In January, Equitas—along with Colorado partners Hassan Latif and Sean Taylor of the Second Chance Center, Commissioner Nancy Jackson of Arapahoe County, and Sue Renner of the Merage Foundations—traveled to Bexar County, Texas, where they visited The Center for Healthcare Services (CHCS) and Haven for Hope. For more than 50 years, CHCS has been improving the lives of children, adults, and veterans with mental health disorders, substance use challenges, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. With the help of more than 90 local partners (from the YMCA to banks and dentists), CHCS offers a continuum of care and a variety of services on their campus.
The Restoration Center at CHCS was created to treat the indigent mentally ill who previously had no treatment options and therefore tended to be jailed by default. The Center is an integrated clinic where people can receive psychiatric care, substance abuse services, general health care, and access to transitional housing. There is a Sobering Unit, an Extended Observation Unit, and a Detox Room. Additional programs include a Crisis Care Center, an Injured Prisoners and Minor Medical Clinic, Opioid Addiction Treatment Services, Outpatient Transitional Services, and the “Mommies Program,” which treats pregnant women addicted to heroin.
Since The Restoration Center at CHCS opened its doors in 2008, nearly 50,000 people have been treated, saving police and sheriffs more than 100,000 hours in manpower that is instead spent preserving public safety, while also saving taxpayers more than $50 million.
Haven for Hope, adjacent to CHCS, consists of a supportive sober housing program for the homeless, a transitional housing program, and “The Courtyard,” a safe place where homeless San Antonians can sleep and store their belongings before they transition into the supportive sober housing program. More than 6,000 people have moved from homelessness to sober housing program since “The Courtyard” was created five years ago.
While in San Antonio, Equitas also had the opportunity to visit The Health Collaborative and Clarity Child Guidance Center, as well as meet with the president of NAMI’s local chapter, and professors studying criminal justice policy/programs and urban planning/prison re-entry at the University of Texas.