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Assistance from City of San Antonio, Department of Social Services.

Families and individuals that need help can turn to the City of San Antonio, Social and Human Services Department. The government affiliated organization helps thousands of low income families, poor, and struggling residents every year. Numerous resources are offered, include emergency financial assistance, transitional housing, and more. Many of the services are available from partner agencies, as noted.

In many cases the cities Department of Social Services will require applicants to attend case management. The demand for assistance in Bexar County is very high, and only a small number of requests can be fulfilled. However a focus tends to be around homeless prevention and housing assistance.

Programs from non-profit partners of Department of Social Services

Alamo Area Resource Center Greater San Antonio Housing Works offers assistance to individuals and families with HIV/AIDS. Resources are available in an effort to help them with finding and maintaining their current housing. The not for profit program provides intensive housing case management, a regional housing resource database as well as locator service.

San Antonio Metropolitan Ministries Rapid Rehousing is for the evicted or homeless in Bexar County. It assists currently homeless individuals and families or those at risk of becoming homeless by providing available rental units. Clients will need to pay a portion of their income towards rent.

San Antonio AIDs Foundation Nursing Facility Basic Housing HOPWA Operations is care that is for residents who do not have the ability or means to take care for themselves.

Rental help from San Antonio AIDs Foundation is for individuals and families with HIV/AIDS. Funds can be paid out in some cases in order to ensure them continued access to long-term housing. All aid is in the form of subsidies.

Transitional housing from the Foundation provides assistance to HIV-positive individuals. It gives them a place to stay in the form of low cost, transitional housing. Such individuals who are homeless or released from prison can apply for this service.




Bexar County shelters offers assistance to women and children who have been victims of violence, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse. The program provides temporary emergency shelter, counseling, ongoing case management services, and information on funds for security deposit or rent when the women is ready to leave.

Haven for Hope and Prospects Courtyard helps with basic needs. Qualified low income or homeless clients are entitled to free clothing, use of a shelter and social services including medical and free dental services, job training, and day care.

Prospects Courtyard on the Haven for Hope campus serves as a safe, outdoor sleeping space for homeless people. They can receive free meals, laundry, basic free medical care and mental health assistance, and other needed services.

Seton Home Safe Shelter is suitable for teen mothers and their children. It was created to support families by allowing them to stay together.

Services and emergency assistance directly administered

Affordable childcare services are available to eligible homeless families. The program enables such families to work part or full time, receive job training, or attend school. The goal is to achieve self-sufficiency by helping them with day care costs. Once referred, parents are given the opportunity to choose a day care center that best fits their life or employment situation. Please call 210.206.5550 for more details.

The city’s Department of Social Services Head Start services are available to children from homeless families as well. using the reosurces from this program, it is promoting mid to long term school readiness. It can also tackle the issue of family strengthening of children and families of San Antonio and Bexar County. The program offers high quality nutritional, educational, medical, dental, mental health, disability, and other services. 210.206.5500

SARAH, or the South Alamo Regional Alliance For The Homeless, is part of the nationwide Continuum of Care (CoC) network. SARAH  helps homeless individuals and those at risk of becoming homeless by developing and adopting approaches to the delivery of needed services.





The purpose of the Bexar County and San Antonio Family Assistance Center is to provide working poor families, seniors and individuals in San Antonio and the greater region with the support to meet basic needs. The purpose is to help them achieve self-sufficiency over the long term, namely through better employment. This program of the Department of Human Services is available thanks to combined federal (Community Services Block Grant), utility (CPS Energy and SAWS), and general fund dollars. Services provided by Family Assistance Centers are listed below, and call for more details.

  • They are Utility Bill assistance can be Project Agua (SAWS), Plumbers to People (SAWS), Project Warm as well as REAP.
  • Employment Assistance comes in the form of job readiness and Work Support and Case Management
  • Other Family Center Resources are Assistance in applying for government Benefits (SNAP Food Stamps, Medicaid, LIHEAP, etc.), one time rent assistance to families who have received a final eviction notice and also referrals to other Community Services.

The citywide Fair Housing Program is an option for tenants and homeowners. The county human services organization is also a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agency. The Fair Housing services available provide various resources such as mediation between tenant and landlord, free homeowner counseling, discrimination complaints investigation, and plan reviews for disability accessibility requirements. Additionally, mortgage help in the form of information on Home Equity Conversion and referrals are also available.

Individuals and families who need information about their housing rights will receive needed help from anti-discrimination programs in Bexar County. In addition, the program provides support concerning housing related discrimination complaints.

In general, residents should know that individuals are protected from the refusal to sell or rent, or to negotiate for the sale or rental of a house or apartment, due to discrimination based on of race, gendr, sex, national origin, religion, familial status or disability. Among other tools, housing counselors use mediation to investigate and resolve complaints from tenants. The focus is on non-judicial conciliation and compliance agreements.

Tenant/ landlord mediation is for applicants that are enrolled in the Fair Housing Program. They can use the help of HUD Certified housing counselors, who will try to resolve disputes between residential tenants and landlords. Counselors are available to provide clarification regarding the legal rights on matters such as evictions, home repairs, repairs, code violations, security deposits, utilities billing and termination and lease disputes.

Income tax preparation and filing is part of VITA . Staff and volunteers from the Department of Social and Human Services provides free income tax return preparation. It is offered to many hard working taxpayers who meet income guidelines.  Working families can take advantage of all of the tax credits they are eligible for including education credits, Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and also the federal Child Tax Credit. The preparation of tax returns conduct volunteers for free.

Financial Empowerment Center are located in San Antonio. The sites offer free, one-on-one professional financial counseling to all residents. The councilors will help you take control of your debt, improve your credit, deal with all sorts of debt collectors, create a meaningful budget and build your savings. They will also find affordable financial products or low income loans on your behalf and in general help you with other services according to your needs.

The Centers are based at The Neighborhood Place and also at the Claude Black Community location on San Antonio’s West and East Sides. Most, if not all of the services are available to all residents and are free. The Financial Empowerment Centers were created as the result of a partnership between the City of San Antonio, the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County as well as the Family Service Association





The primary goal of the Training for Job Success program is to help the individuals and families of Bexar County achieve stability through better employment and increased income. It provides job readiness activities that include résumé writing, tips on interviewing skills and job leads. Other services include textbooks, free school supplies and uniforms. Ongoing counseling and case management services are available from specialists to enrolled clients. In addition, the program occasionally offers assistance with paying utilities and rent, as well as linkage to other community resources.

Project Cool operates during summer months (usually June-August). It helps seniors and/or the disabled by providing them with box fans, which provide heat relief due to considerably high temperatures in Texas and humidity. Eligible for this program are seniors 60 years of age and older residing in the city limits of San Antonio.

The partners of the program are many, and include the City of San Antonio (Human Services, Fire Department), United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County, Catholic Charities of San Antonio, Inc., the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and community/corporate partners.

For more information or referrals, call the City of San Antonio, Department of Social Services at 210.207.8198. The office is at 106 S. St. Mary's, 7th Floor, San Antonio, TX 78205.

By Jon McNamara

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