Texanthropy Spotlight: Haven for Hope – 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Award Winners

May 24, 2018

Throughout the Spring, the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Award winners have been spotlighted for the amazing work they are each doing in their communities and across Texas, and today’s Texanthropy Spotlight is the eleventh and final 2017 GVA winner: Haven for Hope, which was the winner of the Community Leadership Award. 

The Community Leadership Award recognizes an individual, group or organization for strengthening their community through intentional partnerships. Nominees understand the importance of service and developing connections between groups and individuals and forge collaborative solutions to meet local needs. They exhibit a dedication to their communities that inspires those around them to serve. This perfectly describes what Haven for Hope does in the San Antonio community.

In 2006, at the urging of San Antonio business and civic leader Bill Greehey, the San Antonio City Council decided it was time to seek innovative solutions to the homeless problem in Bexar County. After conducting national research on promising models and best practices, Haven for Hope opened in 2010 to guide a person from homelessness to housing through a recovery framework and comprehensive on-site social services. Today, Haven for Hope is the largest homeless service center in Texas, serving more than 1,600 people daily. The 22-acre campus is a national model in moving people who are experiencing homelessness to self-sufficiency. There are 137 nonprofit partners either on campus or in the community providing services to address the systemic causes of homelessness. Services include job training, employment readiness, basic reading to college preparation, professional certifications, financial literacy, behavioral health services, spiritual care and more.

Desirous of finding an effective way to give back to the San Antonio community, Haven for Hope leadership convened town halls, attended community association meetings, and met with those living in surrounding neighborhoods. Residents and local businesses identified a clear need for work crews to assist in neighborhood cleanup and beautification projects while minimizing costs. As a result, the Haven for Hope Ambassador Program, led by men and women residing at Haven, was developed to address identified community needs while providing opportunities to give back to those experiencing homelessness. Haven Ambassadors complete an average of 60 or more projects annually for an average contribution of more than 7,000 work hours a year. Projects include building handicap ramps, landscaping, graffiti clean-up, home construction, flooring, painting, roofing, mural/sculpture installation, and more. The Ambassador Program collaborates with many nonprofits, such as Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio, where Ambassadors helped them create a safe, nurturing space for the more than 8,900 at-risk youth that they serve. To date, more than 3,600 volunteers experiencing homelessness have participated in the Ambassador Program, demonstrating Haven’s strong commitment to the San Antonio community. 

Through its unique model, Haven for Hope is making a difference in the lives of San Antonio homeless, youth, local businesses and the community at large.  Hope is often all it takes to revitalize a community and change a life.

Congratulations to Haven for Hope, the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Awards Community Leadership Award Winner!