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
  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • James Garner will be missed

    Editor, The Transcript: Norman native son James Garner was a fine actor on stage, screen and television. I enjoyed the “Maverick” TV series and, in particular, the 1959 episode “The Strange Journey of Jenny Hill” in which the very popular ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Call up National Guard

    We’re not sure it will help, but you have to hand it to Texas Gov. Rick Perry. He deployed up to 1,000 Texas National Guard troops to help secure his state’s border with Mexico this week....

    July 23, 2014

  • It’s only getting worse

    Conditions for children in Oklahoma were starting to look up for a few years, according to the annual Kids Count reports. Now we know it wasn’t getting better. The recession was impacting the rest of the country, dropping their scores....

    July 23, 2014

  • Noting a life well lived

    James Garner never intended to be a movie and television star. He just kind of lucked into it, he would tell those who asked. If you have the itch to act, get a good-paying job and spend your free time at your local community theater, he ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Recount that really matters

    Americans have been hearing a lot about Congressional elections, but there’s another one halfway around the globe that will matter far more....

    July 22, 2014

  • Runoffs get no respect

    The Aug. 26 Republican runoff election for the Cleveland County District 3 commissioner post is one of only 18 races on ballots around the state. Only two races are statewide — the Democrat contests for U.S. Senator nominee and state ...

    July 22, 2014