Homelessness in OKC

The Count

Each year, Oklahoma City takes one day to count and survey people who are experiencing homelessness in the city. The intention of this count is to provide a snapshot picture of homelessness in Oklahoma City, of both the number of people and their characteristics. A large team of community volunteers from more than 25 organizations survey people in emergency homeless shelters, transitional housing facilities, hot meal sites, crisis facilities, encampments, and various street locations.

The Point-in-Time count yields valuable data to help service providers understand how many local people are homeless and what kinds of needs they have. This information aids in planning Oklahoma City’s services and programs to feed and shelter the population as well as to help them find affordable housing, access transportation, receive rehabilitation and counseling, find employment, improve their skills through education and training and ultimately end their homelessness.

Results

In 2019, there were a total of 1,273 “countable” people who were experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City on the night of the Point in Time count, an increase of 90 people over the previous year. While the number is up about eight percent, organizers attribute the increase to the count occurring on a cold night when emergency overflow beds were open, making it easier to count some people who are typically unsheltered and harder to find.

Annually, 11,278 people received homeless services in Oklahoma City in 2018 according to the Homeless Management Information System.

The Point in Time report also groups people into several categories including the number of people staying in overnight shelters, transitional housing and people who are unsheltered. Oklahoma City’s unsheltered population remains high at 30%.

This survey does not attempt to count people who are considered “couch homeless;” people who are homeless but temporarily staying with a friend, relative or acquaintance. The number of couch homeless is uncertain, but the Oklahoma City Public School District had 3,445 children experiencing homelessness enrolled at the end of the 2018 academic year, the majority of whom were couch homeless.

Statistics

In Oklahoma City in 2019, the Point in Time count found:

  • 10% of the population are veterans; consistent with last year
  • 16% are members of families with children; down for the second year
  • 30% are female, 69% are male, 1% transgender or nonconforming
  • 58% are white, 27% are black, and 8% are Native American
  • 31% of the population reports mental illness
  • 15% are youth age 24 or younger
  • 22 percent are considered “chronically” homeless, of whom 72 percent are unsheltered
  • 58 percent were staying in a shelter, 12 in transitional housing, 30 percent unsheltered

The Point-in-Time count was a joint project of the City of Oklahoma City, the Coalition to End Poverty, and the Homeless Alliance.

Click here to read the full 2019 Report – Point In Time Report

***This is a very challenging population to count accurately. And while a lot of planning and research goes into making sure we get the most complete picture as possible, things like the weather on the day of the count and a change in counting strategies can impact the results. The Point in Time Count is a one-day census required by the federal government, and although it provides a helpful snapshot of the situation, it should not be considered an exclusive measuring tool.

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United Way Partner

United Way of Central Oklahoma is focused on Successful Kids, Strong Families, Healthy Citizens, Independent Living, and Community Preparedness. Our Partner Agencies have been carefully selected and are reviewed annually. Held to higher standards of accountability than all other local non-profit organizations, they are the most effective service providers in our community.