Homeless Transformation

A huge new homeless transformation center—Haven for Hope—has opened in San Antonio that doubles down on the service-based approach to helping change the homeless; though individual actions driven by individual choice—which marks the majority of the homeless—usually takes individual interior transformation before individual exterior change occurs.

That being said, we wish them the best of luck on their $100 million investment.

Here are their Guiding Principles, from their website.

“Seven Guiding Principles:
As the Council to End Homelessness traveled around the country searching for best practices in the world of homeless services, they developed seven criteria that are critical to the success of a Transformational Campus.

1) Change the Culture of Warehousing to a Culture of Transformation
2) Co-locate and integrate as many services as possible
3) Master Case Management
4) Reward Good Decision-making
5) Consequences for Bad Decision-making
6) Align as many external services with the Campus as possible
7) Separate the Panhandlers from the Truly Homeless”

And here is an excerpt from an article about Haven for Hope from the San Antonio Express News.

“Envisioned and built with a goal to…improve the lives of San Antonio’s homeless population, Haven for Hope is opening in phases through June.

“After years of planning, fundraising and construction, the $100 million campus for the first time will provide housing, meals, job training, counseling, medical care and a host of other homeless services in one place.

“Modeled around best practices from successful homeless centers in other large cities, Haven for Hope already is drawing praise from those who do similar work.

“I would expect it to be the best in nation for two reasons,” said Father Joe Carrol of Father Joe’s Villages in San Diego, Calif., one of the homeless centers Haven people visited. “One, it was well thought-out. When we built our center, we did it in a hodge-podge fashion, with one building here, one building there. There was no long-range plan. Two, San Antonio had tremendous cooperation between the government, the private sector and social services, which is rare in America.”

“The cooperation is unprecedented. Almost 80 social service agencies are partners in the project, with many located on the campus to deliver direct aid to the homeless….

“The first thing you notice about Haven for Hope is the way it looks — more like a red-brick college campus, with green spaces and lots of windows. This was intentional: Designers sought to give the center a human scale.

“Haven for Hope will house 1,400 people a day — about 500 men, 500 women and children, and 400 in Prospects Courtyard, a vast expanse of concrete where the homeless will sleep on mats under the stars, be fed cold meals and have access to showers and bathrooms.

“Security to get into the courtyard is more rigorous than that found at the airport.

“Homeless people who are intoxicated can still come in, “as long as they aren’t a threat to themselves or others,” said George Block, Haven’s vice president and chief operating officer. No drugs, alcohol or weapons are allowed on the campus.

“An even more complete intake procedure is done when people move from the courtyard to the campus proper.”

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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