Youth homelessness still on the rise
The Oklahoma City 2021 annual Point In Time Count, an outreach to count the homeless, was canceled due to COVID-19. However, homeless or at-risk youth and young adults are particularly vulnerable during this time and Sisu Youth Services is determined to ensure resources are available to all youth in need.
Sponsored by the Inasmuch Foundation, Sisu Youth will partner with the Homeless Youth Alliance, Mental Health Association of Oklahoma, and NorthCare to host resource fairs across the OKC metro. The events take place March 8th-12th and provide an opportunity for outreach to young people in need and conduct an annual youth count.
Sisu’s 2021 resource fairs cater specifically to the needs of unhoused and at-risk youth, by connecting them to supportive services and capturing a snapshot of Oklahoma City’s homeless and at-risk youth population. At each location, Sisu staff and other service providers will be available to help young adults with housing applications, mental health appointments, education questions, and resource connections in addition to providing gift cards, bus passes, hot meals, clothing, toiletries, and food pantry items.
“The annual Point In Time Count is vital to the understanding of homelessness in our community,” said Jamie Caves, Executive Director of Sisu Youth Services. “When working with youth, however, we often need to find new and exciting ways to connect. Our 2020 event was a great success, and, with the help of Inasmuch Foundation, we will be taking supplies and service providers into four community hubs over a five-day span and gathering data to provide a better understanding of youth homelessness in Oklahoma City.”
Sisu currently has 16 emergency beds for youth and consistently operates at capacity with a waitlist of more than 15.
“We know that the need is overwhelming, so we are continually evolving to better serve at-risk youth,” Caves said.
Sisu Youth will host four Point In Time events in March:
• Monday, March 8 from 3-6 p.m. at:
o Cole Community Center, 4400 NW Expressway
• Tues-Friday, March 9-12 from 3-6 p.m. daily at:
o Sisu Youth Services, 3131 N Penn Ave
o Nappy Roots Books, 3705 Springlake Drive
o We The People’s Culture Hub, 301 SW 23rd Street
Sisu Youth Services is a 501c3 that provides shelter and care for homeless and at-risk youth in the OKC metro area. Sisu’s mission is to ensure that young people experiencing adversity have a safe place to sleep, the security to dream, and the support to make a positive impact on the world.
Sisu operates an overnight emergency shelter 365 days each year for young people between the ages of 15-22 and a weekly drop-in resource center providing hot meals, showers, clothing, and case management for young adults up to age 24. Sisu is proud to be a low barrier, LGBTQ+ affirming, safe space for our city's most vulnerable populations.
For more information, visit www.sisuyouth.org.
The Gayly. March 3, 2021 @ 3:01 p.m. CST.