The conversation regarding homelessness in San Marcos continued after the city council held a work session Monday to discuss the issue, where councilmembers were presented with model-based solutions to figure out what would be most beneficial for the city.
“This is a community-wide issue, this is not an issue that just the city of San Marcos by ourselves can undertake,” City Manager Bert Lumbreras said. “It’s got to be very collaborative, it’s got to be working with many of our active partners and a lot of different people that have a heart and passion and certainly have resources to be able to lend to solve and address it city-wide.”
Previously, the council approved $400,000 from the American Rescue Plan funding to be allocated to transitional housing efforts. Councilmembers also approved an interlocal agreement with Texas State University to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment.
Director of Public Safety Chase Stapp and Lumbreras led the presentation to council and reviewed the various organizations and services that are funded by Human Services Advisory Board Funding and assist the homeless community including the San Marcos Housing Authority and the Hays County Food Bank.
“First we want to acknowledge the fact that this is a whole community problem that requires a whole community approach,” Stapp said.
Councilmembers were also presented with examples to assist with homelessness in other Texas cities. Houston and Dallas models, Built for Zero, a movement that was successful in Abilene and Camp Esperanza out of Austin were featured in the presentation.
“The Built for Zero campaign is really designed to bring all of the social service and non-government organizations and government organizations that are wanting to help together and help coordinate their efforts,” Stapp said.
According to staff recommendations, the council was advised to wait for the allocation of the ARP funds, and until the needs assessment is completed. The project is estimated to be completed in six months.
A point of focus throughout the session was the importance of wording during discussions and agenda items.
“We need to be very mindful of how we address things in the future and that we don’t scare these individuals because this is going to affect our needs assessment if we can’t find them,” Councilmember Melissa Derrick said. “It’s really disruptive not only for the people that are going through this but for our efforts in this area.”
While there was no item to vote on during the conversation, the council voiced their opinions on the models that they liked best.
There is no set date for the next work session regarding the matter. To watch the full meeting and view the agenda, visit sanmarcostx.gov/421/City-Council-Videos-Archives.
Written by Alyssa Gonzales