SAN ANTONIO – Outreach teams that could help connect the city’s estimated 1,300 unsheltered homeless residents with services would cover every corner of the city under the current proposed budget.
Human Services Director Melody Woosley told council members during a budget work session Tuesday that the proposed budget for FY 2021 includes $1.17 million to pay for 11 teams of full-time homeless outreach specialist and paid interns -- one team per council district and one downtown. The city had already operated similar programs in District 10 and the Dellview area of District 1, but this would bring the idea citywide.
“This new outreach team will cover all geographic areas of the city to build consistent rapport with people who are homeless and build trust,” Woosley said. “They will also work with service providers like Haven for Hope, SAMMinistries, St Vincent de Paul, CNCS, Salvation Army and others to connect people to services with the ultimate goal of attaining housing stability.”
The FY 2019 budget included money for a clinical social worker to conduct outreach in District 10 with the help of the local SAPD SAFFE officers. A Human Services spokesman said the program continues to be funded, though the department is looking for a replacement after the original social worker took another position.
“The clinician was able to successfully transition chronically homeless clients into housing and started many on a path to accessing services after years and years of disconnection,” Woosley said.
Woosley also said her department has also had success working with District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino’s office, SAPD SAFFE, Solid Waste Management, and Public Works since June to “provide intensive, coordinated outreach in the Dellview area.”
The Dellview outreach efforts’ successes include 20 people going to Haven for Hope, Woosley said, and addressing crime from two hotels in the area, and cleaning up the area.
The proposed budget only includes $560,451 in recurring general fund for six full-time positions and 11 paid, part-time graduate-level interns. However, Woosley indicated that additional federal funds for COVID-19 relief would help the city pay for 11 full-time positions.