The face of homelessness across this nation began to change in the 1980’s. Parents with children, primarily mothers, were seeking shelter from places that normally served single men. Today, the average age of a homeless person in the United States is nine years old. Youth under the age of 18 are 39% of the nation’s homeless population. In Tulsa, more than 1,200 people find themselves homeless each night representing a 17% increase over the prior year.

There are different types of homelessness, including chronic and situational. Each comes with their unique concerns and solutions. We provide a solution for those experiencing situational homelessness. Unlike chronic homelessness, situational homelessness means that a person or family has encountered a sudden problem resulting in losing their home. The families we target have fallen on hard times because of a job layoff, underemployment, divorce or loss of relationship, medical expense, death of a spouse or other such unexpected occurrence. Before long, the bills begin to pile up, and soon the family is evicted or in foreclosure. Without help, however, they will move quickly from situational homelessness to chronic homelessness.

Situational homelessness is more common than you might think. More than one-fourth of Tulsans are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because they are living from paycheck to paycheck. In Oklahoma, a person must work full-time and earn $12.54 an hour in order to afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment. Oklahoma is one of four states that has the highest proportions of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the Federal minimum wage. Unfortunately, a mother in Tulsa must earn $16.37 an hour to support a small family without any public or private assistance. There are many people in our community that just don’t earn enough money to afford the necessities of life. With just one crisis, a family can easily find themselves with no place to call home.

You can learn more about homelessness by visiting one of these organizations:

National Center on Family Homelessness

Campaign to End Child Homelessness

Child Homelessness in Oklahoma – America’s Youngest Outcasts 2010

National Alliance to End Homelessness

National Coalition for the Homeless