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Housing Solutions Tulsa works to help unsheltered ahead of winter storm

unsheltered .jpg
Posted at 9:18 PM, Feb 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-01 23:27:13-05

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa agencies are working to make sure those without shelter are safe as the temperatures drop.

Tulsa area leaders spelled out plans for the city ahead of Wednesday's winter weather. Housing Solutions Tulsa Executive Director Becky Gligo said they're helping Tulsa's most vulnerable.

“We have outreach teams out now," Gligo said. "And they will continue to be out moving people into shelter until the roads are no longer passable or the weather makes that impossible.”

2 News spoke with Gligo further about the work her team does to help those who are unsheltered.

She said, with storms such as this, moisture is the worst enemy for those living outside and can quickly lead to hypothermia.

“Once somebody kind of starts to freeze or has moisture in their clothing or their gear and it drops below freezing, it can be a matter of minutes before it’s a life or death situation," Gligo said.

Gligo said she and her team learned lessons from last year’s winter storm that they’re carrying over to this year. She said they have better coordination and communication with other agencies.

“And also, just having worked with folks through last year’s weather event knowing what shelters are going to be best suited for different individuals or what their particularities might be so we’re not starting from scratch," Gligo said.

They’re also working with Tulsa police and fire departments to use drones to find those living unsheltered in remote areas. Gligo said they can be hard to reach, but they want to be able to warn them and give them an option to find shelter.

“Those drones, especially in extreme weather conditions, can help us identify if there are human beings in a heavily wooded area," Gligo said. "It can help us communicate with them rather than our folks going down treacherous embankments and things like that without knowing if there’s somebody there on the other side.”

Gligo said they’re looking to partner with churches and groups with big buildings to provide additional shelter, especially for those with pets. She said some refuse the help to get shelter at first and then change their minds once the weather gets bad. For those who opt to stay outside, they’re giving them tools to stay warm.

“We’re also equipping them with tents, sleeping bags, hot hands, which are those little pouches that warm up your hands, gloves, basically whatever’s going to help them weather the storm," Gligo said.

If you’re out and about during the storm and see someone unsheltered, you can submit an online form to Housing Solutions detailing where they are and they’ll go check on them. You can find that form here.

Housing Solutions Tulsa also needs donations to keep supplying warm items to those who need them. You can donate here.

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