Jun 9, 2023 - Development

Affordable housing in San Antonio gets more funding

Illustration of a door knocker in the shape of a dollar sign

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Millions of dollars are heading out the door to boost affordable housing in San Antonio.

Driving the news: The City Council voted Thursday to distribute a second round of funding for rental housing and homeownership from San Antonio's $150 million affordable housing bond that voters passed last year.

Why it matters: In Bexar County, 95,000 households are burdened by housing costs, spending more than 30% of their income on housing, per the city's housing plan.

By the numbers: 14 projects will receive $32.1 million between the housing bond money and federal contributions.

  • Per city documents, the funding will produce or preserve 2,050 rental units in San Antonio and lead to 88 opportunities for homeownership.

What they're saying: District 5 Councilmember Teri Castillo, an affordable housing organizer before she was elected, said the housing bond shows city officials understand the "dire need" in San Antonio.

  • "We must not get complacent and go back to supporting market-rate development with public dollars. No cheat days when it comes to meeting our housing goals," Castillo said Thursday. "Both rounds also showed how much government support is needed to build deeply affordable housing."

The big picture: As San Antonio's population has grown, so have its housing costs. Median rents jumped 16.5% between 2008 and 2018 while wages stagnated, per the Texas Tribune.

Details: Six affordable rental housing developments will be built, five rental developments will be renovated, and three homeownership projects will be built.

  • Income eligibility varies across properties. In all, 423 units will go to people earning 30% of the area median income, which comes to $18,450 a year for one person and $30,000 for a family of four.
  • The project receiving the most from this round of the housing bond is the 305-unit Westwood Plaza on the Far West Side, at $5.25 million.

Zoom in: The 138-unit Cattleman Square Lofts will receive $1 million in federal funding, also approved Thursday, after receiving housing bond funds in the first round last year.

  • Developers had put the project — immediately west of downtown near VIA's Centro Plaza — on ice last year, when inflation drove up construction costs and led to a pause on some affordable housing developments.
  • The continued funding aims to get Cattleman Square Lofts over the hump and completed.

Zoom out: The new funding brings the total number of projects funded by the housing bond to 30, with 4,833 units built or preserved across the city.

  • Texas is one of six states facing a severe housing shortage for extremely low-income renters, per a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Context: The City Council approved $44 million in the first round of funding from the housing bond late last year, including $8.2 million to renovate the Alazán Courts public housing on the West Side, in Castillo's district.

  • The council has also approved funding for housing that serves people exiting homelessness with on-site support services. It directed $15 million to a new such development on the South Side and $12 million to Towne Twin Village on the East Side, where residents have already started to move in.
  • Voters approved the affordable housing bond — the first of its kind in San Antonio — in May 2022.
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