Downtown San Antonio hotel transitioning into new home to the homeless

Good News Notes:

Members of San Antonio’s unhoused population will soon be able to seek shelter at a former Days Inn hotel on East Houston Street.

On Thursday, June 17, City Council approved a Department of Human Services pilot project that seeks to serve as a bridge for those chronically experiencing homelessness to permanent housing. 

The accommodations will include up to 45 rooms for those with “significant and multiple barriers to housing,” according to an agenda item statement from Thursday’s City Council meeting. During the meeting, the council approved a 12-month lease agreement for $1.17 million dollars with the downtown hotel, theExpress-News reports.

“The City is committed to ensuring that homelessness in San Antonio is rare, brief if experienced, and non-recurring,” City Manager Erik Walsh says in a press release. “This pilot program is a great example of City departments and community agencies working together to support the most vulnerable in our community.”

The 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 total operating budget for the initiative is $2.9 million.

The hotel will be operated by SAMMinistries, an interfaith organization that focuses on homeless outreach. In addition to supervision, they will offer 24/7 case management and provide clients with substance abuse and mental health resources to help them further get their footing. 

“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,” says SAMMinistries President and CEO Nikisha Baker in a press statement.

 SAMMinistries, unlike some traditional housing organizations, provides low-barrier shelter, and will not penalize residents for substance use. However, substance use will not technically be permitted. …”

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