San Antonio: City partners with SAMMinistries to create low barrier shelter for people experiencing homelessness

CONTACT: Roland Martinez
Department of Human Services

SAN ANTONIO (June 17, 2021) – San Antonio City Council approved today a Department of Human Services pilot project in partnership with SAMMinistries to operate a new low-barrier shelter for people experiencing chronic homelessness that is housing-focused.
"The City is committed to ensuring that homelessness in San Antonio is rare, brief if experienced, and non-recurring," City Manager Erik Walsh said. "This pilot program is a great example of City departments and community agencies working together to support the most vulnerable in our community."

The shelter will help homeless individuals transition from the street and serve as a bridge to permanent housing. SAMMinistries will serve single individuals and couples without children who have significant and multiple barriers to housing and those who often struggle in communal environments. This project will serve some individuals who may have been on the street for years. The pilot project will work closely with the City's Department of Human Services and all street outreach projects to ensure there is rapid access to shelter for those individuals living in encampments or other places not meant for human habitation.

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The shelter will operate in a leased hotel facility, with SAMMinistries providing 24/7 onsite operations and support to help transition individuals into permanent housing. Many of the people served by this project will meet Housing and Urban Development (HUD) criteria as chronically homeless, meaning they have a chronic, disabling condition and have experienced homelessness for a period of 12 months or more.
Melody Woosley, Director, City of San Antonio Department of Human Services, said, "This project will complement the work of existing shelters in San Antonio and be part of a coordinated system to address homelessness. Since the pandemic, we have seen homeless encampments become more visible. This project gives our newly expanded street outreach teams one more option for getting clients on the path to long-term, stable housing."

"In alignment with the City of San Antonio's Strategic Plan to respond to homelessness, SAMMinistries is excited to pilot this project as a bridge for the chronically homeless and highly vulnerable unsheltered into permanent housing," said Nikisha Baker, SAMMinistries' President and CEO.

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The primary focus of this project will be to move people to permanent housing as quickly as possible. Case managers will facilitate activities that support housing and housing stability.   This program is part of the City's COVID-19 Recovery and Resiliency Plan and is in line with recommendations of the community's five-year Homeless Strategic Plan.

The project will be evaluated based on performance results, with a continued assessment of the ongoing need for the facility. The project is funded through federal HUD CARES Act funding.

Filed Under: Government, City

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