‘Step In The Right Direction’: Why OKC Investments In Affordable Housing Are Key To Solving Homelessness

The first MAPS4 homelessness project announced its first investment of $6.5 million, which will turn a Bricktown motel into affordable housing.

Monday, November 27th 2023, 10:23 pm

By: News 9


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The first MAPS4 homelessness project announced its first investment on Monday. The $6.5 million investment will turn a Bricktown motel into affordable housing. The Oklahoma City Housing Authority has purchased the Bricktown Motel 6 largely with taxpayer dollars. 

Leaders with the Homeless Alliance say MAPS4’s investment in affordable housing is a start in the right direction. The alliance’s executive director said solving homelessness – starts with a roof.  

Absent leaves from the trees show the change in season. People need a place to go when winter air floods the community. “People would die otherwise,” said Dan Straughan, executive director of the Homeless Alliance in Oklahoma City. “Very fortunate that we have opened Oklahoma City’s very first ever permanent winter shelter,” Straughan said. 

Straughan and his team opened their brand-new winter shelter. “Every night whether it’s freezing or not – and it has three hundred beds,” Straughan said. 

For homelessness solutions to take flight -- Straughan said permanent housing remains the focus. “What they lack is a home,” Straughan said. “Until we can provide the housing, we’ll continue to have issues with homelessness in Oklahoma City.” 

One thing that would help, Straughan said, is more affordable housing properties with fewer preconditions for tenants. “We wouldn’t require that you be sober before you come in; we wouldn’t require that you have a job that earns three times your monthly rent,” Straughan said. 

The first MAPS4 homelessness project will house people experiencing chronic homelessness. The MAPS4 homelessness program - includes dozens of other projects over the next decade. “They are our neighbors,” Straughan said. “They live here like we do.” 

Straughan believes everyone is worth protecting – especially when you understand the people behind this eight-letter word. “If it was someone in your church or your bowling league or your alumni association, you’d wanna help them,” Straughan said. 

As the seasons transition – so does Oklahoma City – beginning a journey toward a community where everyone lives under their own roof. “This is a step in the right direction,” Straughan said. “We didn’t get here overnight and we’re not gonna get out of it overnight.” 

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