The Bivouac – 2023 Vision and Implementation Plan
Mission for the Home Front
The mandate of the Bivouac is to End Veterans Homelessness in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by providing temporary assisted housing to veterans currently on the streets of our city. Statistics show that there are a minimum of 400 individuals currently homeless on our streets for many reasons. In the majority of cases we have experienced, individuals living on the streets are not able to access the myriad resources available to them. It is the firm commitment of our organization to deliberately connect these Tulsa residents to available veterans support services, and help them successfully transition into permanent housing in civilian life..
Veterans, especially combat vets, are a unique demographic of people, who have faced life challenges that civilians in most cases know nothing about. They are disciplined, mission oriented, and in many cases, broken in ways that only other veterans understand. Research shows that there are 400 permanent housing units currently already available, (there are also 400 homeless veterans) but shelf life on placing a homeless vet directly into permanent housing is 30-60 days (Dr. Michael Horner, Director, https://coffeebunker.org/) It is the directive of The Bivouac to provide temporary housing with life skill counselling to help our wounded warriors successfully move forward into productive and secure lives.
AOMMinistries led a street outreach in 2021 that brought an interesting introduction into life of the homeless: https://www.chrisaomministries.com/2021-ministry-update/ As we performed this volunteer project weekly, we learned that in each homeless encampment, there are usually several veterans in the demographic, and these have been targeted for future outreach and may well become the first residents of our facility, when it is up and running.
Like many things in life, it became our experience that though many people agree in principle that we need to do something for our homeless veterans, most do not want to get their hands dirty participating in actually meeting these people or participating in their rehabilitation.
In 2021 and again in 2022, Chris Walsh, then with a group of veteran potential board members drove from Tulsa to Kansas City to meet with Chris Admire, director of https://www.veteranscommunityproject.org/ to both tour the facility and to hear the history and wisdom of how that organization was raised up and currently operates. In both that trip and in subsequent meetings it was decided to build a similar project to serve the Tulsa, Oklahoma region, and the search began in earnest for suitable land to build it.
This has been a three-year journey, with several good possible locations being blown away by special interest groups, before anything legitimately got off the ground.
What is being considered for construction currently, is the third potential site for this project, and the pros and cons have been carefully weighed.
Pros: Location is okay, still within Tulsa City Limits
City Councilor over this geographic district is a military veteran.
Leadership at City Zoning and permitting office are active national guard
Many military support groups have given at least verbal support.
These include: The Coffee Bunker (who has agreed to put a veteran’s support office in our facility)
Victory for Veterans: Pete Luitweiler and his group pray for us.
Eagle Ops:(https://www.eagleops.org/) Have a very similar vision to help veterans transition into civilian life, yet no housing available
Kirk of the Hills Veterans group: Pray and support this mandate.
Asbury Church: Provide pet food each month as part of their 2nd Saturday that we distribute to homeless vets with dogs.
Community: In speaking with surrounding residents, people seems very supportive to embracing this project in their community. Since each adjoining home has their own fenced in backyard, we may not require a chain-link fence surrounding our compound, saving a cost of almost $70,000.00 for approximately 2000 lf or 8’ tall chain-link fence.
Cons: We only need approximately 6,000sf of office support space. The only available site we can find is a school of of 39,000 sf, that has been unoccupied for 12 calendar years. There are extensive expenses in reopening and repurposing the building, that are costing us literally pennies on the dollar to complete as compared to estimates submitted to Tulsa Public Schools, but they are still expenses in our budget that we wish we didn’t have to spend. However, should the school board approve the 200K purchase price, it is the most cost-effective site we have been able to locate in Tulsa City Limits to potentially build upon.
The current school building does not currently have a fire suppression system. If zoning and permitting will not allow us to grandfather the property into fire codes at time of original construction, otherwise it will cost an additional $160,000.00 install this to obtain occupancy permit.
Also, the site will need to be rezoned as a community multi-use property. It is our intent this fall to canvas the local neighborhood to see what local residents might feel and wish to see contributed to this project.