Advocates for those experiencing homelessness are concerned of a possible spike in evictions later this year.
Dan Straughan, the Director of the Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City, said the organization has pivoted in several ways to abide by the new norms set by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In order to enforce social distancing at the overnight shelters, that limits the number of people that we can take in,” he said.
The city’s homeless population is about 1,500 people, Straughan said, although it is difficult to calculate the exact number.
The Oklahoma City government received about $114 million in federal funding through the federal CARES Act. City officials plan to discuss exactly how to allocate the funds in the next few weeks.
Many evictions across the country are effectively paused temporarily as a result of the CARES Act, which was passed in March. The pause, or moratorium, expires in late July.
For more information on the moratorium and to whom it applies, click here.
Straughan said the indigent population could increase significantly, even double, as a result of the pandemic after the moratorium ended. The city government should put a percentage of the federal aid toward housing assistance to prevent a significant problem, he said.
“Preventing new homelessness on the front end is way better for the families, for the individuals, the broader community, the service providers. It's just cheaper,” Straughan said. “We think prevention is the answer.”