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Neighbors complain Haven for Hope a magnet for thieves

Nonprofit causing concern among surrounding neighborhoods

SAN ANTONIO - There are serious, ongoing issues in the neighborhoods surrounding Haven for Hope, according to people who live in the area.


Natalia Vela and her family live in a home just a few blocks for the nonprofit.

She said she constantly lives on-edge, as her surroundings make her cynical.

"It's like you can't have a peace of mind," said Vela.

She said large amounts of crime is the problem, and the people that commit them are often homeless, attracted to the area by Haven for Hope.

"We're real close. We're down the street so we see a lot of it (and) we don't let our kids out in the front yard," said Vela.

She said her family has been a victim of crime many times, with her father-in-law's truck being broken into twice. 

Just last week, she said she caught someone trying to steal tools out of her backyard.

She said both crimes were committed by homeless men, people she'd seen around the area before.

Vela recognized, however, that not everyone from the center is bad, and admitted many are just trying to turn their lives around.

So she posed a suggestion.

"Just let in the people who are really trying to get better, that you see doing it," said Vela. "Because they allow people to stay that don't want jobs, you're just allowed to stay there just for a quick meal."

Thursday at 7 p.m., Councilman David Medina will host a meeting to discuss the issue of neighborhood safety in the areas around Haven for Hope.

It will be held at Haven for Hope and is free and open to the public.


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