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 offer services in more than 15 counties throughout the state.
The organization offers counseling services, substance abuse prevention services, an emergency shelter and a transitional living program.
As the organization has grown, so has the need for a larger headquarters in New Braunfels, CIFS CEO Jacob Huereca said. The current building is aging and no longer able to accommodate the growing staff and services offered by the organization.
“We've renovated it several times over the years and it's just still not a great system,” Huereca said. “Right now we have folks officing in old closets. ... We have literally no office space for our staff.”
The CIFS board worked with Greg Shue, a managing partner with Open Studio Architecture, to develop renderings of the proposed expansion to present to the McKenna Foundation board of directors, Huereca said. In July, the McKenna Foundation awarded CIFS $555,000 to purchase the three properties adjacent to the facility that will become part of the campus.
Huereca said the organization expects to complete the work in two phases over the next two to three years and is currently in the process of receiving bids for the construction costs.
Phase 1 will consist of the demolition of the homes that exist on the recently acquired property. The new children’s shelter and 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 housing 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-driven work,” Huereca said. “There's a dramatic need for more counseling, and more upfront services for families. And we know that we can do more in that space, but we have to have more resources.”
Huereca said CIFS will need to raise approximately $6 million to complete the project, though the final total is not yet known.
CIFS also owns a property at 705 Comal Ave. that serves as the traditional living program, and once the new facility is complete, Huereca said the organization hopes to turn the building into apartments for youth who have left foster care.
“[The new headquarters] is going to position us to be more flexible to adapt to the community needs,” Huereca said. “We want to make sure that we continue that legacy and that longevity so that folks that need help have a place to come.”