The new head office will consolidate the children’s shelter, transitional housing program and administrative offices on one property. (Courtesy Connections Individual and Family Services)
In July 2020, Connections Individual and Family Services partnered with the McKenna Foundation to purchase three properties adjacent to its corporate headquarters at 1414 W. San Antonio St.
CIFS was founded in 1981 in New Braunfels to provide safe and secure housing for homeless, abused or at-risk youth. It has since expanded to provide service in more than 15 counties across the state.
The organization offers counseling, substance abuse prevention services, an emergency shelter and a life transition program.
As the organization has grown, the need for a larger headquarters in New Braunfels has also increased, said Jacob Huereca, CEO of CIFS. The current building is aging and no longer able to accommodate the growing staff and services offered by the organization.
“We have renovated it several times over the years and it is still not a great system,” Huereca said. “Right now we have people working in old closets. … we literally have no office space for our staff.
The CIFS Board of Directors worked with Greg Shue, a managing partner of Open Studio Architecture, to develop renderings of the proposed extension to present to the McKenna Foundation Board of Trustees, Huereca said. In July, the McKenna Foundation granted CIFS $ 555,000 to purchase the three properties adjacent to the facility that will be part of the campus.
Huereca said the organization plans to complete the work in two phases over the next two to three years and is currently receiving bids for construction costs.
Phase 1 will consist of the demolition of the houses that exist on the recently acquired property. The new children’s shelter and the transitional living program will be built on the land, Huereca said.
Phase 2 will be the demolition of the existing headquarters and the construction of a new facility capable of accommodating more staff to expand the organization’s capacity to offer counseling and social services, Huereca said.
“We’re going to be able to do more community work,” Huereca said. “There is a dire need for more counseling and more upfront services for families. And we know we can do more in this space, but we need to have more resources. “
Huereca said CIFS will need to raise around $ 6 million to complete the project, although the final total is not yet known.
CIFS also owns a property at 705 Comal Ave. which serves as a traditional living program, and once the new facility is complete, Huereca said the organization hopes to turn the building into apartments for young people who have left the foster home.
“[The new headquarters] will position us to be more flexible to adapt to the needs of the community, ”said Huereca. “We want to make sure that we carry on this legacy and longevity so that those who need help have a place to come.”