It’s Tuesday afternoon and Tulsa has escaped another “snowmageddon” that dumped a foot or more of snow in parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. As I savour a wonderful latte at one of Tulsa’s new hot spots, I see no remnants of the little bit of snow I brushed off the window of my car this morning. Instead, I look west down third street and notice nothing but revival. Cafes, coffee houses, restaurants, and businesses populate an area between Elgin and Lansing that once sat desolate. The times are a changing across our community and it is being driven by businesses large and small that are committed to downtown and nearby districts galore from Brady, to Blue Dome, to Pearl.
The times are a changing for the families who call Lindsey House home. Sitting in the shadows of downtown, TLC’s first program is providing a place of hope and refuge to mothers caring for children that are experiencing situational homelessness. Their revival is a personal one. One day at a time, they are putting into practice, the life lessons that will enable them transition out of homelessness into self-sufficiency.
At the core of our work is an understanding that what a person does is much more important than what they say. James W. Frick said it best, “Don’t tell me where your priorities are. Show me where you spend your money and I’ll tell you what they are.” Lindsey House ladies learn to show and tell when it comes to their finances. Three of our agency goals relate to the financial health of our families. First, we work with them, utilizing a monthly program fee, to reduce or eliminate their housing related debt. Housing related debt prevents families from moving into safe, affordable housing. Second, by prioritizing the concept of “paying oneself first”, our families work to achieve the goal of saving $500-$1,000 for an emergency savings account. In 2012, our ladies saved a total of $11,300. Finally, we teach our mothers how to create and live off of a ‘cash basis’ budget. Each week, during their Case Management meeting, the Lindsey Ladies they get to “show” Tiffany Kirkland exactly how they spent their money over the past week. This kind of accountability makes it possible to see an alignment between what a mother says is important and how she is living her life.
The times are a changing. The families of Lindsey House are getting stronger and learning the lessons they need to make it on their own. TLC is a part of a new and improved downtown Tulsa. We love being in the shadows of major corporations and just around the corner from small businesses that believe in community investment. If you think of it, TLC believes in community investment as well. We are doing it one family at a time. If you are looking for an opportunity to be a part of Tulsa’s revitalization, join us at TLC’s Lindsey House.
Karen K. Streeter, Executive Director