Haven for Hope pushes outreach efforts for unsheltered people as heat persists in San Antonio

Pete Barrera packs his pickup truck with food, water and supplies to help those without shelter.

SAN ANTONIO – As the chance for triple-degree heat continues across San Antonio, Pete Barrera said his concern for the health of unsheltered people is on the rise.

“It’s a rough, cruel world today,” Barrera said. “We can’t reach everybody. We can’t save everybody, but we do the best we can.”

Barrera works Monday through Saturday for Haven for Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps those experiencing homelessness.

As the outreach coordinator, Barrera is out in the community every day delivering supplies to those without shelter.

“I’ve got water, I’ve got electrolytes, I got fruit cups, I got feminine products for females, I got dog food, and cat food too,” Barrera said. “If I don’t have it, I’ll get it.”

With the extreme heat across San Antonio this summer, Barrera said he’s working to prioritize the health of those who can’t escape the heat. Cierra Smith is one of those people.

“You have to stay strong,” Smith said. “It’s hot right now, but there have been hotter days where I just want to give up.”

Smith is staying in the same encampment right now as Jacqueline Rodriguez.

Rodriguez said every time Haven for Hope or another organization stops by, she looks to stock up on fresh water.

“I water my hair and we spray it in a bottle,” Rodriguez said. “That’s how we get cooled down.”

Living out of a tent for the last nine months, Rodriguez said her regular visits from Barrera and Haven for Hope help her feel seen.

“They’re nice people. They come up to us and they feed us,” Barrera said. “We’re human, just like y’all.”

And that’s a feeling that Barrera said he wants to leave with his community the most.

“They’re friends,” Barrera said. “Everybody’s a human being, no matter what situation they’re in.”

About the Authors

Avery Everett is a news reporter and multimedia journalist at KSAT 12 News. Avery is a Philadelphia native. If she’s not at the station, she’s either on a hiking or biking trail. A lover of charcuterie boards and chocolate chip cookies, Avery’s also looking forward to eating her way through San Antonio, one taco shop at a time!

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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