By Conrad Dudderar
A task force studying homelessness in Canadian County has invited the public to learn more about the problem and what may be done to address it.
The Canadian County Homeless Task Force is considering becoming an affiliate of the national movement Family Promise.
“We’ve been meeting for several months now trying to figure out how to deal with the issue,” said Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart, a task force member. “It seems there’s increasing homelessness in the county.
“It’s really been an educational process so far. We’re finally going to go with a nationwide nonprofit called Family Promise to lead this effort. They’re going to come in and have two public hearings to inform the public and any potential partners.”
The mission of Family Promise is to “help families experiencing homelessness and low-income families achieve sustainable independence through a community-based response.”
Carolyn Gordon, director of affiliate expansion for Family Promise, will explain how starting a Canadian County affiliate will help families during the two open meetings:
- 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24 in the community room at the Yukon Police Department, 100 S Ranchwood.
- 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 at the El Reno VFW Post #382, 1515 S Rock Island.
Anyone interested is invited to attend either meeting.
Commissioner Stewart believes Canadian County churches will be a “big player in helping us address this issue,” along with local leaders and civic groups.
MORE THAN 200 AFFILIATES
Headquartered in Summit, N.J., Family Promise has more than 200 affiliates with 200,000-plus volunteers across 43 states.
The Canadian County Homeless Task Force is chaired by Haley Humphrey, who believes Family Promise’s program to provide prevention, shelter and stabilization for families experiencing homelessness is easily developed because it relies on existing community resources and volunteers from local agencies, civic groups and faith-based organizations.
Humphrey, editor of the Mustang News, shared recent estimates showing 2.5 million children in America experience homelessness each year. In fact, there are more than 200 homeless children in Yukon and El Reno.
Homelessness touches virtually every community across the U.S.
More and more families in Canadian County who never thought they would become homeless are now finding themselves without a place to live, according to Humphrey.