Panelists include former Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Haven for Hope President and CEO Kim Jefferies, and Clinical Professor of Law Genevieve Hébert Fajardo

On Tuesday, Feb. 27, St. Mary’s University will lead a discussion on how the community can help people who are experiencing homelessness with a panel of policymakers and experts — including U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro and Mayor of San Antonio Ron Nirenberg.

To continue St. Mary’s University’s dedicated pursuit of fostering meaningful dialogue for our community’s well-being, the St. Mary’s Center for Catholic Studies will present the latest in the conversation series called Finding Common Ground for the Common Good. The discussion is free and open to the public. It will take place from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 27, in the Univesity Center, Conference Room A.

St. Mary’s President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D, will moderate the event. It will feature the Hon. Nelson Wolff (B.B.A. ’66, J.D. ’66), former Bexar County Judge who is now a St. Mary’s Distinguished Service Professor.

More than 3,155 people in Bexar County were experiencing homelessness during the 2023 point-in-time count, according to the nonprofit Close to Home San Antonio.

“San Antonio and Bexar County have long been known for their culture of opening doors for its residents,” Wolff said. “By sharing insights and conversation, the upcoming Finding Common Ground for the Common Good discussion will lead us toward opening the doors of opportunity to our neighbors who are experiencing homelessness.”

Additional panelists include:

  • U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro of the Texas 20th Congressional District
  • Ron Nirenberg, Mayor of San Antonio
  • Kim Jefferies, Haven for Hope President and CEO
  • Genevieve Hébert Fajardo, J.D., St. Mary’s University Clinical Professor of Law

Those traveling to campus can park in Lot S or Lot T. For directions, visit the campus map

More about the panelists

Judge Nelson Wolff, Pivoting featured image

The Hon. Nelson Wolff, J.D., is a retired Bexar County judge and Democratic politician from San Antonio. He represented Bexar County in the Texas House of Representatives from 1971 to 1973 and the Texas Senate from 1973 to 1975. Wolff served on the San Antonio City Council from 1987 to 1991 and then as mayor of San Antonio from 1991 to 1995. He served as Bexar County judge from 2001 until 2022. In January, Wolff was appointed as University Distinguished Service Professor at St. Mary’s University. He earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from St. Mary’s.

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro headshot

U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro has represented San Antonio in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2013. Born and raised on the city’s West Side, he is a product of San Antonio’s public schools. Before his election to Congress, he served five terms in the Texas House of Representatives, where he was at the forefront of legislative reforms in mental health, teen pregnancy and juvenile justice. In Congress, his work focuses on what he calls the “Infrastructure of Opportunity” – the great public schools and universities, sound health care system, and good jobs that allow people to pursue their American dreams.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg headshot

Ron Nirenberg is the mayor of San Antonio, which has the seventh-largest population in the United States and is one of the nation’s fastest-growing cities. Nirenberg is the first San Antonio Mayor of Asian Pacific Islander descent. His mother is Filipino, and his paternal grandparents were immigrants from Eastern Europe who passed through Ellis Island. Through his personal experiences, Nirenberg developed a core commitment to civic participation and the universal values of liberty, justice and equal opportunity for every person.

Kim Jefferies headshot

Kim Jefferies, Haven for Hope President and CEO, has worked in the nonprofit industry for 22 years. She has served as a community leader for The Nonprofit Council, United Way, Headstart, Autism Lifeline Links, as a mentor for the San Antonio Area Foundation and in various other roles. Jefferies was also named a Top 40 Under 40 (2012), a Woman of Impact (2020) and a Top CEO (2021) by the San Antonio Business Journal.

Genevieve Hebert-Fajardo headshot

Genevieve Hébert Fajardo, J.D., St. Mary’s University Clinical Professor of Law, teaches the Consumer Protection Clinic, Deceptive Trade Practices and Deposition Skills at St. Mary’s University School of Law. Her clinic work and scholarship focus on deceptive sales practices in marginalized communities, especially home sales and mortgages in South Texas. Hébert Fajardo uses her academic work to advocate for legislative reform on issues important to low-income Texans, including contract for deed reform and landlord-tenant issues. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, she started the St. Mary’s Housing Hotline in collaboration with the St. Mary’s Pro Bono Program and Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Before St. Mary’s University, she taught in the Housing Rights Clinic at Hofstra Law School and was executive director of Shelter Legal Services (now Veterans Legal Services) in Boston.

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