Housing Surge Initiative in San Antonio exceeds 5-month goal

San Antonio part of House America effort nationwide

SAN ANTONIO – A single father who’d been living in a van with his five children is among 538 unhoused individuals and families no longer out on the streets.

“It was the best thing that could happen to me,” said Jose Gomez, now that Child Protective Services has allowed him to have his children back because SAMMinistries found him an apartment for his family.

SAMMinistries is one of 25 nonprofits and agencies that took on the challenge of housing 500 people by the end of the year.

“We’ve exceeded that goal ahead of December 31, so we’re super excited,” said Nikisha Baker, president and CEO of SAMMinistries.

The City of San Antonio and the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless launched the Housing Surge Initiative in response to the critical needs of those experiencing homelessness.

In a news release, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said their combined efforts had accomplished “a truly remarkable goal.”

Nirenberg said, “This achievement represents an important milestone in house goal to re-house 1,500 households as part of the national House America Initiative.”

SARAH spokesman Billy Mahone III said the concerted effort was made possible in large part because of “unprecedented federal funding” during the pandemic.

Mahone gave two examples, $7million in funding for “rapid rehousing” and more than $1million in emergency housing vouchers.

As a result, the rent for Gomez’s apartment is covered by SAMMinistries. The single dad is disabled and relies on Social Security.

Mahone said the effort also involved expediting the housing process, like the ID recovery process and working closely with landlords.

As a result of the housing surge initiative, Mahone said, “We expect to help around 100 households and families more than we would during a typical five-month period.”

Baker said the goal was “to show our community that we really are making a difference, that we really are having an impact. And if more investments are made, how much more can we do?”

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About the Authors

Jessie Degollado has been with KSAT since 1984. She is a general assignments reporter who covers a wide variety of stories. Raised in Laredo and as an anchor/reporter at KRGV in the Rio Grande Valley, Jessie is especially familiar with border and immigration issues. In 2007, Jessie also was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame.

William Caldera has been at KSAT since 2003. He covers a wide range of stories including breaking news, weather, general assignments and sports.

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