SAN ANTONIO (August 10, 2020) — This summer District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño partnered with the Department of Human Services (DHS), Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU), SAPD SAFFE officers, Haven for Hope, and the Solid Waste Management Department to introduce a homeless outreach program that is social service focused. Given the success of the pilot effort, the initiative has been included in the Draft FY21 budget and expanded to all ten City Council Districts with an added position to focus on Downtown.
This District 1 led initiative began the week of July 6th.
DHS assisted District 1 in establishing a plan to provide support services to the area that outlined both long-term and short-term goals with solutions that included an on-site outreach representative. Solid Waste assisted with cleanup efforts, removing trash and bulky items from the pilot project area near the District 1 Field Office, along the Vance Jackson corridor, and in the Dellview Neighborhood.
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In addition to connecting with local social services, City departments, and area businesses, District 1 also integrated a Social Service student intern, Jaime Nicholson, from Our Lady of the Lake University (OLLU) into the effort. Ms. Nicholson has provided support and an outside perspective to the initiative that is heavily focused within her field of study.
The cross-departmental effort focuses on homeless outreach, crime prevention, and waste management. The increased attention to these areas provides a greater understanding of how these environmental factors are intertwined, while recognizing that homelessness is not a criminal act.
Since the beginning of this initiative, the District 1 office and their partners have successfully helped 24 people off the street and into appropriate service areas that can assist them on their path toward a better quality of life.
"We have taken the social services approach toward the growing homeless crisis and it's working. Joe Van Kuiken with DHS and our intern from OLLU, Jaime Nicholson, have been out here every day talking with these folks and building a relationship that's made them comfortable to ask for help.
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"I'm incredibly grateful for the support District 1 has received from Department of Human Services' Melody Woosley, Patrick Steck, Morjoree White, and Joe Van Kuiken, our SAFFE officers, our Solid Waste crew, Haven for Hope's Street Outreach Team, and City Management. It's been a group effort and we are all incredibly proud of the impact we are making—especially with the surge of COVID-19 related evictions, causing people to become unsheltered and vulnerable at a time when it's vital that they are not displaced.
"We look forward to the potential effect this can have with communities in need across the city. In order for this to be a permanent solution, we see that this work needs to be a daily, on-going effort with a compassionate and thoughtful approach.
"As this pandemic continues to be an expanding crisis affecting our most vulnerable communities, designing opportunities for lifelines of support is imperative to ensure that we all make it through this unprecedented time safely," stated Councilman Treviño.
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