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Oklahoma ScissorTales: Good news about new OKC shelter

CEO Adam Luck talks about City Care's new night shelter that is under construction in Oklahoma City. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]
CEO Adam Luck talks about City Care's new night shelter that is under construction in Oklahoma City. [Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman]

A project more than two years in the making is expected to be completed next month, to the benefit of Oklahoma City’s homeless.

A "low-barrier" night shelter, where patrons will not be required to commit to rehabilitation programs, is set to open in January at 531 N Villa and will be run by the nonprofit City Care. It will serve men, women and families. The building has 128 beds, a pet kennel, storage units and bathroom facilities. Individuals will be able to do laundry at the shelter and store their personal items.

City Care’s chief operations officer, Rachel Freeman, notes that shelter beds “are not the solution” to homelessness, but instead are a stop gap. “We’ll keep you warm, feed you and then connect you to services,” she said.

The building became available in 2018. Rick Cooper, president and CEO of W&W Steel, bought it for City Care and the Inasmuch Foundation provided an $850,000 grant to help fund renovations and operations.

This page wrote about the planned shelter in August 2019. At that time, City Care CEO Adam Luck said the hope was to open in January 2020. It will be January 2021 instead.

Regardless, it will help fill a great need in the community.

“I have known people who would have benefited from this, and I know people now who will benefit from this,” Luck told The Oklahoman’s Kayla Branch. “It feels great to know we will be a small part of what Oklahoma City is doing to help those without homes.” Congratulations.

A well-deserved honor for Clara Luper

In the near future, Oklahoma City’s downtown post office will bear the name of a woman who led civil rights efforts just a few blocks away. The U.S. Senate recently sent to President Trump legislation naming the building, at 305 NW 5 Street, the Clara Luper Post Office. The House in September had approved the bill by Rep. Kendra Horn, D-Oklahoma City. Luper, a schoolteacher, led a sit-in at the Katz Drug Store in 1958 that helped spur other peaceful protests around the country. Luper also helped organize other sit-ins and boycotts in Oklahoma City. She died in 2011 at age 88. “I hope the Clara Luper Post Office can stand as a testament to her enduring legacy, her courage and her historic fight for justice,” Horn said. Amen to that.

A few final shots from outgoing AG

Attorney General William Barr, whose resignation was effective Wednesday, angered President Trump in recent weeks by saying his office had found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and for not disclosing until after the election that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was the subject of federal investigations. On Monday, Barr said he had no plan to name a special counsel to look further into Biden’s tax dealings — something some Republicans have sought. "I think to the extent that there's an investigation, I think that it's being handled responsibly and professionally," he said. Barr also said there was some fraud in the election, but he refused to name a special counsel to probe it further. Consider them a few final shots across the bow before departing.

Biden's education choice heartens reformers

The U.S. Department of Education under a Joe Biden administration will be much different, naturally, than it has been during Donald Trump’s four years as president. However, some school reformers' concerns were eased a bit this week when Biden named Connecticut’s education commissioner, Miguel Cardona, to head the federal agency. Fears were that Biden might appoint a teachers union boss, such as Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers. Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, notes that while union leaders in Cardona's state urged that schools stay closed during the pandemic, he pushed to get them open. She also is encouraged by other actions and comments by Cardona. “All in all,” Allen said, “it seems the president-elect has, with this pick, carved a refreshing path for his education agenda that isn’t automatically rooted in the platitudes of powerful interest groups.” That’s a good start.

The Oklahoman Editorial Board

The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Kelly Dyer Fry, Publisher, Editor and Vice President of News; Owen Canfield, Opinion Editor; and Ray Carter, Chief Editorial Writer.. To submit a letter to the editor, go to this page or email... Read more ›