Mission, History and Achievements of Bay Area Homeless Services
The mission of Bay Area Homeless Services (BAHS) is to assist the homeless and those at risk of homelessness to attain self-sufficiency, acquire permanent housing, and return to independent living as contributing members of society by providing an array of supportive services.
Since 1982, BAHS has provided emergency, short-term housing, basic needs and meals for homeless individuals and families. Initially begun as an overnight shelter for men by Rev. Mack Cook and a group of concerned Baytonians, the agency gradually evolved into a full-service emergency shelter featuring intensive case management and a stay period of at least 30 days. In response to the growing population of female homeless in the area, BAHS added a women’s dormitory to house women and single mothers with children in 2003.
BAHS recognized that most adult clients entered the shelter unemployed or underemployed, but had been in the workforce previously. Therefore, the agency developed an Employment Services Program in 2013 which features a job preparation curriculum, job application guidance and interviewing skills development. Today, in addition to providing shelter and meals, BAHS actively engages and prepares clients to seek, gain and maintain employment through job training, resume writing, transportation assistance, childcare, etc. Such services are necessary to ensure that homeless individuals served will acquire the skills necessary to avoid repeating the cycle of despair.
Facing a crisis for housing intact homeless families, the agency has built the Britton-Fuller Center for intact homeless families. In June, 2016 the first families moved into the Center, and the facility was fully occupied with six families (32 clients) in September 2016.
This long experience in working with the homeless community, as well as assisting homeless individuals to acquire stable living situations, gives BAHS the unique perspective and abilities to provide the enhanced services needed by homeless clients to develop the skills needed to return to society as contributing citizens.
BAHS also collaborates with a wide range of supportive service providers in the community to meet the needs of its clients, including Lee College for career training, Harris County Adult Basic Education, Houston Area Food Bank, Houston Volunteer Lawyers, Texas Workforce Development Commission, Bay Area Ministerial Alliance, Baytown Housing Authority, LOVE, Inc. Network, BeaconLaw, Baytown Community Restoration, and partner agencies in the United Way of Greater Baytown Area and Chambers County. This collaborative approach ensures that clients have access to the widest array of services available, while avoiding a duplication of services.
From an overnight shelter for homeless men to a full service emergency shelter for men, women, single parents and intact families, Bay Area Homeless Services continues to grow and develop innovative and productive programs thoughtfully designed to meet the changing needs of our local homeless population.