By means of new development, attractions, events, and relocations, Oklahoma City is continuing its impressive growth. Unfortunately, development and growth can also lead to a rise in homelessness, addiction, and untreated mental illness. Oklahoma City is certainly no exception in this respect.
City Care Night Shelter has taken a unique approach to attacking this problem head-on and at its root. Since prior generations influence many instances of poverty, incarceration, and substance abuse, City Care aims to mentor young adults who may be heading down a dark road. City Care also aids in getting adults who have gotten off track back on their feet.
“We believe in the intrinsic value of every person,” said a representative from City Care. “It is with love and compassion we advocate for the overlooked in our community. We provide food for the hungry, relief for the hurting, and hold space for complete restoration of lives that have gotten off course. With enough endurance, we witness, firsthand, remarkable stories of transformation.”
Again, what makes City Care different is its emphasis on aiding the at-risk youth through mentorship. In a tutoring program replicated from Denver, City Care started Whiz Kids. It includes neighborhood schools and churches that want to aid in the advancement of OKC’s most vulnerable kids. As a result, more than 850 students are beneficiaries of the program that includes one-to-one character and literacy-focused mentorship. The results tell the story: After one year in the program, students have erased achievement gaps caused by their prior circumstances. The students score an average of 37 points higher than their counterparts on state-administered reading tests.
This year, City Care opened up OKC’s only permanent low-barrier night shelter. It offers men, women, families, and pets a safe place of refuge, where they’ll be allowed to rest for the night and work on attacking their deeply rooted issues the next day. The goal is to get them moving toward a stable living situation again.
“I’ve dealt with addiction and homelessness for about a decade, and I now have two young kids to take care of. It’s nice to know that there’s a facility like City Care Night Shelter that we can go to and not worry about being in danger,” said Sandra Willis. “It’s also promising that my children will have mentorship through some of their education.”