March 24, 2023 -- Earlier this week, Mayor Sylvester Turner visited the Dinner to Home program site located at 61 Riesner St.
The initiative is a food program designed to help individuals and families experiencing homelessness who may not normally engage with the homeless housing system. Since the program’s launch in November of last year, hundreds of individuals experiencing homelessness have been served.
The City of Houston has partnered with Pastor Rudy Rasmus and the Bread of Life, the Coalition for the Homeless, and SEARCH Homeless Services to provide meals at over 65 feeding events. The hot dinner is served in a respectful, dignified atmosphere with tables, chairs, trash cans, restrooms, and hand washing stations.
While the program has hosted over 65 feeding events, a hot dinner is not all that is provided, housing assessments and follow ups with SEARCH Homeless Services are also conducted regularly at these events.
“This is just one step. The goal is not only to provide them with a meal but to also put them in permanent supportive housing, so they can eat in their own kitchen,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “You can’t just tell people to relocate, you must provide suitable and reasonable accommodations close to where they have been, that doesn't inconvenience them, and also provides them with more than a meal. I can give someone a sandwich, but they need a lot more than that, we must put them in a better place so that they can stand up for themselves and live productive lives. This is one step, not the final step.”
The hot meals are provided Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday weekly. “This is an opportunity to give someone a good meal in a safe place and then start to build that relationship towards permanent housing,” said Mark Smith with the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Initiatives.
During his 2022 State of the City address, Mayor Turner announced the Dinner to Home program. It pairs perfectly with the city’s comprehensive initiatives including the largest homeless housing initiative in our city’s history, the opening of the first Housing Navigation Center in the entire state, and partnerships with the private sector to secure more supportive housing units.