From an op ed in The Oklahoman written by Mark Gillett, executive director of the Oklahoma City Housing Authority, and Dan Straughan, Terri White, Jennifer Goodrich:
Our city is on the cusp of an investment that will change the lives and futures of thousands of people. Oklahoma City has over 20,000 families on a waiting list for subsidized housing and as of March 17, 2023, we have 1,339 people experiencing homelessness.
The devoted staff at our respective agencies witness each day the need for more housing and the impact that our shortages have on the lives of people on waiting lists. The Point in Time survey conducted each year provides organizations like ours, the Homeless Alliance, Mental Health Association Oklahoma, Pivot Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma City Housing Authority (OCHA), with data and demographic details to better understand our community’s needs for housing and services.
In 2019, Oklahoma City residents voted to fund MAPS 4. Addressing homelessness was identified as a high priority and "Homelessness" was included in the list of proposed projects to be funded by our temporary penny sales tax.
Our four agencies have partnered consistently over the past decade and formally came together when the city sought applications for the MAPS 4 Homelessness operator. Oklahoma City Housing Authority’s proposal, with Homeless Alliance, Pivot and Mental Health Association named as partners, combines the experience of the top agencies that provide housing and supportive services for persons experiencing homelessness and most vulnerable populations in our community: youths, elderly, veterans, disabled and those with mental health or substance use challenges. The very populations that our residents prioritized in MAPS 4.
The projected $55.7 million that will be distributed via MAPS 4 will significantly impact our unhoused neighbors: the 1,339 people experiencing homelessness, the 7,500 people currently utilizing public housing and the over 20,000 families on a waiting list.