Each year, Oklahoma City takes one day to count and survey people who are homeless 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 14 organizations survey people in emergency homeless shelters, transitional housing facilities, hot meal sites, crisis facilities such as hospitals and the jail, 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.
In 2014, there were a total of 1,481 “countable” homeless individuals in Oklahoma City. It’s estimated that a community’s annual number of homeless is four to five times it’s one-night census – in this case 5,924 to 7,405 people who are homeless in Oklahoma City every year.
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 has 2,185 homeless children enrolled in the 2014-15 academic year, the majority of whom (83 percent) are couch homeless.
In Oklahoma City in 2014, people who are homeless reported:
- 12% were chronically homeless by HUD’s definition
- 14% are a member of a homeless family with children
- 35% report mental illness
- 33% report substance abuse
- 12% claimed to be veterans
- 12% reported being a victim of domestic violence
- 9% are 17 years old or younger
The Point-in-Time count was a joint project of the City of Oklahoma City, the Coalition to End Poverty, and the Homeless Alliance.