Mental Health Association Oklahoma Outreach Team Aims To Reduce Homelessness


Wednesday, December 7th 2022, 10:21 pm



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The issue of homelessness is complex, an inside look into the Mental Health Association Oklahoma’s (MHAO) outreach team highlights how much they do to help those experiencing homelessness.  

Program organizers said it often takes multiple agencies to help someone find sustainable housing.  

The outreach team being the first step in that journey. 

“I think it is a big conversation right now, the issue of homelessness in Oklahoma City, and it is something that we are really trying to find the best ways to help them,” Kayla Mills, one of the Program Managers at MHAO, said.  

While each person’s story is unique, MHAO said many encounter their outreach team.  

“They are the boots on the ground team, street outreach is where everything begins,” Shelah Farley, the Program Manager for their Street Outreach Team, said.

Their team often walks alongside people experiencing homelessness and provides them with the next steps.  

 “Anyone that is experiencing homelessness living on the street are in what we call ‘survival mode.’ when you are in survival mode, you aren’t worried about anything other than what you are going to eat and where you are going to sleep,” she said.   

Several partnerships like the one they have with The Oklahoma Department Of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services allow them to bring multiple options to each person. 

“Once we are getting to know somebody building that relationship, building that trust, we learn what their needs are and can connect them to the correct services that can help them with those goals that they have,” Farley said.  

All with the hope of finding them sustainable housing.  

“At the end of the day, we are all human, we are just in different situations. Being able to be there for somebody and walk with them through that journey because there is life beyond homelessness and that is why I chose to go into this work,” she said. 

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