Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
A new online directory aimed at improving lives by connecting people in need with organizations and resources that can assist them in the San Antonio area went live this week.
The San Antonio Community Resource Directory (SACRD) is a mutual venture between the City and community groups and businesses seeking to make the search for supportive services easier and “more compassionate,” Billy Cox, president of SACRD, said Monday at a news conference at Plaza de Armas.
Instead of having people search the internet for individual local organizations that help pay rent and utilities, for example, or for help with obtaining an identification card, www.sacrd.org lets people search one website by zip code for all of the assistance services in their area, Cox said. “Connecting an individual in need is what drives us.”
The free, searchable online directory is a project born out of the City of San Antonio’s Faith-Based Initiative, which in 2017 began brainstorming ways to connect 1,400 local congregations with businesses and nonprofits that offer the same or similar services.
Services provided vary among organizations, and each provider has different qualifications to qualify to receive help. All free services, such as the adolescent pregnancy and parenting program offered through Catholic Charities, is free-of-charge, the website notes. For services that come at-cost – such as some mental health counseling – the website provides contact information so the user may inquire about pricing.
The Rev. Ann Helmke, the City’s community faith-based liaison, said area service providers agreed that to successfully address homelessness, hunger, children in foster care, mental health concerns, and other issues in the community, they needed a “way to connect with each other so we know what the other is doing.”
“We realized that the way to make this happen was through technology, and by connecting these services to be easily accessed and searchable [on one site, it] would help the organizations to be more collaborative and make the community stronger,” Helmke said.
At the top of the SACRD website, users can click through tabs relevant to their needs, including food, education, legal, transit, and care, where a drop-down menu then presents more specific options to search through.
For example, under the care tab, the user is presented with the option to view organizations offering services including child care, disaster response, mentoring, parenting classes, and support for people with post-traumatic stress disorder. Under the goods tab, searchable options include baby supplies, clothing, weather relief, and free computer access.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg told partner organizations and members of the media that he hopes to see the SACRD website be “the landing page at every library throughout the city, [at] internet kiosks around town, or when a child opens their tablet,” so that people can easily access it.
“It’s revolutionizing compassion and care to the most vulnerable humans in the city,” Nirenberg said. “People who need the help will be able to get the help they so desperately need through a more intentional connection to resources.”
SACRD is now a standalone 501(c)(3) nonprofit, using community volunteers and a minimum of paid staff to document services across the city.
The social services website is asking organizations not listed currently in the directory to visit the website and join as a partner organization, making their services more searchable and easier for people to access.
“We are a way to quickly get people connected to receive help,” Cox said.