Health Care Organizations Convene to Provide Shelter for Homeless Impacted by Covid-19

Two Local Shelters Will House Around 190 Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in Need of Isolation

(OKLAHOMA CITY) –The Central Oklahoma Community Health Impact Team (COHIT), a collaboration of local health care organizations facilitated by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, has developed a Covid-19 response plan to support the shelter of up to 190 central Oklahoma individuals experiencing homelessness who are ready for discharge from the hospital, or those who do not require hospitalization but are unable to isolate at home.

COHIT has identified two local shelters that are equipped to address this emergency. Grace Rescue Mission will shelter up to 40 individuals with increased vulnerability to Covid-19 because of underlying health conditions. City Rescue Mission will shelter up to 150 individuals who have tested positive for Covid-19, are awaiting test results or are symptomatic. Additionally, the shelters will provide food, laundry and cleaning services, security and operations management. The Homeless Alliance will serve as operational lead for this project to help organize the shelters, contractors and funders.

The shelters will not provide medical care, but facility staff will include nurses to monitor symptoms and connect patients with telemedicine and virtual care to support their physical and behavioral health needs.

The operation was made possible through funding from a $150,000 Oklahoma City Community Foundation 2020 Disaster Relief Fund grant, $50,000 from Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustee Ronnie Irani and his wife, Shahnaaz, and additional funding from the Oklahoma City-County Health Department.

“Vulnerable central Oklahoma individuals experiencing homelessness really don’t have anywhere to seek safe shelter in this pandemic,” said Nancy Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. “COHIT has been successful at identifying this problem as well as creating a solution to isolate these individuals to not only keep them safe, but others in our community safe, too.”

What is COHIT?
The Central Oklahoma Community Health Impact Team is a collaboration of four nonprofit health systems in central Oklahoma, including INTEGRIS Health, Mercy, OU Medicine and SSM Health St. Anthony that are working together to better address the health needs of our community. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma serves as an advisor, partner and resource to the team. In response to the Covid-19 emergency, COHIT has also collaborated with the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, the Homeless Alliance, City Care, Oklahoma City Homeless Services, Oklahoma County, Grace Rescue Mission and City Rescue Mission.

About the Oklahoma City Community Foundation
Founded in 1969, the Oklahoma City Community Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity that works with donors to create charitable funds that will benefit our community both now and in the future. To learn more about the Oklahoma City Community Foundation, visit