The Star of Hope Mission serves Houston’s homeless communities with help for their immediate crisis needs and with longer term life-changing recovery programs. The mission runs two centers: the Doris and Carloss Morris Men’s Development Center, a 70,000 square foot facility that can house 300-350 men, and the recently completed Women and Family Development Center, a seven-building campus that can house up to 160 single women and 130 families.
Star of Hope wanted to install a security system at the Women and Family Development Center that would allow them to provide a safe environment in which their clients could recover. Given the campus’ extensive layout, the group faced several design challenges.
Director of Facilities Development, Ike Kimmel, worked closely with the installing contractor, Ricky Johnson from Design Security Controls, a Houston-based integrator to create a system that includes cameras, access control and video intercom that would meet the Center’s needs. Explains Kimmel, “Because of the configuration of the campus, we had to make sure that we had coverage inside and outside - inside the buildings and the fence and then outside on the surrounding perimeter area. On the camera side, it was a big challenge for us to make sure that we covered everything.”
After reviewing options from a variety of manufacturers, the Star of Hope selected Hanwha Techwin cameras and later adopted Wisenet WAVE as its video management system (VMS).
Star of Hope selected a combination of Wisenet S, X, and P series Hanwha Techwin cameras for the video surveillance system. In part, the decision about which cameras to purchase was based on the level of detail required for different locations. In particular, Star of Hope needed higher levels of detail for outside locations and lower levels for interior spaces.
In total, Star of Hope installed 262 cameras, using 12 MP cameras on the perimeter, 4 MP cameras in courtyards, and 2 MP cameras inside buildings. P series 12 MP 360° fisheye cameras also were installed in classrooms. These cameras are not actively monitored, but Kimmel wanted to ensure that there were no blind spots in any buildings.
The Women and Family Development Center has a Security Command Room with a video wall that features nine 40-inch screens that are actively monitored 24/7. Kimmel also has a screen in his office that he uses mainly for forensic investigations. The VMS enables the Command Room to display supplemental maps and graphics that provide a virtual tour of the campus and camera locations.
Kimmel says the VMS helped the organization in a recent case of theft on campus. Star of Hope security personnel were able to find and share video footage with local law enforcement to support the investigation and prosecution of the crime.
In addition to live monitoring, security at the center also relies heavily on recorded video for forensic investigations. And all of that high-resolution video footage requires large amounts of storage, especially since the standard retention rate at the center is 30 days. To reduce bandwidth and storage requirements, the center uses H.265 and Wisestream II compression technology.
Star of Hope Mission has been so satisfied with its new installation that it is about to start a new deployment. Says Kimmel, “We are currently working with Johnson on an upcoming project to install 52 cameras and the Wisenet WAVE VMS at the Men’s Development Center. The new system will also include a dedicated Security Command Room that will enable the security team to monitor live video 24/7.”
Kimmel is also excited that the systems at the two centers will be joined using WAVE Sync, making his job easier. He explains, “Instead of having to go back and forth between the centers, our systems will allow me to monitor video from my office at the Women and Family Development Center or from my mobile phone.”