San Antonio can buy East Side Garden Inn for the homeless – Low Calorie Diets Tips

San Antonio could buy the Garden Inn on the city’s East Side to house the homeless.

The facility, described as permanent supportive housing, would provide a different route than emergency shelters. People are accepted because of their vulnerability. They would sign a lease and pay rent — 30 percent of their income, which for some people can be nothing or a few hundred dollars, said Patrick Steck, deputy director of the Department of Human Services.

“We are confident that there can be successful ways to reduce the number of homeless people in our community,” said Steck.

It is a Housing First model that aims to stabilize a person’s living situation. Tenants would have a case manager on site who could then help them address the root cause of the homelessness. Case managers can help someone access medical care or mental health services, receive drug treatment, or receive vocational training.

The initiative differs from the city’s other efforts to combat homelessness. San Antonio currently has a leased downtown Days Inn that SAMMinistries operates as an emergency shelter intended for a short-term stay of a few months. Tenants tend to stay in apartments with on-site care services for years, Steck said.

San Antonio has leased a Holiday Inn that operates Haven for Hope. This was implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 on Haven’s main campus, although the inn will be closing soon.

The South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless recently released its Homeless Census, a count of people affected by homelessness in San Antonio and Bexar County in one night. It found that chronic homelessness has increased 77 percent since 2020 — but unprotected chronic homelessness has only increased 4.5 percent as of March 1.

The Garden Inn — located at 211 North WW White Road in Skyline Park near Interstate 10 and Loop 410 — could add 80 residential units with on-site support services. The city is still negotiating with the owner and has no purchase price to share, said Steck.

The planning is in the early stages. Before the city moves forward with anything, Steck said officials will continue to include the nearby neighborhood. They have held two listening sessions so far to address residents’ questions and concerns.

“We know there is an urgent need in the community and we want to bring this online,” said Steck. “But we want to do it right and be responsive to neighborhoods.”

San Antonio has long attempted to build such housing for the homeless in a single location — something other major cities have had for years. Funding was recently received.

The project would be funded by the $150 million in new home loan voters that passed last month. Of that, $25 million was dedicated to fighting homelessness.

Money from a federal grant through the American Rescue Plan Act would also go to the inn.

Steck said they weren’t sure if the city would own the property long-term or hand it over to a developer.

The city intends to create 1,000 new housing units over the next decade, according to the Strategic Plan for Housing Implementation approved by the City Council late last year. The Garden Inn would be the first step toward those commitments.

There are currently 573 housing units in “scattered locations” throughout San Antonio. Case managers travel to apartments across the city to meet with tenants, Steck said. SAMMinistries operates some shelters with support services.

But the city wants more living space in one place.

Officials investigated various hotels and motels in the San Antonio area. They chose the Garden Inn for its proximity to public transportation, grocery stores, and pharmacies. The building is also in good condition, which makes renovation easier.

Steck said it’s unusual for the city to be so involved, but that this type of homeless shelter is heavily subsidized. Officials are looking for additional federal funding opportunities to help run a site like the Garden Inn.

If supportive living is successful, residents will likely see plans at other sites.

“This Garden Inn wouldn’t be the last,” said Steck. “We want – we need – to do more of these things.”

megan.stringer@express-news.net

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