The Inspira Hotel: An Unexpected Place to Call “Home” in El Paso
Last Updated: 14 Dec 2021
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When COVID-19 threatened homeless populations in El Paso, Endeavors, the City of El Paso, and community partners found a way to create a solution.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, homelessness relief efforts in El Paso were forced to change drastically overnight.
Shelters had to slash their capacities in half due to social distancing protocols, while demand increased due to pandemic-related economic instability and hardship.
Endeavors and our community partner organizations and programs scrambled to create solutions. We worked together to innovate new ideas, pivot protocols, and partner with unexpected allies. And now, nearly two years after the first COVID-19 cases appeared in the United States, our staff and partners have become experts in adapting to the present moment.
The Original Solution: Temporary COVID-19 Shelters
In April of 2020, the City of El Paso provided funding for Endeavors to collaborate with The Opportunity Center, one of the largest homeless shelters in El Paso, to help create two temporary emergency shelters: The Welcome Center and The Delta Haven. Our Emergency Services Rapid Deployment program helped to open, manage, and operate these shelters.
The efforts were wildly successful! We were able to operate and manage the Delta and the Welcome Centers successfully with very low rates of COVID transmission. In fact, it was a benchmark homeless shelter across the community in Texas because we were practicing all the CDC recommendations and never had any issues with transmission of COVID.
It was a success story, to say the least. However, when the COVID-19 pandemic began to prove a long-term phenomenon and funding from the city ran out, those temporary shelters had to close.
But the need for housing didn’t disappear. “We just couldn’t put those individuals that were in the Welcome Center and the Delta Homeless Shelter out into the streets,” said Ben Miranda, Director of Operational Impact & Outreach at Endeavors. “There was still such a high need for us to shelter homeless individuals.”
In search of a solution, the city approached Endeavors and asked if we could provide them with a plan.
An Innovative Approach: The Inspira
Enter, The Inspira, a local El Paso apartment complex leasing furnished one-bedroom studio apartments. In 2020, Endeavors created a plan to house homeless individuals and families in these apartments, and the city approved it! We have now been providing homeless populations with temporary lodging and services in The Inspira for over a year.
From November of 2020 to date, we’ve served 681 individuals, and the Inspira currently offers 100 rooms. The average length of stay is twenty three days.
How does it work? Well, when we connect with an individual or family who needs our help, our collaborative case managers connect with them to truly understand their needs. We get them situated in a room, help them connect with any services they may need (medical support, transportation, mental health care, our Cohen Clinic, etc). Essentially, the Inspira is a pipeline into the array of services we provide people experiencing homelessness.
We are so grateful to the City of El Paso for the opportunity to create such an incredible program.
Maria’s Incredible Story
When we met Maria and her daughter Ruby, they were on the run from domestic violence. Maria was a single mother and Ruby was diagnosed with diabetes and down syndrome at a young age. They came to us with the clothes on their backs, but they needed access to medical care, shelter, and safety. Maria was so frightened that her abuser would find them, but we assured her we would do everything we could to help and protect them.
We were beyond honored to pair Maria and Ruby with one of cour case managers, a woman who was able to find them clothing, Medicaid connections, food stamps, mental health care, and a room at the Inspira.
After several weeks, we were even able to help find them an apartment and the basics needed to get started (furniture, food, etc).
“They’re getting the help they need now,” said Yazmin Corral, the Shelter Manager at the Inspira. “Even after they moved out, they still have case management following up with them and seeing how they’re doing. We were happy that Ruby got her her own place in her own safe space.”
Endeavors Emergency Rapid Deployment Services
Thanks to our Emergency Rapid Deployment Services program, we are able to assist cities like El Paso when they are in need. Not only do we have the capability to quickly activate our emergency services staff to provide the service, we also have the experience in dealing with vulnerable populations through our many lines of services.
By maintaining a ready reserve workforce of 1,600+ trained personnel throughout the United States, Endeavors can rapidly deploy where needed to support three different operations: Natural Disaster Emergency Response and Evacuee Support; Crisis Emergency Response; and Pandemic Emergency Response (COVID-19 Emergency Shelters). Endeavors can provide up to 150 staff within 48 hours and a 500-person team within 72 hours upon activation, 365 days a year, in the event of a disaster or crisis.
We have the experience, we have the credibility and we have the staff to be able to provide these services in a very timely manner, without sacrificing quality and without sacrificing how we serve the client,” said Ben Miranda.
The All-America City Award & Beyond
In both 2020 and 2021, El Paso was awarded as an “All-American City” by the National Civic League, which recognizes ten communities each year for outstanding civic accomplishments. El Paso was named in part because of the work Endeavors was able to do through The The Welcome Center and The Delta Haven project!
“I love it. It’s amazing to provide help to other people. It makes a change in their lives. It gives me a sense of joy,” said Yazmin Corral.
We are so proud and honored to get to do this work with El Pasoans, and we hope to continue making a difference in the lives of people who need help.
Endeavors is a longstanding national non-profit that provides an array of programs and services in support of children, families, Veterans, and those struggling with mental illness and other disabilities. Endeavors serves vulnerable people in crisis through innovative personalized services. For more information, please visit www.endeavors.org.