OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Homeless shelters across the Oklahoma City area have had to cut capacity because of the pandemic.
The Homeless Alliance, which includes several shelters, normally has about 900 beds, but it’s been cut to about 600 due to COVID-19.
“It’s just not safe to have so many people in a building anymore,” Kinsey Crocker, director of communications at The Homeless Alliance, said.
They’ve also had to turn their day shelter into a night shelter when the temperature drops below freezing, even going over capacity during the ice storm.
“We’re having to weigh the risk of putting more people in the building versus them being outside in the middle of an ice storm,” Crocker said.
Instead of doing a Christmas meal, they gave out to-go meals and gift bags.
City Rescue Mission has set up a space to care for homeless COVID patients.
“When homeless come down with COVID, or even symptomatic, they have no place to go and shelter and just rest and be able to really recuperate,” Debbie MacDonald, VP of Development at City Rescue Mission, said.
For those experiencing those homelessness, Christmas can be like any other day.
“There’s good days and bad days,” Michael Campbell said.
He says after years of homelessness and incarceration, he hasn’t been able to do anything for Christmas.
“I can’t do nothing just like [in jail] so I’ve already acclimated to it until I get a job and place to stay,” he said.
Several groups served people in the parking lot of The Homeless Alliance on Christmas.
“There’s no other places for them and they are cold and hungry and they have needs,” Amy Carter, owner of coffee shop Grounds for Compassion, said.
“The biggest reason people end up homeless is they run out of a support network,” Wayne Heins, pastor with Grace United Urban Ministry, said.
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