Coordinating Health Care for Oklahoma City’s Homeless

The Open Arms Clinic at the City Rescue Mission was recently featured on KFOR-TV.

For residents of City Rescue Mission, the struggles of homelessness can present serious barriers to maintaining their health. When faced with the challenges of finding affordable housing and a sustainable income, health care is often just one more obstacle to overcome. Thanks to a grant from our Access to Health Care iFund program, a new triage clinic is making health care more attainable for Oklahoma City’s homeless population.

The clinic is a collaboration between City Rescue Mission and Open Arms Clinic, a charitable health care provider that has been serving Oklahoma City since 1993. Located onsite at City Rescue Mission, the clinic provides free medical services to mission residents through a triage nurse who assesses the level of care needed and coordinates follow-up services.

“When you have a significant homeless population without access to basic health care, they are often left with no choice but to use expensive emergency services that can have a tremendous impact on the community,” said Rosemary Hayes, Open Arms development and volunteer coordinator.

The triage clinic is helping to eliminate the use of emergency medical services for non-emergency needs. Within the first four months, the clinic served 329 patients, with only 30 requiring emergency care. Before the clinic opened, City Rescue Mission says EMS was called on a daily basis. Now, the rate of EMS calls has dropped by 24 percent.

“Many patients don’t have access to over-the-counter medications,” said the clinic’s triage nurse. “With the opening of the clinic, they can now be treated for minor ailments such as a migraine or a rash without ever leaving the facility.”

An initiative of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees, the iFund program utilizes gifts from donors to support services for children and elderly, as well as provide access to health care. Since 2011, the iFund program has awarded more than $2.5 million to charitable organizations serving central Oklahoma. Charitable organizations providing health care services and programs for the elderly in central Oklahoma can apply for the next round of iFund grants by April 14. Donors interested in making a charitable gift to support iFund grants can visit and click on Donate Now.

Grants Help Provide Warm Meals to Homebound Elderly

An Edmond Mobile Meals volunteer gives a meal to a recipient.

Oklahoma City Community Foundation Trustees recently awarded $34,100 in grants to 56 churches providing warm, fresh meals to homebound elderly residents through Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County. In addition, grants were awarded to Edmond Mobile Meals and Meals on Wheels of Norman for $3,000 each.

The Oklahoma City Community Foundation has supported Mobile Meals programs in central Oklahoma for eight consecutive years, awarding more than $259,000 since 2008. This year, the organization increased the amount of grants awarded for Mobile Meals programs by 10 percent. The grants come at a critical time for Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County. Earlier this year, the organization was in danger of closing following state budget cuts.

“The grants we have received from the Oklahoma City Community Foundation have been an absolute lifesaver for our program,” said Allen Johnson, project director for Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County. “The grants provided the sustenance to keep our program alive until other funding options were available, and they have allowed us to expand our reach of home-delivered meals over the last six months.”

Older adults often experience challenges such as limited income, travel and health limitations that contribute to their risk of going hungry. One out of every six Oklahoma seniors struggles with hunger, including 16,152 seniors in Oklahoma County. According to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, our state ranks among the top 10 in the nation with seniors who experience food insecurity. As the baby-boom generation continues to age, these statistics are predicted to increase.

Through the help of volunteers from churches and other organizations, Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County provides meals to more than 1,000 metropolitan area seniors age 60 and older who are unable to prepare their own food. Edmond Mobile Meals serves 1,000 meals per week and the Norman Meals on Wheels program serves more than 300 clients a day. The programs also provide seniors with consistent personal contact and inquiry on their well-being.

“Mobile Meals is a vital service for homebound elderly in our community and we truly appreciate the commitment from these churches and their congregations to support the program,” says Nancy B. Anthony, president of the Oklahoma City Community Foundation.

A complete list of churches that recently received grants can be found here.

To inquire about receiving Mobile Meals services, contact:

  • Mobile Meals of Oklahoma County at 405/607-2314
  • Edmond Mobile Meals at 405/341-3111
  • Meals on Wheels of Norman at 405/321-7272