Acquire land, also known as land banking, for future below-market housing projects.
Increase subsidies, such as development fee waivers, for below-market developments.
Stop supporting market-rate developments that displace residents.
These are some of the strategies included in the city’s long-anticipated Strategic Housing Implementation Plan, or SHIP, which is scheduled to be released to the public Monday morning, followed by the first public meeting at 6 p.m. the same night at the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St.
Your chance to give input on the SHIP document.
» Meeting 1: 6-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1, UTSA Westside Community Center, 1310 Guadalupe St.
» Meeting 2: 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, St. Philip’s College, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr.
» Meeting 3: 6-7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, Igo Library, 13330 Kyle Seale Pkwy
The 70-or-so-page document is San Antonio’s response to what’s been described as a national housing crisis—that is to say, the rising cost of buying or renting a home in America. In San Antonio, the plan is five years in the making. In 2016, Mayor Ron Nirenberg convened a four-member task force to study this city’s housing woes, and to ultimately draft solutions. A framework document was produced two years later. And now on Monday, a more-detailed strategy will be released. The City Council is scheduled to vote on the plan in early December after a public input process.
This stuff can get complicated quickly. Here are some key figures to help us get started.
This is the number of cost-burdened households in San Antonio, which the city defines as those that spend more than 30 percent of their monthly income on housing. The figure is based on an assessment conducted by Economic & Planning Systems (EPS), a national consultant.
Households that make less than 30 percent of the area median income, or AMI, comprise the largest segment of the 95,000 total. In the San Antonio-New Braunfels region, 30 percent AMI is defined as $22,230 for a family of four.
[ Scroll down for a chart showing AMI levels. ]
Most vulnerable households by area median income, or AMI
[ Editor’s note: The SHIP document uses the AMI for the San Antonio-New Braunfels region, which is $74,100 for a family of four, and produced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) each year. Housing advocates have criticized the city’s use of HUD’s AMI because it doesn’t reflect this city’s true median income, which the U.S. Census Bureau calculated as being $53,751 in 2019. City officials use HUD’s AMI, they say, because the federal government’s various housing programs, including those by HUD, the Internal Revenue Service, and others, use it as well. In San Antonio, affordable housing was recently redefined as housing for those making up to 60 percent AMI, a threshold most housing advocates agree with. As a result, any apartments produced that serve households making more than 60 percent AMI the city will track, but not count toward its goals. For more about AMI, read “San Antonio-New Braunfels median income rises to $74,100. Here’s why it matters.” ]
This is how much it will cost to address the 95,000 households in San Antonio over the next 10 years.
Of that total, $1 billion will come from funding sources available to the city and other local entities that address housing, including money from the upcoming $150 million housing bond, housing-related funding HUD gives to the city, tax breaks the city has at its disposal, funding the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) receives, and other sources.
The remaining $2.3 billion, the city says, will come from outside programs such as the IRS’ low-income housing tax credit program, loans from private banks, and private activity bonds.
Often, projects are funded primarily on their own—or, from these outside sources—and the city provides a final layer of funding in order to make the below-market housing development work financially, the city says.
“Those projects are almost completed before they come to us for final layer funding,” said Ian Benavidez, assistant director of the city’s Neighborhood and Housing Service Department. “That’s really the leveraged funds, and that makes up the majority of funding that goes into the project.”
5 & 10-year funding plan
At the Housing Commission meeting on Wednesday, SAHA President and CEO Ed Hinojosa Jr. said the federal funding the agency receives is strictly for preserving its current housing stock, which he described as being severely underfunded.
“These funds will never be available for new construction,” Hinojosa Jr. said during the meeting.
[ Download: SHIP presentation to the City Council’s Planning and Community Development Committee meeting on Oct. 28, 2021 ]
Production + preservation
The is the number of homes or apartments that will need to be produced or preserved over the next 10 years.
During the drafting of the SHIP document, the city adjusted its housing goals from those set under the housing framework. Here are the current goals:
The plan isn’t just relegated to the production of housing for lower-income families. It contains a four-pronged strategy that also includes increasing the number of housing vouchers, or similar-type assistance, which is what this number represents.
The strategy also includes the increasing of wages—to bring incomes up to meet the rising cost of housing—mostly through the city’s SA: Ready to Work Program.
These are the number of below-market housing units that will either be built by developers or that will become affordable naturally as newer, pricier housing stock gets created, the city says.
The city has created a list of strategies to address the 95,000 cost-burdened household number.
When SHIP document is released on Monday, we will, of course read it, get reaction to it, and will continue to report on this topic.
Heron Editor Ben Olivo can be reached at 210-421-3932 | email@example.com | @rbolivo on Twitter