In our area, a strategy helping the homeless (and local residents and business) needs to be developed—capable of sheltering up to 2 or 3 thousand homeless a night—and we suggest basing it on San Antonio’s Haven for Hope program http://www.havenforhope.org/downloads/docs/H4H%20Brochure%2010-31-2016.pdf especially the courtyard strategy they use for safe rapid shelter for large numbers, see our news release of September 28, 2015 on our News Page http://arpps.org/news.html
Here is a recent article in the Los Angeles Times about a field trip folks from Los Angeles took to look at Haven for Hope.
As Orange County officials evacuate the encampments near Angel Stadium, one would have to be extremely callous not to feel compassion for those whose situation is so dire that they have resorted to living in a flimsy tent on a riverbed.
I’m convinced that there is a better approach to homelessness right within our grasp. If you want to get a glimpse of one solution, then I have some advice for you.
Take a trip to San Antonio, Texas.
That’s what I did in January along with a contingent of 41 Orange County officials, including city council members (from 11 cities), nonprofit providers, healthcare and business leaders and state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) to visit Haven for Hope.
That facility is a sprawling and bustling campus that offers housing and transformational, life-saving services for homeless men, women and children in Bexar County, Texas.
Our group of diverse-thinking individuals who visited this remarkable place came to a consensus that is pragmatic and cuts across political lines. That is, homelessness can best be solved in Orange County with a thoughtful, integrated regional effort. Regional and integrated are the key words here.
Anaheim, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Tustin or any city, including my own Costa Mesa, should not have to go it alone. There is strength in numbers, and we need to integrate the efforts of city, county and state with nonprofits and the private sector. Let’s not forget the faith-based community, which brings the power of the Gospel and a spirit of compassion to the mission.
Now more than ever, we need champions from the private sector with deep pockets and the will to get things done, as well as high-profile, courageous elected officials.
Which brings me back to the story of Haven for Hope. City officials in San Antonio realized that homelessness was more than just a social blight, it was also damaging the local economy. They decided it was high time to fix it.
Luckily, that word reached a well-connected philanthropist Bill Greehey, Valero Energy’s CEO, who committed himself to solving the problem. Greehey put up $10.5 million of his own money and Haven for Hope was born in 2010.
Haven for Hope epitomizes the effectiveness of integration. Nearly every nonprofit in San Antonio that serves the homeless is present on the campus. That adds up to 142 partners providing over 300 services.
The results have been fantastic.
In January 2010, the point-in-time count found 738 homeless on the streets of downtown San Antonio. By January 2017, that dropped 80% to 148.
More than 3,835 people have moved from the transformational campus to permanent housing, with 90% of those not returning to homelessness.
In its first year, there were 3,300 fewer jail bookings in San Antonio. More than 50,000 people have received services since the campus opened.
Remarkably, city and county jails and emergency rooms avoided about $97 million in costs because of Haven for Hope. Each year, about 40,000 medical, dental and vision care services are administered to homeless men, women and children who would otherwise go without.
So, you may ask, who’s paying for all this?
As part of his commitment to Haven for Hope, Greehey searched for private donors outside of San Antonio to finance the project, and 61% percent of the $100.5 million it cost to build the campus came from the private sector.
That’s right, the private sector. Corporations invested in a project that is producing amazing dividends in human capital that you can’t measure on any financial statement.
Retrieved February 1, 2018 from http://www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/opinion/tn-dpt-me-commentary-stephens-20180207-story.html