by Austin Chapman,
Community Development Planner, INCOG
Many of the agencies involved in Zero: 2016 make sense: The Day Center, Mental Health Association Oklahoma, DVIS, Iron Gate. But some might make you wonder. INCOG, the Indian Nations Council of Governments, is one of those that doesn’t inherently fit with our mission to end chronic and veteran homelessness.
So why is INCOG involved?
INCOG is a voluntary association of local and tribal governments in the Tulsa metropolitan area in northeast Oklahoma. INCOG is one of 11 Councils of Governments in the State of Oklahoma, and one of several hundred regional planning organizations across the country. INCOG provides planning and coordination services to assist in creating solutions to local and regional challenges in such areas as land use, transportation, community and economic development, environmental quality, public safety, and services for older adults.
Now it’s probably making a little more sense. More specifically, in an effort to support housing needs for Northeastern Oklahoma, INCOG provides policy development, planning and administrative services for the Metropolitan Tulsa (Tulsa County) HOME Consortium. The Consortium is a collaborative effort of twenty-four Tulsa area governments working together to provide affordable housing with assistance through the federal HOME Program. Program components include; Elderly Congregate Housing, Homebuyer Down payment and Closing Cost Assistance, and New Construction of Affordable Single Family Housing.
As the administrator for the Tulsa County HOME program, INCOG understands the need for government cooperation to help manage issues relating to chronic homelessness. As a member of AWH4T, INCOG is providing administrative support to the Homes, Honor, and Health for Oklahomans (H3OK) Initiative from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse. These grants, in conjunction with MHAOK, the Community Service Council, and other Zero: 2016 partners, helps homeless veterans and chronically homeless non-veterans with behavioral health issues find and maintain permanent, safe housing.
INCOG supports the Zero 2016 Initiative because we understand that housing is fundamental to the health of our citizens, our families, our communities and our region.