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Proposed homeless village in Turley

Posted at 10:50 PM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 23:50:52-04

TULSA, Okla. -- Some Turley residents are upset at a proposed homeless village.

There's a massive sign at the intersection of East 66th Street North and North Peoria Avenue.

“We’re already in a struggling, broken community," Premier Concrete Construction employee Michael Whitchurch said.

It has a clear message.

“If you’re going to bring 120 to 300 more people, single families and individuals into a struggling community that doesn’t have enough jobs, law enforcement or resources to help this broken community as it is, what is it going to do if you bring in more people?” Whitchurch said.

The City of Lights Foundation is a tax exempted charity that works with the homeless. They submitted an application for affordable housing as well as office space, bed and breakfast units, medical facilities, an outdoor movie theater, chapels and more.

“We the people of this town don’t have a word in it," Whitchurch said. "This was being snuck in in our backyard without a warning or a notice.”

Premier Concrete Construction put a sign-up Friday morning. It's less than a mile from the proposed plan. Some worry if it passes, it will cause more problems then they say they already have.

“Osage Trail gives a perfect highway access for them to travel at night," Whitchurch said. "They’re jumping fences, stealing metal and breaking into peoples houses.”

The charity says the whole point of the project is to help those who need it.

“The design is to create a supportive community for people who are no longer homeless the moment they step on site," City Lights Foundation employee Tyler Parette said.

The foundation plans to build 10 homes to start, but there’s enough acreage for 150 homes. A private donor has plans to pay for the 70 acres.

“There will be rent required but it will be a very affordable rent," Parette said.

The planning commission will hear the plan on September 5th and make a request. Then, the county commissioners will make a final decision on the zoning request after that.

“Over the past year we’ve had over 22,000 volunteer hours at night light which is just one of our programs and so we would hope to recenter some of that volunteer effort on not only the village we’re planning on the building but the community of Turley at large," Parette said.

Until then, the sign will stay up.

“It’s easier to steal than go get a job," Whitchurch said.

The community of Turley hopes their message is loud and clear.

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