Homeless men plagued by mental, drug issues get help at transitional home

Behavioral Health Transitions program can assist 35 men at a time

By Deven Clarke - Crime and Justice Reporter, Luis Cienfuegos - Photojournalist

SAN ANTONIO - Instead of sending homeless men with behavioral health issues to a hospital or jail, a transitional home in Government Hill is giving them a chance at a better life.

The program, Behavioral Health Transitions, is located in a building known as Hall House, which is funded by grants, donations and Bexar County.

Brad Britt has been living there for the past three months.

"Before I got here, I was living on the streets," Britt said. "I'm able to get some money saved (and) get off the drugs."

The 1-year old program focuses on stabilizing men and keep them out of trouble.

"We have licensed clinicians who do mental health and addictions treatment, but there are other services that they're going to need out in the community," said Kevin Downey, president and CEO of Behavioral Health Transitions.

Web Video Extra: How Behavioral Health Transitions works

The men are referred by hospitals or the criminal justice system. 

Each resident is held accountable through a zero tolerance illegal drug and alcohol policy. 

Once they arrive at the facility, the men are allowed to come and go as needed. Hall House has a capacity for 35 men, who can stay there for up to 120 days, depending on their needs. Once the men complete the requirements of the program, they'll be dismissed to go back out into the world to rebuild their lives.

"We encourage the gentlemen to get out and find employment, to seek whatever social services that may be available to them, said Charles Daniels, assistant unit manager.

While Britt enjoys having a place to sleep and three free square meals a day, he said he's looking forward to getting his own apartment.

"I don't want to go back to the old life, I want to move forward," he said.

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