Select Page

Increasing Affordable Housing for Tulsa Families with Young Children

Apr 28, 2022 | Category A

Adequate housing is essential to all families and is an important support for young children, as they experience foundational development in the early years. Many studies have linked homelessness, housing instability, overcrowding and poverty to adverse effects on young children’s health, development, and future school performance. As the nation and Tulsa grapples with a housing crisis worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic, BEST partnered with the Affordable Housing Trust Fund as a concrete strategy to address the enabling environmental factors like housing impacting a child’s life.

“For the first time in five years, I’m hanging pictures on my walls. It feels like home.”

Amber, Tulsa Renter in an HBSY Properties home

“The smiles of families, when providing affordable housing, is priceless.”

Abisoye Fakoya, HBSY Properties, LLC.

In 2021, Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity (TAEO) launched the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), a one-of-its-kind public-private funding source, working proactively and collaborating with partners to preserve and produce affordable housing in Tulsa.  Since the inception of AHTF, BEST has partnered with TAEO to focus some funds on supporting families with young children living in poverty, ensuring a pathway toward housing stability and homeownership. 

“One of the great things about the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is the ability to work proactively and collaboratively with partners, so partners can identify unique needs that they have that are being unmet or opportunities to intervene where people are falling through the gaps. Then, we can help partners to create a program. It really is more about enabling the partners to do the work.”

Kristin Maun, Director of Housing Development and Incentives at Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity

Forty-six percent of Tulsa renters are “cost-burdened”, or are spending more than 30% of their income on rental payments. Oftentimes, many are just one financial crisis away from losing their housing because they are unable to save. Kristin Maun, the Director of Housing Development and Incentives at TAEO, described the housing crisis as a circle, often starting with being a cost-burdened renter. If a family experiences any kind of unexpected financial strain, the result is the family being at risk for eviction due to an inability to pay rent on time or in full. The Oklahoma Residential Landlord Tenant Act only requires 12 days between the first day a tenant is late on their rent and the deadline to evacuate their home. In 2016, the City of Tulsa had the 11th highest eviction rate in the country. Almost 8% of households face an eviction each year. Once a family experiences eviction, many of them become unhoused, unable to find adequate housing. Now with an eviction on their record, the search to find affordable, quality housing becomes even more difficult, and even if they do secure housing, they find themselves still cost-burdened and at risk of eviction with any financial change. 

AHTF aims to find opportunities and create interventions all across this circle of the housing crisis with an understanding that collaboration is essential for change. The fund focuses on 4 core areas to ensure that change is happening across the continuum of housing: Developer incentives, Homebuyer assistance, Rental Assistance and Landlord Incentives. 

AHTF recently shared this video on how HBSY Properties, LLC, a local black-owned business and a Gold Star Landlord, rehabilitated houses and created affordable housing for 10 families in North Tulsa.

The TAEO Board of Trustees approved a grant agreement this month from the Global District, a new Main Street program in East Tulsa, where a myriad of immigrant-owned businesses have grown and developed due to a large residence of immigrant communities. The Global District, centered at 21st and Garnett, has been doing great work to build community and coalition with the business and community members in the area; however, where there is increasing investment and opportunity, there is always a risk of displacement. There is especially a risk of displacement for households with children that are vulnerable, whether that’s due to their citizenship status or potential language barriers. Luisa Krug, Executive Director of the Global District, sees this grant as an important first step to understanding the housing issues in/around the Global District and how the organization can best address them.

“The Affordable Housing Trust Fund grant will allow us to implement a pilot program that will help up to 50 families with rental assistance. This partnership will allow us to build relationships with residents, stakeholders, and property owners that we can build on to facilitate community centered revitalization in the Global District.” 

Luisa Krug, Executive Director, Tulsa Global District

The Global District has proactively partnered with trusted organizations in the community to reach out to those at risk of displacement. In partnership with these organizations, the Global District applied to AHTF for a rental assistance grant in February. The TAEO Board of Trustees considered the agreement in April, and now the grant will begin disbursement in May.

“We get to work with people to realize a vision that they know, and they don’t need us to tell them. They know the vision. we’re just there to help support them so that they can make it happen”

Kristin Maun, Director of Housing Development and Incentives at Tulsa Authority for Economic Opportunity

What is special about AHTF is not only their enthusiasm for the diversity of work across the housing continuum, but also their passion for partnering with different organizations across Tulsa and ensuring that those organizations have the ownership and ability to make their programs a reality. AHTF continues to push forward to partner with community organizations to find and implement innovative, community-driven and thoughtful solutions in the hopes that all Tulsans can feel at home and secure where they live. Applications are always open, and the trust fund is always willing and open to help organizations develop a vision or strategy from a plan. Simone Downs, the Community Engagement Coordinator at AHTF, emphasized the fund’s enthusiasm for working with organizations to create programs with innovative solutions. They aim to not only be funders, but thought-partners to organizations looking to provide resources in regards to housing. Housing is an integral part of families’ lives, and AHTF recognizes that with a willingness to work with organizations that may not yet have workstreams in housing yet, but see a need in the communities they serve. 

You can contact Kristin Maun at kmaun@cityoftulsa.org with any additional questions about the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. 

Join Us in Helping Tulsa Thrive