TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) — The Tulsa Housing Solutions's annual point-in-time county showed a 6.6% increase in homelessness in Tulsa County from 2022 to 2023.
The report says 44% of 1,133 respondents claimed a lack of affordable housing was a major cause.
“Tulsa County is experiencing its portion of a national increase in homelessness that affects every major city and metropolitan area,” said Becky Gligo, Housing Solutions's executive director. “PiT survey questions support findings in our recently released Tulsa Housing Study that point to one dominant factor: a lack of affordable housing.”
The count helps the city get a better understanding of the homeless population and get a read on the demographics and their needs.
It is conducted by volunteers spread out across the county during the last week of January to conduct brief surveys, which are used to evaluate the needs of Tulsa's homeless population.
Of the 1,133 individuals surveyed, 10% were transitional-age youth, from 18 to 24 years old, 10% were veterans, 39% were unsheltered, 56% reported a personal history of incarceration and justice involvement, 61% reported having a disabling condition and 84% reported first experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma while 69% reported first experiencing homelessness as a resident of Tulsa County.
“A Way Home for Tulsa is a collective of more than 40 Tulsa homeless agencies and organizations who impact homelessness in unique and varied ways,” said Mack Haltom, AWH4T chair and Tulsa Day Center executive director. “As a collective and individual organizations, we base our goals and continued efforts on the data from this important study. It shows us where we’re succeeding and where we have opportunities to improve.”
Point-in-time counts are conducted simultaneously nationwide during the last week of January to get an accurate comparison among communities.
The data gathered guides federal spending, like the $5.3 million Youth Homelessness Demonstration Project grant that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Tulsa in October.
“The PiT Count is a critical annual exercise, not only to gather data but also to meet with our neighbors who are going through homelessness and housing insecurity,” said Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith. “Participating in this year’s PiT Count was an incredible opportunity to connect with people. Their stories are our keenest tool to influence state and federal funding to support local efforts.”
Tulsa Housing Solutions said 14% of individuals interviewed are currently employed and 20.5% of respondents are tribal citizens. Additionally, 30% of respondents reported mental struggles as a related factor to homelessness and 54% said domestic violence was a related factor.