SAN ANTONIO – With the number of homeless families in San Antonio up 18%, Fox San Antonio is going beyond the headline to find out what’s being done to fix the problem.
Child care is a huge barrier for homeless families. We’ve learned there’s now a state-licensed day care inside a local shelter.
“I mean, it can happen just like that,” mother Debbie Hoggard describes becoming homeless.
She had nowhere to live after escaping an abusive relationship.
I just packed up my car, took my kids and took off,” Hoggard says.
She found SAMMinistries and its shelter for families, the Transitional Living and Learning Center, where she can focus on her next chapter.
“If everything goes as planned, I’ll be working next August as a high school teacher,” Hoggard says.
An impressive turnaround made possible by the center’s brand-new day care where her son can play while she earns a college degree.
“I have so much time to do my homework now,” Hoggard says. “It only takes us five minutes to get to the day care in the morning.”
“It’s allowed you to focus on you, and get back on your feet for your family,” reporter Emily Baucum says.
“Yes,” Hoggard answers.
The day care opened in June. It’s licensed by the state, and caters to the changing face of homelessness in San Antonio.
“When people think of a homeless person, they think the guy under the bridge,” Baucum says.
“Right,” says Navarra Williams, the head of SAMMinistries.
“I would see Debbie at the grocery store and never think she’s homeless,” Baucum says.
“That’s correct,” Williams answers. “That’s correct. But with an 18% increase in homeless families, that’s difficult. And that’s going to create problems in other systems in our city.”
He sees a straight line between full-time child care and overcoming homelessness.
“Because homeless children typically have some problems in school,” Williams says. “They typically fall behind in school. One in five homeless children don’t even go to school. So having this kind of opportunity for them is a real blessing.”
Hoggard pays $30 a month for the service, thanks to a partnership between SAMM and the city of San Antonio.
“And at any daycare, if you’re paying out of pocket for a five-year-old it’s going to be $1,200 a month,” Hoggard says. “It makes life manageable.”
The full-time day care is a big step up from the after-school care the center’s offered for years now. We’ll keep in touch with SAMM leaders to track the progress.
By EMILY BAUCUM