Assisted Housing Residents Share Experiences with Compassion in Public Housing

Assisted Housing Residents Share Experiences with Compassion in Public Housing

Assisted Housing Residents Share Experiences with Compassion in Public Housing


January 23, 2024

Opportunity Home San Antonio led a DreamWeek panel discussion on compassion in public housing Tuesday, Jan. 23 featuring residents who utilize the organization’s federal housing assistance programs.

As part of the “Compassion Drive” theme for DreamWeek, residents shared their unique experiences and challenges as housing participants and how compassion helped them navigate through struggles.

Moderated by Misty Moon-Harty, director of racial justice and gender equity at YMCA San Antonio, panelists included Belinda Parker, a public housing resident and AmeriVista Corps participant; Michelle Ochoa, a Housing Choice Voucher participant and graduate of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio; and Jorge Flores, a Housing Choice Voucher participant and recipient of the City of San Antonio Mayor’s Fitness Council Student Ambassador Award; and Ciara Williams, a public housing resident and Opportunity Home scholarship recipient.

“When we talk about compassion, we talk about relieving the suffering,” said Dr. Jeneise Briggs, director of equity, diversity and inclusion at Opportunity Home. “As Opportunity Home, we want to help relieve the suffering of San Antonians. All of our residents’ stories are unique and so different.”

Compassion has been a key focus of Opportunity Home’s rebranding and is one of the core values as the organization aims to create and maintain vibrant communities where residents can excel in their communities. Through compassion, Opportunity Home delivers services in a manner that relieves suffering and improves the quality of life of its community members. 

“Compassion means showing sympathy, care and understanding,” said Parker. “This conversation is important because compassion is just that – it’s a feeling. Many times I talk to people and they will want to teach me or show me something new or different. Sometimes it sticks and I will remember what they said. I find that I will always remember how they made me feel.”

“Compassion is a positive cycle, and when it is accumulated, it can have positive possibilities,” she continued.

Held from Jan. 12 to 28 this year, DreamWeek is a series of events designed to celebrate humanity by creating environments for civil and civic engagement while embracing ideas and dreams for the common good. Events take a variety of forms, from symposiums, panel discussions and debates, to film screenings, concerts and art exhibits.