Haven for Hope | Notes of Interest

As of 2007, San Antonio’s homeless statistics included the following facts: 2.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness each year; 23% of the homeless are families with children; the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old; and 40% of the homeless men have served in the armed forces, 89% of whom received honorable discharges.

Determined to change the plight of its homeless population, the City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and both non-profit and private organizations worked together to develop a comprehensive “campus of transformation,” which addresses and treats all root causes of homelessness. The site itself was an industrial park that had included several abandoned warehouses. The unique challenge for this project was to create public spaces that invoked a campus environment while reaching out to the community.

The stakeholders’ goal was to not only provide services that treated the causes of homelessness but to create a flexible campus that would allow for the expansion of programs and the development of new ones. Architects and stakeholders also held design charrettes and progress meetings with service providers, interest groups, law enforcement, and neighborhood associations. The most important sustainability result, is how it positively affects the City and each of its residents.

As a result of this state-of-the-art facility, City-based agencies such as University Health Systems and the Center for Health Care Services have become intimately involved in the operations, and volunteers are an integral part of the campus. It has turned a formerly blighted area into an epicenter of promise and opportunity.

“Having such an attractive and functional campus shows our members that we are committed and we care about them, and that gives them hope.” –Chairman for the project.

Additional Credits

  • Associate Architect: OCO Architects, Inc.; Drewry-Martin Architects; Seventh Generation Design, Inc.; Valla Design Group
  • Engineer: Blum Consulting Engineers, Inc.
  • Landscape Architect: Bender Wells Clark Design
  • Photo Credit: © Scott Adams

Haven for Hope

Jury Comments

An optimistic and empathetic response to a challenging urban site. It has nice scale...friendly and welcoming.

I applaud the approach of dealing with the circumstance of homelessness with a campus-scale response. It is so impressive in the number of services it provides and ways it supports its community and patrons. It helps them on their own terms.

This is a best practices model for integrated planning and development. This shows a standard for creating mixed use/mixed income urban planning that emphasizes community involvement.

2011 AIA/HUD Secretary's Awards Jury

  • Katherine Austin, AIA, Chair
  • Katherine Austin Architect
  • Sebastopol, Calif.
  • Luis F. Borray, Assoc. AIA
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Claire Conroy
  • Residential Architecture Magazine
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Regina C. Gray, PhD
  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mike Jackson, FAIA
  • Historical Preservation Agency
  • State of Illinois
  • Springfield, Ill.
  • Luis Jauregui, AIA
  • Jaurequi, Inc.
  • Austin, Tex.
  • Marilys Nepomechie, FAIA
  • Florida International University Miami
  • Coconut Grove, Fla.

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