Oklahoma City is asking for the public’s input to help solve a major problem, homelessness.
With the eviction moratorium ending at the end of the month, city officials said their Strategies to Address Homelessness Draft Plan could not come at a better time.
For over a decade Dan Straughan has been advocating for Oklahomans experiencing homelessness.
“Homelessness is a complex and complicated issue and there is no sort of single silver bullet,” said Dan Straughan, the Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance.
In 2019, the city said homelessness skyrocketed.
“We had public meetings, interviews, discussions with about 50 stakeholders including individuals who are homeless, neighborhood organizations and service providers,” said Jerod Shadid, the Homeless Services Program Planner for the city.
Two years later, the city has a 100-page draft report including everything from advocacy to use of public funding for eviction assistance, affordable housing and transitional housing.
“Homelessness is really a symptom of a lot of community issues. Lack of educational attainment, difficulty accessing behavioral health services and primary health care services,” said Straughan.
A community issue that the city is now looking towards Oklahomans to chime in on. They encourage people to look up the report on their website and give their opinions.
“If we don’t tackle it, some people may think they aren’t affected now but if the problem grows and you don’t address it then they will be affected sometime in the future,” said Shadid.
Straughan is encouraged by the municipal support.
“We're really pleased that the mayor recognized that by understanding what the issues are you have a much better chance of addressing these issues and that's the whole part of the plan,” said Straughan.
Community members have until July 7 to give input. After that they will present the report to the city council and start implementing these programs.