SAN ANTONIO – A community-wide response is underway in San Antonio ahead of the frigid weather expected over the next few days to assist the city’s homeless population.
“We’ll be able to serve hundreds of people and should more than meet the need of everyone who’s currently unsheltered,” said Katie Vela, executive director of the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless.
SARA has been a five-year-long community effort to better serve the city’s homeless population.
“We’re here to support our partners, look at data and research, to come up with strategies to do better locally on the issue of homelessness,” Vela said.
She said in a time like this, at least 10 churches and nonprofits have stepped up to do their part.
They are included in a list of resources that was created to help the homeless find shelter, food and the services they need.
You can read the full list here as well, if you’re unable to see the information listed above.
The list includes Haven for Hope, the city’s largest shelter, and other options that Vela said “should more than meet the capacity needs for this weekend.”
Among them is Corazon Ministries, which is located at Travis Park Methodist Church downtown.
Gavin Rogers, the associate pastor there and the executive director of Corazon Ministries, said, “We opened last night. Some shelters are opening tonight and the next night.”
He said a major consideration has been the necessary Covid-19 precautions, “Social distance, wear two masks, temperature checks, a limited number of volunteers.”
Rogers said the city is working with each agency to determine how many people can stay in the various shelters.
Vela said as an example, one of the Salvation Army shelters met its 60% capacity Thursday night because of the existing Covid-19 guidelines.
“But they will continue to take people in tonight and throughout the weekend on a first come, first serve basis,” Vela said.
She also pointed out Haven for Hope is “open to everyone and will not turn anyone away.”
A spokesman for SARA also said, “Those wanting respite and shelter from the cold will be expected to stay at least one night.”
But, he said, if they don’t want to, they’ll be offered a cold weather kit, including a sleeping bag, hand warmers, snacks and hygiene products.
The city also has a homeless hotline, 210-207-1799, for more information, including how to help and where to volunteer.