Homes for Vets, SAPA Bailed Out, Shaky Platform


Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julían Castro, with Mayor Ivy Taylor, announces the end of veteran homelessness at City Hall.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julían Castro, with Mayor Ivy Taylor, announces the end of veteran homelessness at City Hall.

Homes for Vets

San Antonio's push to end veteran homelessness hit a major milestone on Friday, March 13, when Mayor Ivy Taylor announced that the city had effectively done so.

With Taylor's predecessor on hand, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro, she said that 1,300 homeless veterans had been moved into permanent housing, including 123 who were chronically homeless. But Taylor also stressed that hitting this mark represented "a milestone rather than the completion of an initiative."

The benchmark doesn't mean that there are no homeless veterans in the city. Instead, it indicates that San Antonio has adequate systems and infrastructure in place to rapidly house any veteran who wants off the street.

The City had set a deadline of ending veteran homelessness by March 31. Officials submitted the paperwork to HUD by that date, and had since been going through a "negotiation" with the agency, explaining the city's system of care.

San Antonio now joins cities such as Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix and Philadelphia, which have also effectively ended veteran homelessness.

SAPA Bailed Out

San Antonio Pets Alive, the no-kill shelter that houses thousands of animals each year, is in dire financial straits. Failed fundraising efforts led the group to ask the City of San Antonio for $500,000 to keep its doors open while the organization recalibrates its operations.

Last week, San Antonio City Council opted to give the group a portion of that amount, with some strings attached. During its mid-year budget review, City Council voted in favor of a $375,000 bailout for SAPA.

The cash comes with conditions: SAPA must give the City a seat on its board (likely the new Animal Care Services director, once one is hired), hire a CEO within 60 days (its last one left the group after just five months), raise $150,000 (it's already picked up $125,000 from the Hurd Foundation) and submit a request for proposals to operate its Brackenridge kennel facility.

City Council figured it had little choice but to help SAPA out. ACS announced in January that it had reached no-kill status, meaning over 90 percent of the animals that enter its care leave alive. As a major ACS partner, SAPA played a huge role in reaching and maintaining that benchmark. To allow the group to close its doors would likely mean a lower live release rate, and a departure from no-kill.

Shaky Platform

Lone Star State conservatives at the 2016 Texas Republican Convention did not decide to secede from the union (a proposal that had a not-microscopic amount of traction). But they did adopt an official platform with the structural integrity of Lincoln Logs. Maybe that's too generous — our 16th president wouldn't want anything to do with this tire fire of a document.

Among other things, the platform supports abolishing half of the president's cabinet, plus the Internal Revenue Service. It states that "climate change" (yes, the document uses quotation marks for the term) is "a political agenda promoted to control every aspect of our lives," and calls for getting rid of the Environmental Protection Agency. It favors complete deregulation of firearms and ammunition.

Perhaps most disturbing is what's said about the LGBT community. The platform calls homosexuality "a chosen behavior that is contrary to the fundamental unchanging truths that has been ordained by God in the Bible, recognized by our nation's founders, and shared by the majority of Texans," and that homosexuality "must not be presented as an acceptable alternative lifestyle." The platform also supports conversion therapy, a practice that has been banned in some states for minors because of its potentially destructive consequences.

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