SEARCH Homeless Services

Houston, TX   |


SEARCH Homeless Services pursues a mission of providing hope, creating opportunity, and transforming lives for the thousands of men, women, and children experiencing homelessness in Houston. As we strive to make homelessness in Houston rare, brief, and nonrecurring, our ultimate vision is a Houston without homelessness.

Ruling year info


President & CEO

Ms. Thao Costis

Main address

2015 Congress St.

Houston, TX 77002 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

Service of the Emergency Aid Resource Center



NTEE code info

Homeless Services/Centers (P85)

Kindergarten, Nursery Schools, Preschool, Early Admissions (B21)

Employment Training (J22)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is not required to file an annual return with the IRS because it is a church.

Sign in or create an account to view Form(s) 990 for 2002.
Register now


Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Although Houston has made great strides in reducing homelessness, the need is still great, especially in light of the effects that the pandemic has had and will continue to have on our homeless population. Over the course of a year, more than 30,000 individuals access assistance through Houston's homeless services system. On any given day, more than 3,000 people in our community experience homelessness; over 1,500 of them are sleeping on the streets. Of those living unsheltered, one of every seven cited the pandemic as the reason for their homelessness. With the widespread unemployment and mounting evictions caused by the pandemic, we recognize that many more individuals will find themselves homeless. Continuing to move people into homes and help them remain stably housed is critical not just for their individual health but for the health of our community as a whole.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Engage and Stabilize

The primary goal of our Engagement & Stabilization program is to connect clients to housing and the other transformational services that SEARCH offers. SEARCH’s multiple Outreach teams travel to where clients are living (encampments, under bridges, etc.) to engage with individuals who may not otherwise access services with a keen focus on ending the homeless experience (as opposed to simply providing basic needs while on the street). SEARCH’s experienced Outreach Specialists also serve as Housing Assessors, evaluating clients to determine housing needs and then making the appropriate matches. SEARCH’s Housing Navigators then facilitate the complex and often overwhelming process of finding and moving into a home once a client is approved for housing. Disability specialists help individuals qualify for Social Security Income/Social Security Disability Income, and consequently, Medicaid.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

SEARCH utilizes the nationally recognized Housing First model, which is rooted in the belief that stable housing is the first step on a path toward self-sufficiency. Knowing that newly housed residents will need ongoing attention and guidance to stabilize their lives, improve their health, and remain in housing, SEARCH locates our staff members at the various housing sites to provide individualized case management to help ensure that the housing is sustained and the client gains stability and self-sufficiency. Today, SEARCH has over 900 clients living in our various housing programs whom we continue to work with on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, our hope is that we will help them learn to manage life’s ups and downs on their own without our ongoing services.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

Ensuring that our clients have steady income is a key goal of SEARCH in helping homeless individuals and families rebuild their self-sufficiency. Once our clients move into housing, we work with them to ensure that they have a stable source of income to support their daily, ongoing needs, whether through employment, social security or disability benefits, or other resources. We have also integrated employment services into our housing programs.

Population(s) Served
Homeless people

SEARCH's House of Tiny Treasures (HTT) is an award-winning preschool program that provides developmentally focused early childhood education to children, 2 – 5 years old, who have experienced homelessness. Nutritious meals, education, and art, play, and speech therapy address students’ needs and prepare them to be successful in kindergarten and beyond. By investing in the children, we are striving to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Homeless people

As we strive to end family homelessness, our new Family Services division will provide families that are or recently have been homeless with supportive services designed to strengthen and stabilize their lives, including housing, case management services, therapeutic services for the students at HTT, and connection to resources specific to the unique needs of each family.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Homeless people
Children and youth
Homeless people

Where we work

Affiliations & memberships

Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County, Inc. 2005

United Way Member Agency 1999

H-E-B Excellence in Education Award in Early Childhood for SEARCH's House of Tiny Treasures 2019

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

As we continue our work to make homelessness in Houston rare, brief, and nonrecurring, SEARCH has set intermediate goals and benchmarks that will help facilitate our long-term aspirations. Our admittedly ambitious goals for this year are to:

1. Increase the speed out of homelessness (ultimately to 30 days). Engage and move people as quickly as possible from the streets into stable housing.
• Reduce and maintain average speed from enrollment to move-in to less than 60 days.

2. Accelerate positive exits within housing. Transition residents as quickly as possible from supportive services toward independence (ultimately within three years).
• Achieve 80% retention rate among PSH residents (stayed in our PSH program, exited to another permanent destination, or had an otherwise positive exit).

3. Break the cycle of homelessness by investing in the next generation. Set up parents and children enrolled at the House of Tiny Treasures with building blocks for a stronger, more stable future.
• Improve student performance to see at least 80% of our students meet or exceed the benchmarks for children their age.

While we know that as long as poverty exists, there will be people who fall into homelessness, we firmly believe that homelessness is a solvable issue, and success in addressing it will come through making homelessness brief, nonrecurring, and rare.

Brief – making the homeless experience as short as possible. As we strive to engage and move people as quickly as possible from the streets into stable housing, it is our ultimate hope that no one will be homeless for more than 30 days.

Nonrecurring – helping people avoid a return to homelessness.

• Once clients have moved into housing, our ongoing, supportive case management services help them to gain the stability and self-sufficiency that they need to remain housed and to manage their lives without our continued support and assistance.

• At our House of Tiny Treasures preschool, we break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and homelessness by preparing the children to succeed in school and in life and by laying a strong foundation for the future that will keep them from following in their parents’ footsteps.

