Oklahoma’s Own In Focus: OKC's Efforts Toward Ending Homelessness

Since April of last year, the Key To Home Partnership has helped house dozens of people. News 9's Jordan Fremstad met one person impacted by these programs.

Monday, February 19th 2024, 10:28 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


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Key To Home Partnership

Since April of last year, the Key To Home Partnership has helped house dozens of people.

The program follows people experiencing homelessness from the time they're helped off the street and into their new home -- to whatever comes next.

Since April of last year, the Key To Home Partnership has helped house dozens of people. The program follows people experiencing homelessness from the time they're helped off the street and into their new home -- to whatever comes next. 

Kristy Smith spent about three years without a home. She said the key to her new apartment is the key to a brighter future. 

For most of us, a trip home is a daily routine. For others, a key to a front door is unique. Smith knows what it’s like to have no place to go. “When I turned 21, I chose the life of a drug addict,” Smith said. 

Drug addiction robbed her of 23 years of her life. “I lost everything,” Smith said. 

She lost relationships with her family and her two children. “I want my kids home. I wanna be a mom,” Smith said. 

In 2021, she lost her housing. Crystal Henry is Smith’s case manager at the Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City. “Homelessness is not the problem,” Henry said. “It’s the result of a problem. We’re all individuals and we all have individual needs.” 

Through the City Rescue Mission and the Homeless Alliance, Henry helped Smith find a home. “If you can get them out of that survival mode where they're just trying to get by day-to-day, then they can bloom,” Henry said. “They can flower.” 

The Key To Home partnership allows agencies to stay organized and bridges the gap between people and housing. “Her rent will be covered,” Henry said. “She’ll have me to walk beside her so that when issues come up, I can help her. it’s a huge collaboration.” 

Henry walked in Smith’s shoes through addiction and homelessness herself. “People know me for what I do in the community now,” Henry said. “They don’t remember me for my past anymore.” 

Smith is the proof that support changes things. Kristy’s been clean for two years. “That’s a big accomplishment,” said Smith, talking about how proud she is of herself. “That felt so good to say.” 

Now she has a home because people cared about her life. “A peace came over me,” Smith said. “I'm home.” 

Housing helps people like Kristy productively contribute to her community. These programs also save tax money.   

According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, the burden on taxpayers is reduced by about 50% when people are placed in supportive housing. Key to Home leaders would like to create a governance system and the Key to Home Partnership wants to house 500 people and 100 children by 2025.  

Key to Home inspired the federal government to invest further in fighting homelessness in OKC. The Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the city more than $7 million in funds earlier this month. That money will go toward shelters and non-profits across the city

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