Housing Policy Task Force Unveils Plan to Ensure Affordable Homes and Rentals

click to enlarge Between 2005 and 2016, home ownership rates in San Antonio dropped from 61 percent to 54 percent. - SANFORD NOWLIN
Sanford Nowlin
Between 2005 and 2016, home ownership rates in San Antonio dropped from 61 percent to 54 percent.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg's Housing Policy Task Force today issued a report to help the City of San Antonio create its first comprehensive housing plan.

The document lays out a year-long path for implementing policies that tackle  displacement, gentrification, spiking tax rates and other pressing issues, said University System Foundation President Lourdes Castro Ramirez, chair of the five-member task force. The report also lays out a ten-year plan to make housing a top City priority.

"We're including both policy and a road map for action," said Castro Ramirez, former head of the San Antonio Housing Authority and a one-time principal deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. "The first year is critically important, but to address an issue as complex as housing is also going to require a long view."

The task force sought input at trio of community meetings and brought S.A. residents in as members of working groups that crafted its recommendations. Among those:
  • Create a coordinated City housing system, including a "housing chief" and a one-stop center for housing information.
  • Develop a 10-year funding plan to develop and preserve affordable housing that draws on multiple sources.
  • Build and maintain more affordable housing units for both rental and purchase — including homes for vulnerable residents.
  • Protect neighborhoods, including addressing the strain of rising property taxes.
  • Create a governance system to hold the City's housing operations accountable to the public.

Fully resrce and staff the

Neighborhood and HWhiousing Services Department

Some of the task force recommendations draw on successful policies implemented in Los Angeles, Denver and New York. The report also directs San Antonio to be more strategic in its use of state and federal housing funds. 
The recommendations come as the city struggles to keep pace with economic and population growth that's outpacing its housing supply — especially for low- and middle-income residents. Between 2005 and 2016, home ownership rates in the city slid from 61 percent to 54 percent. 

As a result,

the overall homeownership rate from 61 to 54 percent.

The recommendations are expected to go to city council next month, which would need to adopt their implementation and approve the necessary funds to move them forward.

"There's a recognition (by council) that we need to do something now before this becomes an even bigger problem for the city," Castro Ramirez said.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.