Being Homeless in Tulsa is NOT a Crime
Being Homeless in Tulsa is NOT a Crime
I am resident of downtown Tulsa’s Arts District. Currently in my neighborhood and down archer there are groups of people experiencing homelessness with nowhere to go and NO social services to help them. This photo was taken across the street from my home. It is not of the homeless couple in the story below.
I just recently found myself helping a young homeless couple sleeping outside my apartment window on the ground with window on a piece of cardboard and thin blanket. July 27th my husband and I were scheduled to go out of town for our 8th year wedding anniversary, but instead used that vacation time to try to connect them with social services to find them a place to live. The harsh truth is there was no help for them. We paid for a hotel the first few nights and then I was able to create a PayPal pool and raise funds to keep them in a hotel and get them the necessities they needed until they were able to find a shelter. Within three weeks they were able to move in with a family member. The community pulled together and has taking them shopping, had groceries delivered, now they’re in their new place and have received help for furniture also. The help this couple received from social services came from grassroots social services. We appreciate them so much. Again there is no shelter or shelter fund available to help those experiencing homelessness and living on the streets.
Every time someone experiencing homelessness has to move, more than likely they have to leave behind more of their belongings. You can only carry so much of your belongings with you. When you’re in one place you can accumulate a little more items than when you have to move around. People experiencing homelessness have to carry their belongings around with it them everywhere they go. Tulsa is expecting it’s citizens to not only pick up all of their belongings and walk around with them all day, but if they don’t do so they are going to get cited and have to pay a fine.
There’s also the chance of being harmed when you’re experiencing homelessness. As a woman it is very unsafe to be living on the streets. People experiencing homelessness do not need a citation, they need help.
On September 8th the Tulsa Police Department is looking to give citations to those who have made their home during COVID on in my neighborhood and along Archer Street near social services they count on to survive.
Officer Jeanne Pierce, however, said TPD’s Downtown Impact Team has already begun notifying the people experiencing homelessness living along Archer that they have to move on.
“All I know is that our Downtown Impact Team is in the process of warning these individuals who are living in these encampments that they are going to be cleaned up soon and if they don’t leave, they will be cited,” Pierce said. “… That is what we are doing currently.”
Police will go back to the area a second time to check on whether the homeless have moved on, Pierce said, and if they have not, they could be cited for trespassing.
“And the Asset Management will come at another time — from what I understand is next week — they come out and pick up all the trash and debris that gets left there,” she said.
The city is working with social service providers to get the old Tulsa County Juvenile Justice Center on Charles Page Boulevard reopened by Sept. 8 so it can be used for temporary housing and as a drop-in center. The facility was used for that purpose earlier in the year but was shut down because of a lack of funding. It can safely serve about 150 people a day and house up to 55 overnight, Gligo said.
“I think I have been pretty clear that I don’t think we should be criminalizing homelessness,” Gligo said. “My hope is we have a place to send people on to so they are not impacted.”
The city’s last point-in-time homeless count, conducted earlier this year, found that there were 266 Tulsans chronically unsheltered, Gligo said. And the number has not necessarily changed significantly, despite what some people might think.
In the article from the Tulsa World the new facility will be able to accommodate 150 people experiencing homelessness when the people experiencing chronic homelessness was 266 at the beginning of the year before the pandemic. There are not enough social services to help people and they should not be cited for not having access to help that’s not available.
The City of Tulsa is working with the Police Department to give citations to people experiencing homelessness knowing there are not enough social services in Tulsa to help them.
This petition is for the City of Tulsa to know its citizens need adequate social services especially during this pandemic. Fining people experiencing homelessness is unacceptable. The Tulsa Police Department needs to redirect their efforts and not focus on citing Tulsa’s most vulnerable citizens.
The citing of humans experiencing homelessness needs to be abolished and replaces with services that will help heal that individual and help them get back on their feet to what ever capacity is needed.
With Love, Jeana Acosta
there may be spelling and grammatical errors please do not let that take away from the message. I have an appointment I am running late for.