SAN ANTONIO — Developing permanent supportive housing continues to be an ongoing challenge in San Antonio as city leaders aim to create 1,000 units over the next 10 years. But financial help through the voter-approved housing bond and continued community education could help toward reaching that goal.
Permanent supportive housing is considered affordable residential living equipped with ongoing support services for at-risk homeless people experiencing mental and physical health complications.
The permanent supportive housing approach has shown to positively impact housing stability, employment, and overall wellbeing, according to the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services director Melody Woosley.
“We see that the addition of permanent supportive housing as the way that we are really going to be able to impact, especially the chronic homeless population, many of who have disabilities, physical or mental disabilities,” Woosley said.
San Antonio currently has 573 permanent supportive housing units. Woosley said residents tend to live within these for long periods of time so it’s vital more permanent supportive housing units are built to meet the demand.
Towne Twin Village is a non-profit led permanent supportive housing project on the east side that’s been in development for the past three years. The Housing First Community Coalition is building 200 units consisting of tiny homes, RVs and on-site resources for individuals recovering from homelessness.
SAMMinistries operates 80 units of permanents supportive housing where people can receive a variety of services. The organization’s president and CEO Nikisha Baker said she’s disappointed in the city’s scrapping of the permanent supportive housing project on east side involving the 83-room Garden Inn and Suites. She believes an emphasis on community education is vital as the city moves forward with establishing future housing projects.
“We have to do a better job. It means that we provide intensive and ongoing case management to ensure that individual or family is connected to the resources whether those are physical health care or mental health care or psychiatric care,” Baker said.
Imgard Rop, spokeswoman for District 2 City Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said the decision to cease consideration of turning the motel into housing for the homeless came down to resident concerns.
Rop provided an emailed statement addressing permanent supportive projects: “He asked the City of San Antonio to stop any further consideration on the project. Additionally, the Councilman would like to bring residents together to ensure we address long-term solutions to address the needs of homeless individuals within our district. Permanent Supportive Housing is one such innovative solution that has proven to work. We will need to gather feedback about where, when and under what circumstances our community will accept a PSH project in the future. It deserves careful consideration and we will need to work together as a community to see what that would look like in District 2 in the future.”