Depending on how you count and how you read the numbers, on any given night there are between 1300 and 2500 homeless individuals living in the greater Oklahoma City Metro area. A popular misconception is that most of these homeless individuals living on the streets of OKC are what we might call “chronically homeless.” Chronic homelessness can be simply defined as an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition (mental illness, substance abuse, physical illness or disability) who has been continuously homeless for a period of a year or more. If we are honest, this is the picture most of us have when we think about homelessness. In our minds we see a man sitting on the corner holding the cardboard sign that reads: “hungry, anything helps.” While this picture is certainly the face of homelessness, roughly 84% of the identified homeless individuals and families living on the streets in the OKC metro area don’t fit this category, but instead are made up of individuals and families facing job loss, domestic violence, or other circumstances resulting in a temporary or permanent housing crisis. These situations often force the affected individuals and families to seek the help of an emergency shelter, or find shelter in other places not meant for human habitation such as cars, camps, streets, or abandoned buildings. Both the chronically homeless and the situationally homeless face a vicious cycle that often is difficult to break. The road from homelessness to self-sufficiency is nearly impossible to navigate without help.
HopeHouse OKC was born out of a desire to help end the cycles of homelessness in Oklahoma City by providing safe, nurturing, housing communities that would seek to assist homeless individuals and families in becoming self-sustaining, and self-reliant contributors to society. HopeHouse OKC seeks to assist those in need in a holistic transition to healthy living that includes the physical, the emotional, and the spiritual. The program goal of HopeHouse OKC is simple: To break the cycles of poverty and homelessness… one life at a time. We also understand that this is not something HopeHouse OKC can accomplish. This goal can only be accomplished by the movement and desire of the individuals and families themselves. At HopeHouse OKC we walk alongside those in poverty to help them achieve THEIR dreams. Their dreams of job skills and job stability. Their dreams of buying groceries for their children. Their dreams of not relying on government assistance. Their dreams of one day being homeowners. These are the dreams that matter, and this is the dream of HopeHouse OKC. So our program goals or “action plans” as we call them range between 9 and 12 months in length, and are custom designed by the resident family alongside our support staff to meet their desired goals and dreams for the future. These action plans contain identifiable and measurable markers that are designed to meet the individual goals of each particular family and may include things such as: debt reduction, personal savings, continued education, GED completion, job skills development, job placement or job replacement, budgeting skills, legal relief, and parenting classes, just to name a few. Each action plan is monitored and adjusted as goals are achieved. At the end of a family’s action plan, when goals have been realized and families are living with stability, HopeHouse OKC works alongside the family to find permanent sustainable housing for the long-term future. Thus walking alongside a family from poverty to security.