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  Haven for Hope Homeless Transformational Center – ChapelHaven for Hope Homeless Transformational Center – Chapel


Joint Venture:

Overland Partners
203 E. Jones Avenue, Ste. 104
San Antonio, TX 78215

OCO Architects
114 East Cevallos
San Antonio, TX 78204

General Description

Location: San Antonio, Texas
Date Bid: June 2009 Construction Period: July 2009 to Dec 2009
Total Square Feet: 2,232 Site: 9.333 acres.
Number of Buildings: One.
Building Size: First floor, 2,232; total, 2,232 square feet.
Building Height: First floor, 29’9”; tower, 40’2”; total, 33’.
Basic Construction Type: New.
Foundation: Cast-in-place, reinforced concrete, slab-on-grade. Exterior Walls: Metal panel. Roof: Membrane. Floors: Concrete. Interior Walls: Metal stud drywall.

Project Team

Structural Engineer: JQ - 125 Sunset Road, San Antonio, TX 78209
General Contractor: Zachry Corporation - 12625 Wetmore Road, #301, San Antonio, TX 78247
Mechanical & Electrical Engineer: Blum Consulting Engineers, Inc. - 8144 Walnut Hill Lane, #200, Dallas, TX 75231
Landscape Architect: Bender Wells Clark Design - 830 N. Alamo Street, San Antonio, TX 78215

Lack of community support for de-institutionalized people with chronic mental illness; poverty; and reduction of public benefits to the elderly and disabled are but a few of the prevalent nationwide issues that contribute to the root cause of homelessness. Determined to change the plight of its homeless population, the City of San Antonio provides a comprehensive "campus of transformation," which addresses and treats all of these causes. Through a joint partnership between the City, County, and both non-profit and private organizations, the most comprehensive homeless campus in America opened its doors to San Antonio's homeless population in 2010.

The project stakeholders' goal was to transform the lives of the City's homeless and members of the surrounding community through a homeless shelter campus that would allow for expansion of existing programs and the development of new ones in the future. Elements of the design process included researching and evaluating more than 200 homeless facilities across the nation; benchmarking and analyzing best practices with participation of the stakeholders; and closely examining the City's existing programs for success and/or failures. Architects and stakeholders also held collaborative design charrettes and project progress meetings with service providers, interest groups, law enforcement, and surrounding neighborhood associations. The campus applies sustainable design practices through the reuse of previously abandoned warehouses and the revitalization of a derelict portion of downtown San Antonio. The most important sustainability result, however, is how it positively affects the City and each of its residents.

Haven for Hope, is a 37-acre homeless transformational campus located near downtown San Antonio. The $60 million project includes 15 buildings of approximately 300,000 square feet of total space, with 998 beds and the capacity to sleep an additional 500+ individuals in the courtyard. It is the largest and most comprehensive homeless facility in the United States and houses more than 78 San Antonio based non-profits and government agencies.

Located adjacent to San Antonio's Central Business District, Haven for Hope combines 140,000 square feet of abandoned warehouse space with 160,000 square feet of new construction. Instead of a jail like structure with four walls surrounding the campus keeping the homeless in and the community out, Haven was designed to be an open, integrated and welcoming facility. Ample public courtyards between the buildings serve as important gathering spaces that allow members to redevelop social skills and create meaningful relationships. Spaces within the campus include classrooms and conference rooms, a library and learning center, mail center, barbershop, exercise and recreational areas, a chapel, a childcare center with an after-school program, and even a pet shelter service center with a seeing-eye dog-training program.

Designed to unify a wide array of organizations and services for the homeless within one campus setting, the campus provides a welcoming environment to treat all types of homeless individuals. It addresses the concerns of the City's neediest citizens in a compassionate, caring, and dignified way; it has brought together the City's community through volunteer opportunities; and it has become a source of pride for the City.

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. With a building and staff dedicated to training volunteers, the campus offers many opportunities for community involvement. It "has turned a formerly blighted area into an epicenter of promise and opportunity." With visitors from over 200 cities across the nation and as far as Australia and the United Kingdom, it is quickly becoming recognized as a new national model for homeless transformational centers: it sets a new standard for homeless shelters by offering "guests" and "members" a transitional program designed to help with reentrance into society; applicable life skills and job training opportunities; and the ability for the homeless to reacquire a sense of positive personal identity.

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