Kat’s Story

Room to Breathe


Mental Health Association of Oklahoma

Kat doesn’t hesitate to answer when asked what she likes best about having her own place.

“I like having my own privacy and making my own rules. I don’t feel claustrophobic anymore. It takes a weight off my shoulders and helps me breathe easy,” she says.

Kat was kicked out of her family’s home right after her high school graduation at the age of 17. She spent most of the next eight years on the streets. But when her daughter Harley was born, Kat was determined to give her a home.

Kat received help from several Tulsa Area United Way partner agencies including the Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless, the Salvation Army shelter and Family and Children’s Services. She found permanent housing at the Lewiston Apartments through the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma last year.

Without the Mental Health Association, Kat says she probably would still be jumping from place to place.

“People don’t know how hard it is out there,” she says. Kat and her family also received a “welcome basket” when they moved into their new home that included all the household and baby items they would need.

Now Kat is free to plan her family’s future. She’s looking at utilizing another partner agency in CAP Tulsa to get Harley’s education started in the next few years.

Her advice to others who are facing an uncertain future on the streets: “Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Originally I had way too much pride to go to a shelter, but without it I wouldn’t be where I am now.”