Council Approves Sweeping Plan to Address San Antonio's Housing Problems

Mayor Ron Nirenberg addresses council about the Housing Policy Task Force.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg addresses council about the Housing Policy Task Force.
San Antonio City Council voted 8-1 Thursday to accept an ambitious policy framework designed to rein in the city's rapidly escalating housing costs.

The plan — the result of year-long deliberations by the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force — establishes new programs to tackle displacement, gentrification, spiking tax rates and other issues. It's expected to require nearly $4 billion in public and private funding.

Councilmen Clayton Perry and Greg Brockhouse balked at the measure, saying the city shouldn't subsidize the housing market. However, Brockhouse didn't vote against it because he stepped away from the dais.

Others on council, though, said San Antonio's growing affordable-housing problem will only grow without city intervention.

"We can't leave it up to the market because, basically, the market doesn't care," said John Courage, who spent 12 years selling real estate in San Antonio.

The vote comes as San Antonio's growth outpaces its housing supply — especially for low- and middle-income residents. Home ownership rates slid from 61 percent to 54 percent between 2005 and 2016.

At present, 165,000 San Antonians are overburdened by housing expenses, meaning more than 30 percent of their income is spent on rent or mortgage payments and associated costs.

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