SAHA Launches Wellness Program, Expands Food Bank Partnership
May 15, 2020
Impacts of COVID-19 reverberate throughout San Antonio, but particularly among families in the city’s most vulnerable neighborhoods. As concerns of unemployment, social isolation and food security begin to weigh on public housing residents, San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) is revealing a multifaceted action plan to support its residents during this challenging time.
SAHA’s approach is two-fold, addressing food shortages through an expanded partnership with the SA Food Bank and helping residents cope with the emotional and mental impacts of COVID-19 through a new SAHA Wellness Program. These programs are being introduced on the heels of the 25 percent rent forgiveness program for June, announced by SAHA last week.
“Housing is an essential part of what we do at SAHA, but we really have a much larger purpose — we are our residents’ biggest advocate,” said David Nisivoccia, SAHA President and CEO. “In unprecedented times such as these, we are exploring every avenue of relief and have identified solutions that can make real, tangible difference for our residents today.”
To address food insecurity, SAHA has expanded its long-term partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank to provide bi-weekly food deliveries for up to 150 of SAHA’s most vulnerable residents and their families. Program eligibility will be based on need and self-referrals. Residents who qualify but are registered with other food assistance programs will not be eligible, ensuring that those with the greatest need are reached first. During the program’s launch on May 1, more than 100 new families were provided food at 23 SAHA communities.
“The San Antonio Food Bank’s continued support and commitment to providing food security to our residents and their families is both commendable and critical. They are doing wonderful and extremely important work for our San Antonio community,” Nisivoccia said.
In addition, SAHA is working to remedy isolation and mental health concerns among all residents through the SAHA Wellness Program. SAHA has mobilized staff to contact each resident — prioritizing the elderly and disabled — to assess their well-being and immediate needs, including access to food, face masks, transportation, health services and more. SAHA purchased and will provide face masks to those who express a need, as well referrals for transportation, food and health services as appropriate.
“We are going to do everything we can to help our communities stay strong through this challenging time. Empathy, unity, lending a hand to your neighbor — those are the actions that will define how we weather this storm. Know that at SAHA, we are here for you, ” said Nisivoccia.