Spike in Homeless Population at Salvation Army

Posted at 2:05 PM, Dec 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-04 15:05:00-05

TULSA -- In the last three years members of the Salvation Army in Tulsa say the amount of people they serve has increased by 26 percent, and the number continue to climb.

"Now we're in a facility that is 30-years-old, a staff that hasn't changed, resources that haven't significantly increased, and we're pouring out more," said Captain Ken Chapman with the Salvation Army in Tulsa.

Captain Chapman says in good weather the shelter holds 189 percent capacity, but in bad conditions they see around 200 percent. With only 155 beds and more than 300 people needing a place to sleep, many end up camping out on the ground.

"Obviously there are people losing jobs and domestic violence, there's an awful lot of mental illness, the opioid crisis is significantly contributing to this," said Captain Chapman.

Captain Chapman called a summit on Friday with city leaders addressing the issue. Organizers hope starting the conversation will drive the community to a solution.

"We're going to have some specific strategies not just as the Salvation Army but the community to come together to make Tulsa a better place and to help the people who are the most disadvantaged," said Captain Chapman.

The County Commissioner, a representative from the Mayor's office, and members of other shelters were all at that meeting.
Captain Chapman plans to host quarterly summit meetings in 2018 and come up with a solution for the overcrowding issue.

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