On the decline for more than a year, Oklahoma City’s homeless veteran population on Thursday fell even further.
Journey Home OKC, a coalition of more than 40 nonprofits, businesses and other organizations, placed 16 homeless veterans into housing Thursday. That step is the latest in a yearlong campaign to find homes for every homeless veteran in Oklahoma City by the end of the year.
From January to August, the group said it has moved 144 homeless veterans off the street and into housing. But progress has been slow, leaving the year-end goal in doubt. Officials don’t know the precise number of homeless veterans living in the Oklahoma City area, but say the figure could run in to the hundreds.
“It’s going to be a real challenge,” said Dan Straughan, executive director of the nonprofit Homeless Alliance.
On Thursday, the group helped three veterans move into apartments. Another 13 veterans stayed overnight in hotels. Straughan said he expected to move those in hotels into a new housing facility at the Homeless Alliance’s WestTown Resource Center on Friday. Journey Home OKC conducted the housing push in conjunction with its annual Sooner Stand Down, an event that connects homeless and needy veterans with medical care and other services.
Being able to house 16 veterans at once is encouraging, Straughan said. The group generally hopes to move that many veterans into housing in an entire month, he said. But progress has been hampered by a tight rental market in the Oklahoma City metro area.
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