Vince Hernandez has been named as the new long-term interim executive director for Guyon Saunders Resource Center.
The GSRC Board of Directors made the announcement Thursday.
Hernandez, who retired as the executive director of the Texas Panhandle chapter of the American Red Cross, assumed his duties Monday and said he is already addressing the center’s critical needs.
“There’s a lot of little things that need to happen and there are some big things that need to happen,” Hernandez said. The little things include spending a few hours making sure all of the center’s rooms have Wi-Fi and assessing small donation needs.
“It’s a very streamlined organization; there’s not much money that does not go directly to providing services to the clients … I know that we need a microwave in our family room and more toys.” He is also working with similar organizations to ensure their services complement each other to help the homeless population with its various needs.
Also, spending time assessing the needs of the center as a business operation is one of the contributions Hernandez hopes to make.
“Our Day Room coordinators … they work very hard and they’re very overwhelmed with serving the clients all day long,” he said. “I think it’s going to be very helpful to have someone here to handle some of the admin functions that need to happen and maybe haven’t been happening as often.”
The coordinators help the clients with needs such as getting a bus pass or other documents. The clients are also provided with computer access so they can look for work, read the news or keep up with social media.
“We want them to be social,” Hernandez said. “We want them to have as close to what we might consider a ‘normal’ life as possible.”
One of the long-term goals Hernandez is tasked with is finding a new location for GSRC to call home, which he anticipates could take about six months.
“Any building that we find around here is going to take pretty extensive renovations,” he said. Regardless of the amount of time it takes to find the appropriate facility, what matters most to Hernandez is that the transition be a smooth one for their clients.
“I want to make sure that if we close at 5 o’clock on one day, we open at another facility at 7 o’clock the next morning, because there cannot be any break in services. Everybody is in complete agreement that the Day Room and the family room serve a vital importance,” he said.
In addition to providing a safe, warm environment during inclement weather, GSRC also provides comfort facilities like showers, laundry service and storage bins.
“Knowing that you’re belongings are safe and in a secure location that you can go and get what you need when you need is really important to them.”
Hernandez said, “I believe that we’re put on this Earth to love and support each other, and I don’t think it’s a lot more complicated than that. I can’t think of another way to be true to myself in that belief than helping the homeless population. Some of them have demons that we can’t even imagine. Some of them have just had a bad break; breaks that some of us may have had but we had a support system … to prop us up.”
GSRC, 200 S. Tyler St., is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekends and holidays.