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The Source: City Has New Plan On Homeless

HomelessCnt.jpg
Haven For Hope
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A volunteer works on San Antonio's annual homeless count.

The city of San Antonio has the largest campus-based providers of homeless services in the country at Haven for Hope. San Antonio had 2,891 homeless individuals at last January's point in time count, which has decreased each of the past four  years from a high of over 3,600.

But when homeless people don't want to go to Haven for one reason or another, the city has a variety of ordinances that penalize them for living on the street, from panhandling and illegal camping to public urination and sitting in right of way. SAPD issues thousands of these citations a year. 

SAPD and the City of San Antonio's Department of Human Services say they want to change how homeless individuals are dealt with to reduce the number of citations and arrests. Last week, they proposed a comprehensive plan and charitable feeding policy. 

The plan represents a departure for the city and SAPD. At one time, Chief William McManus had proposed ticketing not only panhandlers but those that gave them money. Chief McManus now says in a San Antonio Express-News article that attempting to arrest the problem away has been "entirely ineffective."

The plan follows a contentious year for the city on these policies. There were some directives obtained by the Express-News' Gilbert Garcia from City Manager Sheryl Sculley requesting homeless people be cleared from around where she resides downtown.  A story that gained national attention was that of the ticketing of  charitable feeding program "The Chow Train.

Guests:

  • Chief William McManus, San Antonio Police Chief
  • Deputy Chief Anthony Trevino, San Antonio Police Department
  • Melody Woosley, Director of the city of San Antonio's Human Services Department

*This Episode of "The Source" airs at 3 PM. Audio from this episode will be available at 5:30 PM Monday

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Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org and on Twitter at @paulflahive