The Tulsa Day Center is entering the final month of its biggest transformation ever. The multimillion-dollar project started a year and a half ago to help Tulsa’s growing homeless population.
Tulsa's Homeless Population has been steadily growing over the past several years and with this new expansion, the Tulsa Day Center will have more space to serve them.
Executive Director Mack Haltom said the Tulsa Day Center is nearing completion on their nearly $8.5 million expansion. They hope to have the project finished by the end of February.
He said this new addition will help give clients better access to services, in order to help them have a seamless transition out of homelessness.
"We want to get as many people housed as we can," said Haltom.
Haltom said Day Center staff helped nearly 500 people get stable housing in 2020 and have kept many more from becoming homeless.
"Being able to take care of people's physical needs often is needed before they can even be housed," said Haltom.
In 2018, the facility served more than 140,000 people. In 2019, they served more than 148,000 people.
Haltom said the number of clients they served was down significantly in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the need is definitely up.
“We did the construction in phases, so we've been able to stay open as the phases went from one to another. We just moved people from one side of the building to the other,” said Haltom.
This expansion adds office space for staff to meet with clients, new showers and bathrooms, a brand-new kitchen, a clothing room, a laundry room and much more.
They've also added areas where clients can make phone calls and charge their cell phones. They have added computers, so clients have access to the internet.
“We have access to computers so folks will be able to get online to look for work or submit housing applications,” said Haltom.
They've also doubled the size of their medical clinic.
"There's a lot more privacy, we actually look like a real clinic," said Clinic Director Leslie Petty.
Petty said they've added two triage rooms, an additional exam room, a procedure room and much more.
She said this additional space will allow them to help more people.
"The staff are spread out and a lot more comfortable and we could do a little bit more than we could before,” said Petty.
The expansion will also add walkways from the Day Center to Salvation Army and Iron Gate, agencies all providing different services with the same goal.
"We all are working together to end homelessness and it's a collaborative effort,” said Haltom. “We want to be a big piece of that.”
The Day Center is always looking for financial donations to help with temporary housing at hotels as they transition families out of homelessness.