By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – More than 1,100 residents are homeless in the Oklahoma City metro area, including 260 homeless seniors age 55 and older. Sunbeam Family Services works year-round to end senior homelessness through its Emergency Senior Shelter, the state’s only shelter equipped to specifically assist homeless seniors.
Through March 31, Sunbeam is asking the public to join them in raising $65,000 to continue providing this vital program to homeless seniors.
“Your support is crucial to provide hope and restore dignity for our Oklahoma seniors,” said Jim Priest, Sunbeam Family Services chief executive officer.
“We anticipate a shortage of $65,000 in funding to support homeless seniors through our Emergency Senior Shelter,” Priest added. “With your help, we can continue to provide life changing services for seniors like Lon, a recent resident of the Emergency Senior Shelter who had “nowhere to go.”
According to Priest, Lon said it was the darkest time of his life. Through Sunbeam’s coordinated services, Lon worked with a supportive case manager, completed counseling sessions and at the end of his stay with Sunbeam, Lon was a new man with a positive outlook on life.
“Sunbeam became my family and helped me deal with my grief,” said Lon. “Today, I have a place of my own to call home.”
During the last fiscal year, 99 homeless Oklahoma seniors aged 60 and older sought safety in the Emergency Senior Shelter. Many of them were without a family support system and had a limited monthly income. The shelter is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and is supported by therapists from Sunbeam’s Counseling program.
While staying at the Senior Shelter, residents receive home-cooked meals, a warm bed and weekly laundry services, along with comprehensive case management, including an individualized plan developed to support them in their path toward permanency.
The efforts of the Emergency Senior Shelter have resulted in a 94 percent success rate in homeless seniors finding a permanent place to call home. And this is the only shelter in Oklahoma that allows married couples to stay together.
“Your donation gives hope to our Oklahoma senior neighbors and restores their dignity,” said Priest. “Please consider making an investment in our seniors by helping close the $65,000 shortage.”
Founded in 1907, Sunbeam’s mission is to provide people of all ages with help, hope, and the opportunity to succeed through Early Childhood, Foster Care, Counseling and Senior Services.
To support Sunbeam in their efforts to continue providing life changing services for seniors like Lon, visit sunbeamfamilyservices.org or call 405-609-8994. To learn more, call 405-528-7721.