Helping the Homeless | San Antonio coalition achieves challenge of housing 90 families in 90 days

Close to Home aims to boost landlord engagement through a plan set to be implemented in 2025.

SAN ANTONIO — Close to Home and the Alliance to House Everyone have achieved their goal of housing 90 families in 90 days, marking an accelerated effort toward helping San Antonio’s homeless community. 

“As of March 6, we hit the goal so just five days later than our official start date, we had hit 95 families in 90 days,” said Katie Hubble, Close to home communications director. 

“We are extremely proud of the results of this challenge and the work of our partners, and humbled by the challenges we still have with efficiently locating housing options for families to move out of homelessness to permanent housing,” said Katie Wilson, Close to Home executive director. “We need our community’s support in developing affordable housing options. And we look forward to engaging partners in our Centralized Landlord Engagement strategy to address this barrier to self-sufficiency for families.” 

The December to March housing initiative involved the collaboration of 10 organizations, including Haven for Hope, SAMMinistries and the City of San Antonio. 

“There are several factors that initiated this challenge. One of them was the rising rents and evictions in San Antonio, but there are many other factors such as lack of documentation and domestic family violence,” Hubble said.

The increase in evictions followed the decline in federal funding (CARES Act) for families on the verge of ending up houseless. This trend came after Bexar County experienced an all-time low in the number of families experiencing homelessness during the early days of COVID-19 when eviction moratoriums were in place. 

Hubble noted the process of housing families was almost 50% above previous years during the same timeframe. 

“We’re in May and 48 additional families have vouchers and are waiting to be placed into housing,” Hubble said. 

Haven for Hope housed around 55 families during the 90/90 Family Challenge, according to the organization’s housing director Ashley King.

“A big reason why the 90/90 came out was because of the overcapacity issues we were having. We just saw an extreme influx of families coming through over the past couple years but specifically this last summer,” King said. 

King stressed the more boots-on-the-ground involvement and collaboration with Opportunity Home San Antonio has proven beneficial to streamline the housing initiative. 

“It might be a small, minor change in the big picture, but it really helped not only Haven as a service provider but our clients. They now come to Haven for on-site eligibility appointments to issue out vouchers here at our campus,” King said. 

Close to Home and the Alliance to House Everyone are developing an expedited process involving landlord outreach with the goal of more efficiently securing housing for families. The plan is to implement the strategy by 2025. 

“Historically there’s a big stigma when it comes to the homeless population. I think the hardest challenge is making them (landlords) understand that not every homeless person is the same.”

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