Haven for Hope prioritizing families as arctic cold front approaches

Haven for Hope officials cite ongoing overcapacity issues as the prominent reason for taking in families before single individuals experiencing homelessness.

SAN ANTONIO — Haven for Hope is prioritizing the sheltering of homeless families as a cold front makes it way through San Antonio.

“This the first time that we have had to make the decision to prioritize a certain population. And that’s simply because we have been operating over capacity for the last couple of years and for our low-barrier shelter, we’re limited to the number of mats and spaces that we have available so we are having to make that decision to prioritize families,” said Terri Behling, Haven for Hope’s director of communications. 

Haven for Hope’s design capacity is set to accommodate 1,450 people. Behling noted overflow capacity has been averaging between 1,650 and 1,720 people experiencing homelessness. 

The non-profit has been collaborating with the City of San Antonio and numerous organizations to ensure single individuals seeking alternative shelter options are able to secure the resources they need. 

This effort is a part of the city-collective Homeless Response System. 

Behling said various spaces on the Haven for Hope campus are being outfitted for people who will be sleeping overnight. 

“Some of those families will be sleeping in the chapel at night. We might use the lobby of our administrative offices,” Behling said.

Corazon San Antonio is among the organizations taking in homeless people unable to be fully accommodated by Haven for Hope in terms of shelter. 

“Anybody that overflows from Haven can come to Corazon Ministries and receive overnight shelter and they’ll get their hot meals, lunch and supper,” said Erika Borrego, president and CEO of Corazon San Antonio.  

Corazon San Antonio is facilitating operations for overnight shelters space at Travis Park Church while Grace Lutheran Church serves as a day shelter. Blankets, coats and other warm layers of clothing are being provided at these shelters.

“We’re happy to be able to provide some respite for folks to be out of the bitter cold,” Borrego said. “We need the community’s support. All of the agencies that are doing this great work. We need donations, we need volunteers.” 

The City of San Antonio’s Homeless Connection Hotline offers various resources for residents who are homeless or on the verge of being homeless. The number to call is 210-207-1799.  

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