Woodward, Okla. —
Myth #3: Homelessness can't happen to me.
Prophet said this myth also ties into the myth in which some people think the homeless somehow deserve their predicament because they are lazy or made bad decisions.
"Homelessness is not always a matter of bad choices," she said. "Life happens to us all."
A variety of bad circumstances can lead to someone becoming homeless, she said.
"I don't think people set out to be homeless," Prophet said, noting "For most it's maybe from losing a job or medical bills that cause their finances to spin out of control into homelessness."
Even natural disasters can lead to homelessness.
"I think they helped a couple of people after last year's tornado in Woodward," Prophet said. "I wasn't here then so I don't know exactly, but I do know we've had a couple this year from the Oklahoma City tornadoes. One was a woman who came to Woodward because she had family here she thought she could stay with. But that didn't work out, so she came to us. The other was a gentleman who after he lost everything down there came out here to take advantage of all the jobs in the oilfield."
Prophet said these stories should help more people realize that homelessness could potentially affect anyone.
"If more people could realize that it could happen to you, then it might increase people's sensitivity to it," she said.
And in turn increase people's willingness to support the Outreach Center, she said.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you would like to help provide support for the outreach center and its efforts to help the working homeless, Prophet said there are 2 ways you can get involved.
"The first is to commit to making a consistent monthly monetary donation. And the second is to volunteer," she said.
Prophet said the center is looking to expand its volunteer base as a way to make up for an employee position that was eliminated to help save on costs. She said these volunteers would "basically help at the front desk, answering the phones, taking donations and have some interaction with the clients."
In addition to office help, Prophet said she is also looking for volunteers with other skills, such as someone who might help with maintenance problems when they crop up from time to time, or "even someone to help with social media and get us started with that."
But volunteers can still only help so much, especially when the Outreach Center continues to face high operation costs.
That's why monetary donations are extremely important, Prophet said, because "our operations run anywhere from $8,500 to $10,000 a month."
"I know that may sound like a lot, but on our quarterly months, when we have quarterly taxes and insurance fees to pay, it can easily jump to $10,000 that month," she said.
These operational costs also include monthly utility fees and other living expenses in addition to payroll, she said.
To further offset these expenses, Prophet said that in addition to her campaign to find more monthly donors, she also continues to plan various fundraisers to help earn a few extra dollars.
For instance, this weekend the Outreach Center will be hosting a yard sale. Prophet said she is calling it the "Christmas in July Sale," because she recently "found about 9 tubs of Christmas decorations in our storage and we don't need all that so we're going to sell some of it."
In addition to the holiday decor, the sale will feature a couple of televisions, miscellaneous knickknacks, and "lots of clothes," she said. The sale will begin at 7 a.m. this Saturday, July 13 at the Outreach Center, which is located at 1220 7th St.
For another fundraiser, the shelter has partnered with Crystal Beach Water Park for one of its "community day" charity events. On Aug. 1, the Outreach Center will receive 80 percent of all admission fees for the water park collected between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Through this event, Prophet said the public can go enjoy the water park and help the Outreach Center at the same time.
To find out more about High Plains Outreach Center, make a donation or sign up to be a volunteer, call the center at (580) 254-5162. Or you can visit the center during regular business hours at 1220 7th St.