The Norman Transcript


February 17, 2014

Helping the poor and the needy

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

All of us who work with people who are struggling in some way — people who are homeless, going without health care, those who suffer from illnesses whether mental or physical, or maybe multiple challenges — we all share the hope that demand for our services will, over time, decrease to the point that our agencies are no longer necessary. We strive for a time when the weak become strong, the hungry have food and those without homes have shelter.

Several weeks ago, East Main Place, a longtime Norman resource, a nonprofit transitional housing program for individuals and families who are homeless, closed its doors. East Main Place did not close because of a decreasing need for its programs and beds — far from it. Losing clean, safe living spaces for 21 households, spaces that were lovingly furnished by faith communities, scout groups, neighborhoods and others over the last 20 or more years, will hurt. This is a serious reduction in the number of beds available for Norman’s citizens who are homeless. We are losing a program and supportive services that worked hard to help people get back on track and return to self-sufficiency.

As described in Andy Rieger’s thoughtful column on Jan. 26, East Main Place suffered the perfect storm of difficult circumstances. Using Central State Hospital employee quarters built in 1950 was ambitious and innovative at the time and a lot of people worked extremely hard to make and keep them safe and functioning. However, as Executive Director Ginny Corson and others have shared, the cost of maintaining and operating the building was impossible with the limited resources available. In short, the structure that since the early 1950s has provided a safe home for many members of our community has reached the end of its physical lifespan.

The question has been asked “what happened to the residents that were at East Main Place when they closed? Are they homeless again?” The answer is an emphatic no, each of the households that were receiving services when the East Main Place Board of Directors made the difficult decision to close were not returned to homelessness. As an example of how the agencies work together, the Norman Housing Authority negotiated with HUD to convert the existing funding the East Main Place was receiving, to tenant vouchers so that each household could obtain permanent housing. Other households receiving services that were not housed at the East Main Place facility were placed in the care of other provider agencies so that their services could seamlessly continue.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Norman should act wisely

    Editor, The Transcript: The fact that the city of Norman sells water for oil/gas drilling (or any other purpose) for less than half what they pay Oklahoma City when buying water, and while Norman residents are on rationing, is an act of ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Fallin should help residents

    Editor, The Transcript: I see this week that our empty skirt of a governor asked the federal government (small business administration) for much money. She is concerned about the suffering of the business owners in Lexington and Purcell ...

    April 17, 2014

  • League of Women Voters meeting

    Editor, The Transcript: On Saturday, May 10, the Norman League of Women Voters will hold its annual meeting at the Memorial Presbyterian Church, 601 24th Ave. SW, Norman, OK, from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm....

    April 12, 2014

  • Frackers should use gray water

    Editor, The Transcript: As reported by Joe Wertz in the March 31 issue of StateImpact Oklahoma, Finley Resources, a Texas-based oil drilling company, has arranged with the city of Norman to buy Norman’s drinking water from hydrants to use ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Columnists have it wrong

    Editor, The Transcript: I typically enjoy Class Act (the Q&A with school counselors published on Fridays) very much. I think they bring a rational and empathetic response to parents’ concerns when it comes to the challenges students and ...

    April 8, 2014

  • An unfortunate response

    Editor, The Transcript: On April 1, the citizens of Norman voted to approve the renewed PSST and to make it permanent by a narrow margin of 3,798 for versus 3,660 against. As a result of this vote, Mayor Rosenthal stated in The Norman ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Apathy and lack of understanding may doom universal health care

    Editor, The Transcript: Enrollments in the federal and state health exchanges were higher than expected and late enrollments are expected, yet people still contend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is not going to be successful....

    April 6, 2014

  • The Medieval Fair as a measure of human progress

    Editor, The Transcript: This upcoming weekend we are invited to “Step back in time for a day of revels at the Medieval Fair. Enjoy mirth and merriment with kings, queens, knights and fools as the kingdom comes alive.” It’s an opportunity ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Acts of kindness still alive

    Editor, The Transcript: Random acts of kindness may be an overused phrase, but when kindnesses happen to your family, it is great to know it is alive and well....

    April 4, 2014

  • Property tax increase needed

    Editor, The Transcript: Household and government budgets are necessary to keep spending on track. Voters’ choices can determine the direction of budget cuts and adjustments. Always vote smart....

    April 2, 2014