HOMELESSNESS IN OKC
HOW MANY PEOPLE EXPERIENCE HOMELESSNESS?
In 2023, there were a total of 1,436 “countable” people who were experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City on the night of the Point in Time count.
While these Point in Time count numbers provide good data to track trends over long periods of time, we have a tool that tracks service use and numbers on a daily basis. Throughout the year of 2022, 20,080 people were served by programs that record data in this Homeless Management Information System.
Point In Time Count
Each year, Oklahoma City takes one day to count and survey people who are experiencing homelessness. The intention is to provide a snapshot 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 trend 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 services and ultimately end their homelessness.
The Point in Time 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 31%.
This survey does not attempt to count people who are staying in hotels, treatment facilities, emergency rooms, jails or 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 1,952 children experiencing homelessness enrolled at the end of the 2021-2022 academic year, the majority of whom were couch homeless.
In Oklahoma City in 2023, the Point in Time count found:
· 9% of the population are veterans
· 20% are members of families with children
· 36% are female, 62% are male, 1% are transgender, 1% are nonconforming
· 48% are white, 32% are black, 7% are Native American, 12% identify as multiple races, and 1% identify as Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
· 11% are youth age 24 or younger
· 23% of the population reports mental illness
· 28% are considered “chronically” homeless
· 54% were staying in a shelter, 13% in transitional housing, 31% unsheltered
The Point-in-Time count is a joint project of the City of Oklahoma City, the Coalition to End Poverty, and the Homeless Alliance.
Click here to read the full 2023 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.
1,446 people were counted in 2023. This is up from 1,339 in 2022. While the number of people counted on that single night increased, it does not necessarily mean homelessness is up.
The count in 2022, usually the last week of January, was delayed twice because of the pandemic and a snowstorm. Shelters typically see a dip in clients at the beginning of each month due in part to benefits – like Social Security – being issued. Because the count was conducted on March 3, we believe this contributed to an artificially low number. The weather was also unseasonably warm on the day of the count which also likely contributed to lower numbers of people in shelters. In 2023, the count was once again held during the cold month of January.