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Oklahoma City - An OSU Degree in OKC.

Speaker at 2023 OSU-OKC Spring Gathering says take that first step

Adam Luck speaks at the OSU-OKC Spring Gathering. (Ned Wilson photo)

Get involved where you are, and be willing to help.

That was part of the message shared by Adam Luck, chief executive officer of City Care, who was the speaker for Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City’s Spring Gathering. The Spring Gathering is sponsored by OSU-OKC’s Public Service Degree Program.

Lathonya Shivers, public service program coordinator at OSU-OKC, organized the event with Luck as the speaker. .

“Non-profit organizations like City Care show what Oklahoma City can achieve when people come together to care our neighbors who struggle to survive.  I am proud that the public service program can highlight this important organization with the OSU – Oklahoma City community,” Shivers said.   

City Care is an Oklahoma City-based nonprofit that advocates for the overlooked in the community. It began by offering a weekly breakfast to people experiencing homelessness. It has grown to offer homeless services, supportive communities, and mentorship and literacy support. The “Whiz Kids” mentorship and literacy program serves more than 500 children across 32 sites. 

In 2021, the organization opened the City Care Night Shelter in a former warehouse at 532 N Villa.

Luck said many people experiencing homelessness find themselves multiple steps away from being able to solve their problems, such as having a current ID or making a commitment to sobriety. If everything is two steps away, where do you start, he asked.

“Having a low-barrier shelter is what allows people to take that first step,” he said.

The shelter has 140 beds, which includes four family suites where families can stay together. The shelter also allows those needing a place to stay to keep their pets in an attached kennel, so they don’t have to give up their animal companions in order to accept assistance. 

Most of those who stay in the City Care shelter only do so for a short time. In the first year, 53% of those who stayed at the shelter stayed for between 1 and 5 days. Those who stayed less than 90 days total made up 94 percent of the total. There were 11 people who stayed the entire year. Of those, one got housed shortly after the year was up; he had been unhoused for 10 years prior.

Luck said the City Care organization isn’t as concerned about placing blame for what happened to the margin of error many people have to prevent homelessness – friends, family or colleagues who might help in an emergency situation – as they are concerned with replacing it for those who have no margin.

“It’s for the least, the last and the lost,” he said.

Luck encouraged the students at the Spring Gathering to look for ways to plug into their local communities in areas that were important to them.

“No matter how big the dream is, no matter how big the need is … just take that next step,” he said.