SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio has become the first of 70 cities aligned with the House America pledge that's met and exceeded the goal of placing 1,500 people from the streets into permanent housing.
“Today, I am proud to announce that San Antonio has rehoused over 1,600 households,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg.
A coalition of non-profits and community leaders set a goal last fall to use funds from the American Rescue Plan for helping rehouse 1,500 households in San Antonio by the end of 2022.
“Congratulations for being the first House America community to not only meet, but to exceed your rehousing goal,” said Marcia Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. “No community has ever solved homelessness by banning it.”
While the city was able to relocate 1,642 people into permanent housing, SAMMinistries President and CEO Nikisha Baker stressed there are still thousands of residents across Bexar County at risk of ending up on the streets.
“18% of our local households are living at or below the federal poverty level and another 33% are considered working poor, which means half of our neighbors are just one paycheck away from homelessness,” Baker said.
Haven for Hope continues to serve as an anchor for helping San Antonio’s homeless community. President and CEO Kim Jeffries noted soaring inflation and rising housing costs have contributed to the unprecedented number of families seeking shelter and services.
“Family dorm is full and we have 65 families in overflow and so those families are coming to us because of all of these factors and so that tells us that we still have work to do,” Jeffries said.
The city aims to create at least 1,000 units of permanent supportive housing over the 10 years, which serves a way for people to receive ongoing medical care and a host of social services.
More than $20 million of the $150 million from the voter-approved bond in May will go toward specifically permanent supportive housing projects.
“If we need to continue to scale up shelters we will, but the real effort is involved with making sure there is a pipeline of affordable housing and that we get folks rapidly rehoused,” Nirenberg said.
“Just to put somebody in housing is not enough. You have to have those supportive services that are linked in, the services the support from the community,” said Mark Carmona, the city’s first chief housing officer.
The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless in partnership with several community partners, will host a landlord summit next week to educate housing providers on the Housing Choice Voucher Program.
“This is an opportunity for them to come, learn, establish relationships. HUD recently raised the amount that’s paid out in a Housing Voucher, so there’s a lot of new information right now I think that current landlords or prospective landlords would be interested in hearing,” Carmona said.