The City of San Antonio made history in May when voters elected to approve its first full-scale affordable housing bond. It brought $150 million to the table, with five years to invest those funds, starting now. On December 16, the San Antonio City Council approved funding for a round of 14 projects, utilizing $43.9 million in bond and federal contributions to create or maintain 2,523 affordable housing units. A second round of projects is expected to be revealed in spring 2023.
“Affordable housing has been a top priority of our residents and over the past several years, the City of San Antonio has made record investments to make housing more affordable,” said city manager Erik Walsh, as quoted in a public release. “The Affordable Housing Bond is bringing new housing options online, while also preserving the availability of housing units for those who need it most.”
In total, the 14 projects include more than 2,500 units, with 2,461 rentals and 71 units for purchase. The bonds will produce more than 750 new units to rent or own, and 1,775 rental units will be rehabilitated.
Nearly a quarter of the units will be used as public or income-based housing. The remainder still focus on equity, as determined by a committee that considered factors like “deep” affordability (for renters earning less than half of the median area income, and homeowners earning less than 80 percent), universal design (for many ages and abilities), sustainability exceeding city code, and a number of measures of accessibility for residents.
Other considerations for more holistic equitable living included high-speed internet access, more diverse geographic distribution, and “meaningful, on-site resident services.” The reviews also considered what would happen to communities already in the area, and required developers working on new construction to fill out displacement assessments.
“Addressing housing affordability has been a key priority of mine, and over the past five years, it’s an issue that San Antonio residents have come together to rally behind,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This direct investment in affordable housing will considerably boost local housing supply, preserve our aging housing stock, protect our neighborhoods and will help ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”
The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) have requested proposals by January 23, 2023, for permanent supportive housing (PSH), which combines affordable housing with support services to address chronic homelessness or other barriers. Since the current 14 projects don’t use all the bond’s resources, this represents the remaining category.
A full breakdown of projects by income is available at sanantonio.gov.