I recently spent a day with colleagues in San Antonio meeting with Mayor Ivy Taylor, city officials and staff with Haven for Hope, a transformational campus providing housing, social services and programming to over 900 homeless men, women and children.
The 22-acre, 17-building campus includes office and meeting spaces for wrap-around services, such as health care and addiction counseling for the homeless. It also features dining facilities, showers and outdoor areas. The campus opened in 2010 and cost $100 million ($60 million from private entities) to complete. While it hasn’t eliminated homelessness, the center has made a significant impact and, more importantly, connected thousands of individuals to permanent housing and other services.
It’s always great to learn from other cities and get ideas to improve our homeless outreach and housing initiatives. San Antonio and Houston face similar challenges with homeless and street populations, such as panhandling and encampments under overpasses. We have both made significant efforts to address those problems with respect and dignity, and the trip proved to be a day of sharing, learning, and collaboration.