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Local homeless shelters gearing up for winter

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Posted at 10:28 PM, Nov 12, 2022

TULSA, Okla. — As the temperatures drop, those without a home will be looking for a warm shelter. The city of Tulsa has several agencies that help those experiencing homelessness and are gearing up for a busy winter.

People with John 3:16 Mission say homelessness in Tulsa is on the rise and they're expecting to help more people get warm and safe this winter, than ever before.

"We can speculate then that we're gonna see record numbers," said CEO and Senior Pastor, Steve Whitaker.

The mission is just one of several agencies in Tulsa that helps those experiencing homelessness. The mission offers food, warmth and a bed for those who need it. But as the years go on, more and more Tulsans find themselves without a place to get warm.

“Unsheltered person are any person that’s living any place not designated for human habitation. Those numbers were up 40 percent last February," said Whitaker.

John 3:16 has around 100 beds for those needing a place to stay and Pastor Whitaker said they can accommodate even more if needed.

“We can’t allow somebody to go too cold. We can’t let them suffer exposure, that’s unconscionable, that can’t happen. We would find some way to do that between john 3:16 and the others that care for the homeless in our city, we’d just have to find a way to do it,” said Whitaker.

But to accommodate all those in need, the mission is asking for help from the community. Pastor Whitaker said the mission always needs clothes, blankets, food and water, along with monetary donations and volunteers. He said with the number of homeless growing they aren’t sure how this winter will look. But regardless of the turnout, Whitaker said they’ll make it work.

“We want to make sure that everyone gets a real bed and a good five star meal but we do have mats that we can put on the ground. In a weather emergency we’re the overflow shelter for the city of Tulsa, or have been for many years. So we have 100 mats should there be that kind of emergency,” said Whitaker.

He said they won’t have an idea of how many people will be coming in until they’re there. But he said with the help of the Tulsa Day Center and Salvation Army, they will be doing everything they can to make sure every Tulsan has a warm bed each night this winter.

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