Sometime between this Monday and next, the temperature will become downright unbearable. It is already formidable. Most of the state is in the midst of a winter thunderstorm, after all. While many of us – myself included – leave our warm homes, travel to the office in our warm cars before returning to our warm homes for a warm dinner before cozying up in our warm beds, thousands of Oklahomans live in perpetual vulnerability, subject to the whims of the weather. And we know that the weather in the Sooner state can be unrelenting.
This is why our outreach teams are so impressive. They endure the elements daily so that those experiencing homelessness have a chance to suffer a little bit less. Of course the goal is housing and self-sustainability, and ultimately, thriving, but there are days that Mother Nature dictate it being more primal than that. There are days that the immediate goal has to be survival so that our neighbors without a stable place to call home have the opportunity to flourish. These are the all-hands-on-deck sort of days – the sort that necessitate a little extra person-power from folks like you and me who don’t have to give much thought to how we’re going to make it through the next night. And the next. And the next.
With that, we are making a simple request. If you have spare resources, we are in need of extra:
– sleeping bags
– and, of course, monetary donations are always appreciated and put to great use.
Thank you, and to learn more about our outreach teams, keep reading. Many of them have walked in the same tattered shoes of the people we serve, and they know the path to better ones.
MHAOK’s Street Outreach teams visit encampments, bridges and other places unfit for human habitation, looking for individuals experiencing homelessness. They work hard to build trust, connecting them to other MHAOK programs and outside community resources, based on the participants’ needs. They offer case management and housing assistance with the goal of successful community reintegration.
MHAOK’s Street Medicine/Mobile Medical Intervention teams provide critical – sometimes lifesaving- acute care to individuals in need who are experiencing homelessness. They meet vulnerable Oklahomans where they are to offer services, including wound care, prescription assistance, primary care provider connection and case management.