Take the tour: Haven for Hope client shows off new apartment after completing housing program

Nathan Finley had lived on the streets for over a decade before he found Haven’s accelerated housing program

SAN ANTONIO – Less than four months ago, we met 66-year-old Nathan Finley at Haven for Hope.

He had lived under bridges or in cardboard boxes for over 10 years.

“I had to do something and get myself off the streets, really. And I knew I had to go to Haven For Hope to do it. And I wasn’t going to do it out there by myself,” he said.

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Fast forward to today, Finley is living in his very own apartment. He moved in two weeks ago.

“This is my kitchen area,” he said, giving our KSAT crew the grand tour. “Haven for Hope did provide the dishes. The benefits I got allow me to get groceries and stuff.”

The new partnership between Haven for Hope and Opportunity Homes creates a fast track for older people experiencing homelessness.

The program Finley used was called the Single-Family Preference (SFP) program. It’s a referral program for Haven for Hope clients to go directly into an efficiency or one-bedroom unit at one of the various public housing properties throughout San Antonio.

This specific program is only for Haven clients and single-person households that are 62+ and/or have a disability. This program has no waitlist, and the average time from referral to unit is under 30 days.

To complete the program and get their new apartment, applicants must take a series of classes at Haven for Hope.

“They had Money Smart classes, the financial part. They had a class where you can get your identification (if) you lost your ID, Social Security, birth certificate,” Finely said.

When clients move into apartments like Finley’s, Haven for Hope provides them with a list of 30 things – including big-ticket items like a couch and bed.

“They even gave me pots and pans,” Finley said.

When asked what his favorite thing to cook is, he said, “Well, just making simple stuff like macaroni, you know, with some sausage in it.”

Finley has a brand new bed and dresser, but most of all, he has pride and respect for his new belongings.

“I put the rug in here, but I got another one coming for the living room because I need to cover up the tiles floors to protect it,” Finley said.

For others stuck in the cycle of homelessness, he suggests Haven for Hope.

“They really do have counselors and professional people, the medical department, education,” Finley said.

A little hard work could lead to true freedom and independence.

“I’m moving on up!” Finley said, laughing.

He plans to keep moving and make his apartment a real home.

Depending on the client’s situation, there are several Haven for Hope housing programs. Call (210) 220-2100 or head to the Haven for Hope website for more information.

About the Authors

Courtney Friedman anchors KSAT’s weekend evening shows and reports during the week. Her ongoing Loving in Fear series confronts Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She joined KSAT in 2014 and is proud to call the SA and South Texas community home. She came to San Antonio from KYTX CBS 19 in Tyler, where she also anchored & reported.

Santiago Esparza is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.

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