San Antonio – Candidates for San Antonio City Council District 1 are heading into a runoff election and are now focusing their platforms on tackling homelessness in the area.
Incumbent Roberto Trevino is currently leading different homeless outreach programs, but candidate Mario Bravo said more needs to be done.
Local organizations helping people living on the streets said that they agree that things can and should be better.
“They’re going to be some people we’re never going to get off the street. We have to accept that and focus on how can we make their life better for everybody around us,” said Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, CEO of the San Antonio AIDS Foundation.
Rohr-Allegrini believes what the district is headed in the right direction, but it’s a complex issue.
“It’s an ongoing process. There’s not a simple solution. There are many reasons that people end up finding themselves unsheltered and they’re complicated. Simply providing a hotel room isn’t sufficient,” Rohr-Allegrini said.
Celeste Eggert, vice president and chief development officer of Haven for Hope, said homelessness encompasses several issues.
“I think it’s a matter of educating our community and making sure that our community is referring people to those existing resources that are out there,” Eggert said.
Eggert said they have outreach teams going to every district in the city to tell people about their services.
Dawn White-Fosdick, the president and CEO of Christian Assistance Ministry, said the candidate she believes should win needs to understand the community and homeless population.
“I think you have to equally be as involved as caring for our city and our neighborhood while you’re caring for this population,” White-Fosdick said.
Last week, Austin voters made it illegal for homeless persons to camp in some public spaces. Rohr-Allegrini said she would not be surprised if more people came to San Antonio.
“We’ve seen in the past, we’re going to get an influx of folks from Austin very likely, but criminalizing homelessness doesn’t solve the homeless problem,” Rohr-Allegrini said.