Homelessness

JAMIE GLISSON

"The Streets Are My Home: Evictions, Homelessness and COVID," the third episode of the Focus: Black Oklahoma's special presentation "Black Plague: COVID In North Tulsa" is available now.

The House Budget Committee has approved legislation advancing President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, setting a path for intense debate in the Senate.

The legislation is set for a vote on the House floor at the end of the week. The Senate is then expected to take up the legislation and attempt to modify it to ensure it can pass procedural hurdles while still satisfying all 50 Senate Democrats.

LIVE UPDATES: Oklahoma Reckons With Severe Winter Storm

Feb 18, 2021
Sam Stalcup

Updated February 18 at 5:25 p.m.

In the wake of this week’s damage to the state's water infrastructure, Oklahoma could soon face mandatory boil orders. Environment officials anticipate the damage and response will continue for weeks.

The Department of Environmental Quality issued a release on Thursday, warning that precautionary boil advisories could increase in coming days, and that mandatory boil orders are possible.

Peter Sulewski spent nearly four years roving through Baltimore's homeless shelters and saw the toll it takes on health — even without the added threat of COVID-19.

Nathan Poppe

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, Sabrina Humphrey was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had to brave that journey while also experiencing homelessness. In her audio diary for KOSU, Sabrina discusses what kept her pushing forward through those challenges while caring for her granddaughter.  

Kateleigh Mills / KOSU

The risks from COVID-19 have shut down part of an annual, one-day survey to count Oklahoma City’s homeless population.

Every January, in the middle of the night, thousands of volunteers and outreach workers spread out across the country to count the nation's homeless population. They search highway underpasses, wooded areas, abandoned buildings and sidewalks to locate those who are living outside.

But this year, because of the pandemic, the annual street count has been canceled or modified in hundreds of communities, even as the nation's unsheltered population appears to be growing.

Chris Wilkerson used to get phone calls in the middle of the night about poop.

Wilkerson, who was part of Seattle Public Utilities' Spill Response Team, says the calls were usually from the public. Typically, he says, the caller would tell him, "Hey, there's a puddle of poo" in the street. And many times, the excrement would be coming from a recreational vehicle.

Jamie Glisson

This Sunday at 3 p.m., join KOSU for a special presentation of "Black Plague: COVID In North Tulsa" from Focus: Black Oklahoma.

The three-part series will focus on the effects of COVID-19 in the north Tulsa community. The episodes look at the pandemic's effect on youth, domestic violence, evictions and homelessness.

After three years of bouncing between shelters, relatives' couches and a tent she pitched in downtown San Francisco, Gillette Christa, 63, and her 17-month-old dog, Shepherd, finally got into stable housing.

"It was like taking a load off," she said. "We were able to finally rest."

But now her future is uncertain as she waits to hear where she will go next.

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