions such as mental health support and programs to help meet individual basic needs, but also reviewed successes and opportunities to scale downstream solutions such as Tulsa Municipal Court's Special Services docket and access to counsel programs.

  • To watch presentations from Oklahoma Access to Justice and Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, click here.

  • To view the presentations, click here.

In this meeting, the Task Force received information about the long-term and follow-up services provided to Tulsans in mental health crisis, including Tulsans experiencing homelessness. First, the Task Force received a presentation from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS). This entity serves as the state's safety net mental health and substance use treatment services system. This presentation provided an overview of the resources invested in the Tulsa, the 988 Mental Health Lifeline, and mobile response teams. 

 

The Task Force also spoke with a panel with representation from Tulsa Center for Behavioral Health, Family and Children's Services, Parkside Psychiatric Hospital and Clinic, and GRAND Mental Health. The panel members gave an overview of their services and provided examples of mobile mental health models and Medicaid expansion initiatives in other communities. 

  • To watch a video of Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Service's presentation, click here.

  • To view the presentation, click here.

The full Council received a presentation on the Tulsa Housing Study. The Tulsa Housing Study is an independent study of Tulsa's housing crisis. This study revealed a $2.25 billion gap that requires an estimated $245 million per year for 10 years from private, public and philanthropic investments. The study is the first of its kind for Tulsa and provides data for leaders to make informed decisions and potential strategies to close the gap. The study was funded by the Anne and Henry Zarrow Foundation; facilitated by Housing Solutions; conducted by Development Strategies and Homebase; and supported by the City of Tulsa, Partner Tulsa, Downtown Tulsa Partnership and Tulsa Housing Authority.

  • To watch the Citywide Housing Assessment presentation, click here.

  • To view the presentation, click here.

  • Read the Citywide Housing Assessment here.

In this meeting, the Task Force explored common concerns voiced by employers, employees, and patrons which range from difficulties in business recruitment to public safety issues. First, the Task Force received a presentation from the Tulsa Regional Chamber who reviewed challenges their members face and offered opportunities for partnership in solutions. 

 

Next, the Task Force also spoke with a variety of business owners and industry representatives. The panelists identified areas in which they need assistance including efforts to increase cleanliness, strategies to ensure public access, and centralization of systems when law enforcement or mental health assistance is needed. Panelists also shared past experiences that were successful. The following organizations served on the panel: Tulsa Regional Chamber, Muscogee Nation, River Spirit Casino, Metro Tulsa Hotel & Lodging Association, McNellie's Restaurant Group, VR Electrical Services, Brut Hotel, Mad Dog Liquor, Hampton Inn & Suites Tulsa, Saied Music Company, and Promise Hotels.

  • To watch the Tulsa Regional Chamber's video presentation, click here.

  • To download the Chamber's presentation, click here.

In this meeting, the Task Force set aside time to review progress and information received to date. The Task Force specifically reviewed comments from the Public Meeting held on February 28 and discussed common themes, individual members' takeaways, and how public comment related to and aligned with information received from experts who previously presented to the Task Force. The Task Force also began initial discussions on how needs identified to date may have budgetary impact in the capital and operating budgets. No formal presentations or panel discussions occurred in this meeting.

City Officials often receive requests to respond to symptoms of homelessness. Public concerns may include requests for support for those experiencing homelessness but at the same time involve requests regarding cleaning encampments, trash, and/or public safety calls. A variety of public agencies work to address and mitigate these issues. In this meeting, the task force members received a presentation from two organizations. First, Downtown Tulsa Partnership (DTP) described downtown specific symptoms of homelessness, their budgetary and community impact, and provided recommendations to address the underlying problem.

 

Next, the City of Tulsa's Working in Neighborhoods (WIN) Department, provided case estimates related to homelessness and described the impact to private property owners. They also reviewed proactive programs that assist with preserving the City's current housing stock, such as the Emergency Repair Program and Rehabilitation Loan Program. Finally, the Task Force talked with representatives from the Tulsa Fire Department, Tulsa Police Department, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, River Parks Authority, City of Tulsa Asset Management, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway to learn about their experiences and provide suggestions to the City on how to more effectively address the individual needs and community impacts of homelessness.

  • To download presentation materials from DTP and WIN, click here.

  • To watch a video of the presentations, click here.

This meeting focused on services provided by first responders to Tulsans experiencing mental health crises, including those experiencing homelessness. Family and Children's Services highlighted programming efforts that support services for the homeless population and those at risk for homelessness. They also discussed recommendations to increase transitional and supportive housing, rental support, and crisis response services.

 

The Task Force also spoke with first responders. Tulsa Police Department, Tulsa Fire Department, and the Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA) joined the task force to discuss their unique roles and existing regulations in mental health response calls. These organizations provided an understanding of relevant programs, highlighted data on common types of calls, and highlighted opportunities for more efficient use of resources and improved client care.

I​n this meeting, the Task Force focused on different housing and shelter programs available for individuals experiencing homelessness. The task force heard presentations from Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, John 3:16 Mission, and Tulsa Day Center. These organizations discussed their role in a variety of programs including operating emergency shelters, rapid re-housing programs, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and affordable housing. 

