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Housing, Homelessness & Mental Health Task Force

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.

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

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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Task Force Meetings

Meeting information will be updated as they occur.

 

  • April 26 - Medical Services and Hospital Providers

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.

  • April 12 - Housing, Part 2

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 download the presentation, click here.

  • April 5 - Legal Systems

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.

  • March 22 - Task Force, Mental Health, Part 2

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 download the presentation, click here.

  • March 22 - Council Committee, Citywide Housing Assessment

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 download the presentation, click here.

  • Read the Citywide Housing Assessment here.

 

  • March 8 - Business and Tourism Industry Impacts

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.

  • March 1 - Task Force Debrief and Needs Assessment 

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.

  • February 22 - Public Agency Response to Symptoms of Homelessness​​

 

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.

  • February 15 - Mental Health, Part One

 

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.

  • February 8 - Housing, Part One

 

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.

  • January 30 - Supportive Services


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.

  • January 25 - Review of Existing Strategies


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.
 

 

  • January 18 - Understanding Homelessness and Root Causes

    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.
     

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

Becky Gligo: 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: Deputy Council Administrator

Casey Clark: Council Aide

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