Fifteen homeless outreach workers are being recognized for their service during the snow storm.
Tulsa city counselors told News On 6 the surprise ceremony is one small way to honor those who make a big impact in our community.
Tulsa's outreach workers said it's simple. They have a heart for the homeless and mission to serve. They've walked alongside Tulsa's homeless from 2019's unforgiving floods to a pandemic wreaking havoc on people's health, and most recently braving record low temperatures during the last months snow storm.
"There's not an outreach worker here today, myself included, that wouldn't tell you that they have the best job in the world," said Tyler Parette, housing solutions outreach and engagement manager.
Parette went home Monday with a key to the city after helping provide hotel keys to more than 400 Tulsans ahead of the surge of snow. Parette said the goal of making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring doesn't stop just because the winter weather is over.
"All eyes kind of turn toward the most vulnerable in our society but just because the weather warms up doesn't mean they disappear," Parette said.
Homeless Outreach and Rapid Response Team Manager Amanda Pippin said serving on the streets is surreal considering just ten years ago she spent many sleepless nights without shelter.
"I know exactly how they feel and where they came from," Pippin said.
Pippin said no one is immune.
"All of us are a couple bad decisions or an illness or a job loss or you know some kind of catastrophic event from being exactly where they are," Pippin said.
City Council Vice Chair Lori Decter Wright presented a proclamation to make Friday, March 5 "Tulsa Homeless Outreach Workers Day."
"Those problems still exist even after we celebrate outreach workers day, and so we need to continue to give our time and our talent and our treasure to this issue that impacts our whole community," Wright said.
Wright said it'll take the whole community to create a solution.
The Tulsa City Council is set to vote on Wright's proclamation this Wednesday.