Rare – true success would mean that we have reached the point where we no longer must focus on addressing homelessness but are able instead to focus on prevention by assisting individuals and families who are on the brink and preventing them from falling into homelessness.

SEARCH’s strategic plan continues to focus on: (a) being a leader and subject matter expert; (b) facilitating the community system’s ending homelessness, and (c) breaking the cycle of homelessness. As we work toward our ultimate vision of a Houston without homelessness, SEARCH’s work is designed to support the community’s collective goals for addressing homelessness in Houston. Over the next three to five years, these goals include:

• Effectively ending chronic homelessness. Having already effectively ended veteran homelessness, the community’s focus remains on ending chronic homelessness, a goal that is within reach but continues to elude us.
• Ending family and youth homelessness. Once we are able to declare an effective end to chronic homelessness, our focus will turn toward ending family and youth homelessness, though this work has already begun.
• Reducing unsheltered homelessness and eliminating encampments. As we continue to tackle chronic homelessness, we as a community are also turning our focus to ending unsheltered homelessness and eliminating the encampments around town.
• Reducing the inflow of people into the homeless services system through diversion, rapid exits, prevention, and preventing institutional discharges into homelessness.
• Expanding housing options and alternatives for more PSH and RRH, for special populations who have higher needs or are especially difficult to house, and for clients who are moving on.

SEARCH brings together and coordinates a broad range of resources to carry out its work:

• Partnership with shelters and other agencies to fill the gaps for individuals struggling to change their lives.
• Subject matter expertise in serving people who are homeless at the system level and providing skilled case management and client support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness.
• Well-trained, highly-skilled, experienced, and committed staff, including social workers and social service providers, who work one-on-one as case managers for clients facing challenges and obstacles in their lives.
• Evidence-based practices such as motivational interviewing to engage some of Houston’s most challenged men, women, and children living on the street and to help them through the navigation process into housing stability and self-sufficiency.
• The Way Home – SEARCH is a leader and key partner in The Way Home, Houston’s community-wide collaborative action plan to end homelessness. In addition to the Coalition for the Homeless, the City, and the Houston and Harris County Housing Authorities, SEARCH collaborates with numerous organizations, including New Hope Housing, the Beacon, Healthcare for the Homeless, the Downtown Management District, Salvation Army, Star of Hope, the Housing Corporation, and many others.
• SEARCH works with housing providers to place clients into homes and then provides ongoing, intensive case management and wrap-around supportive services. Partners in this effort include the Houston and Harris County Housing Authorities and the City of Houston, as well as New Hope Housing, Temenos, and other housing providers.
• To help our clients improve their health, SEARCH, in partnership with Healthcare for the Homeless-Houston and New Hope Housing, has incorporated a unique integrated care model into our housing program that combines physical and behavioral health services, clinical case management, and care coordination services with registered nurses and community health workers working on-premises at some of our housing sites.
• Street Outreach efforts are carried out in close collaboration with several community partners, including Healthcare for the Homeless, the Houston Police Department - Homeless Outreach Team, Star of Hope, The Council on Recovery, the Houston Recovery Center, the Harris Center for Mental Health & IDD, and others. Staff from these organizations visit the encampments together in order to offer an array of different services and to help get the residents there to move more quickly into housing.
• SEARCH’s Council of Congregations represents diverse ethnic, social, and spiritual backgrounds and provides spiritual guidance, volunteers, financial support, in-kind resources, and opportunities for people in need.
• SEARCH’s dedicated and hardworking volunteers help us carry out our programs and operations.

Over the past three years:
• SEARCH served 9,172 clients across all programs.
• Our Outreach teams assisted 2,115 individuals living on the streets.
• We helped 1,349 individuals and families move into homes of their own.
• Our House of Tiny Treasures preschool served a total of 251 children and their families.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    SEARCH’s clients today fall into three main categories: (1) Individuals and Families Currently Experiencing Literal Homelessness (2) Individuals and Families Who Were Formerly Homeless and Have Been Housed (3) Students Enrolled at SEARCH's House of Tiny Treasures (HTT) and Their Families SEARCH's clients are among the most vulnerable and marginalized residents of our city. 100% of the individuals and families we serve are low-income, and over 1/2 of our clients have absolutely no income when they move into our housing programs. Many of them have suffered extensive trauma which results from living on the streets, childhood abuse, domestic violence, the adverse effects of neglect, and the impact of growing up and/or living in poverty.

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?


SEARCH Homeless Services

Sign In or Create Account to view assets data


Unlock financial insights by subscribing to our monthly plan.


Unlock nonprofit financial insights that will help you make more informed decisions. Try our monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights?
Learn more about GuideStar Pro.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

SEARCH Homeless Services

Board of directors
as of 01/07/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Bill Braun


Jonathan Brinsden


Homer Carrillo

Weinstein Spira

Thao Costis

SEARCH Homeless Services

Shelly Cyprus

Founder & Chairman Emeritus

Sarah Foshee

Community Volunteer

Monica Fulton

Community Volunteer

Brett Hamilton

Locke Lord LLP

Chip Johnson

Retired, Carrizo Oil

Todd A. McGrath

AIG Financial Distributors

Meredith Mouer

Tellurian, Inc.

Amy Pierce

Community Volunteer

Farid Varani

Prime Communication

Divya Visentini

Accenture Interactive

Chris Hanslik


Frederick Harper

Client Advocate

Roger Gregory

Serac Capital Partners

Jimmy Hinton


Lee Jourdan

Retired, Chevron

Stuart Miller


David Steele

Apex One

Twaunette Wilmore

Client Advocate

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? No
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? No

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/6/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity


Sexual orientation

No data


No data