State Debates Funds for Homeless Services
Several homeless advocacy groups shared their visions with state lawmakers at a hearing held by the House of Representatives’ Urban Affairs committee yesterday. Much of the discussion focused on how best to spend state money. One provider of homeless services has a multi-step plan for transitioning from the streets to the workplace.
Haven for Hope in San Antonio has been helping the city’s homeless residents get back on their feet since June 2010. Their motto is: “Not a hand out, but a hand up.” The program has several steps. The first is getting a shower and a mat to sleep on. Those with sufficient ability and initiative can progress to job training, and get help finding employment.
When they do find a job, the newly-employed can live at “The Terraces at Haven” — an affordable housing project that will be finished next year. Mark Carmona runs the program. He says state funding is vital to transitioning homeless into the workplace.
“It impacts us on the job-readiness side — the workforce preparedness side,” Carmona says. “It will have an impact on us. We need that support. We operate with it because it helps us achieve results.”
Haven is currently working with $1.6-million in state funds, in addition to private donations. The amount of money designed for homeless programs and how it will be divvied up will be points of contention when the new legislative session starts in January.