 

The Task Force also engaged in panel discussions with additional community organizations. Youth Services of Tulsa, Salvation Army, and Tulsa County Social Services joined the task force to discuss their mission, programs and partnerships and provide input on strategies to improve service delivery for their clients.

The task force received a series of presentations from community organizations who provide services directly related to the root causes of homelessness. Organizations explained how their mission and work impact the root causes of homelessness, described service delivery barriers they encounter, provided suggestions on how the city can address these barriers, and identified examples of best practices in other communities.
 

  • To watch a video of the presentations, click here.

  • To download the presentation documents, click here.

The task force reviewed existing strategies and official community plans developed to address housing, homelessness, and mental health. Presentations included an overview of the plans, objectives accomplished, and identified barriers to implementation. Full plans and video overview presentations can be found in the links below.
 

Task force members engaged with community partners to understand the root causes of homelessness in Tulsa. Every year, the A Way Home For Tulsa (AWH4T) team leads the Tulsa Point-in-Time (PiT) count, a count mandated from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In 2022, the total count was 1,063 individuals in Tulsa County. PiT data shows the leading causes of homelessness include relationship breakdown, loss of income, job loss, mental health, eviction, COVID-19 pandemic, substance use, domestic violence, and criminal justice involvement

After receiving an overview of the PiT Count and root causes, task force members then spoke with community outreach experts, who interact with the homeless population on a daily basis, about their experiences and possible solutions to address root causes of homelessness.​

 

Funding Sources

The Tulsa Housing Initiative consists of $104.2 million in one-time funds that will be deployed to support housing development in Tulsa. The March 2023 housing assessment showed a 10-year market demand of 12,900 units. More than half of the demand is for units that will be very difficult to produce without public assistance. The initiative is funded by Federal, State, and Local sources. 

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IMPROVE OUR TULSA

$75 MILLION

Voters approved $75 million for housing initiatives in the third Improve Our Tulsa package on August 8, 2023. The City of Tulsa will begin collecting these funds at the expiration of Improve Our Tulsa 2 or December 31, 2025, depending on which of these occurs first. 

Improve Our Tulsa
ARPA
ARPA

$5 MILLION

To aid in Tulsa's COVID-19 response and recovery, the U.S. Department of the Treasury awarded the City of Tulsa American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Elected leaders in Tulsa have set aside $5 Million of Tulsa's allocation to support housing initiatives consistent with federal guidelines. 

DDRF
DDRF

The Downtown Development and Redevelopment Fund promotes development in Downtown Tulsa, including catalytic mixed-use and/or preservation projects. The fund is designed to support a variety of housing types including housing that is affordable to residents with incomes at or below AMI. It is supported by separate sources of funding: 1996 City Sales Tax, 2001 City Sales Tax, 2013 IOT Sales Tax, Vision 2025 Sales Tax, and funds recovered through previous revolving loan programs.

$8.1 MILLION

HOME-ARP

$5 MILLION

In April 2021, the federal government announced allocations for the HOME Investment Partnerships American Rescue Plan Program (HOME-ARP) which provides funding to participating jurisdictions to reduce homelessness and increase housing stability for qualifying populations. The City of Tulsa has recommended that approximately $5 Million of the allocation be used to support the development of affordable rental housing.

Home-ARP
$104.2M Tulsa Housing Initiative
AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST FUND

A city-wide find for production and preservation of affordable housing through affordable rental housing development, homebuyer assistance, landlord incentives, and rental assistance. This fund was established in 2020 utilizing Vision 2025 funds. Find more information about the AHTF here

Affordable Housing Trust Fund

$8.4 MILLION

OPIOID SETTLEMENT FUNDS

To date, the City of Tulsa has received settlement funds from two separate settlements. Funds may provide access to housing for individuals with Opioid Use Disorder and any co-occurring Substance Abuse Disorder or Mental Health conditions. Additional funds are anticipated to be received over the next 15 years.

Opioid Settlement Funds

$2.7 MILLION

Community Meetings

Meeting information will be updated as they occur.

  • February 28 - Public Input​​

  • This public meeting provided information to attendees on the current state of homelessness in Tulsa, the work of the Mayor/Council task force, and was also used as a time to hear from the community to ensure the task force is aware of all considerations moving forward.​

  • Questions asked by the public will be posted below when available

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Resources

Learn more about how the City of Tulsa handles housing here.

Learn more about the City of Tulsa's Mental Health and Special Services here.

Housing Solutions homelessness data can be found here.

Tulsa Housing Study can be found here.

Task Force News

Task Force Membership

Mayor G.T. Bynum

Councilor Crista Patrick, District 3

Councilor Jeannie Cue, District 2

Councilor Lori Decter Wright, District 7

Councilor Phil Lakin, District 8

Deputy Mayor Cassia Carr

James Wagner: Working in Neighborhoods Director

Travis Hulse: City of Tulsa Housing Policy Director

Mark Smith: Housing Solutions Executive Director & CoC Lead Agency

Zack Stoycoff: Healthy Minds Executive Director

Michael Junk: QuikTrip Manager of Public & Government Affairs

Tom Biolchini: 2023 Tulsa Regional Chamber Chairman

Task Force Staff

Blake Ewing: Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff

Sarah Davis: Council Administrator

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