San Antonio will lease downtown hotel as shelter for homeless
A man who has been living in a homeless encampment on the city?•s Northeast side rides off on his bicycle to get food. San Antonio’s most vulnerable homeless will soon have the option to seek services at a shelter in a downtown hotel. City Council approved a 12-month lease agreement for $1.17 million with the Days Inn on East Houston Street. The shelter will have up to 45 rooms available for individuals and couples with “significant and multiple barriers to housing” as well as those who “often struggle in communal environments,” according to an agenda item memo from Thursday’s City Council meeting. A low-barrier shelter is different from traditional transitional housing as it does not penalize clients for not engaging in services or actively using drugs or alcohol. However, drugs and alcohol will not be allowed at the shelter, according to SAMMinistries’ President and CEO Nikisha Baker. “We don’t require that you stay; we don’t require that you come and go or have a specific curfew,” Baker said. SAMMinistries, an interfaith ministry that helps the homeless, will operate the hotel for an additional $1.73 million. The organization will provide wraparound services, such as case management, and connect clients to substance abuse and mental health resources and other services they may need to achieve self-sustainability. The lease starts July 1, according to Melody Woosley, director of the city’s Department of Human Services. The end goal is to “move clients into permanent housing as quickly as possible,” said Veronica Carrillo, the city’s coronavirus executive officer. The City Council also accepted about $35.5 million in federal funding Thursday. Of those funds, $15.7 million will go toward the city’s health implementation plan. Almost $11.2 million will go toward airport programs, $8 million will go toward Head Start and the Child Care Services programs, and $500,000 is going to housing security.