A vow to disrupt SA’s affordable housing system

One in 15 San Anton residents is on a waiting list for affordable housing. Those numbers should be surprising, but it’s become reality for San Antonio.

The median income of families living in federally subsidized housing is less than $10,000 per year. Double-digit increases in rents and the price of single-family homes are contributing to the crisis facing our families.

The City of San Antonio’s Strategic Housing Implementation Plan estimates that 95,000 low-income households are in need of affordable housing. The plan calls for the preservation and construction of 28,000 affordable housing units over the next 10 years.

For 85 years, the San Antonio Housing Authority, or SAHA, has provided generations of families, seniors, and people with disabilities with affordable temporary housing opportunities.

Today, the housing crisis has worsened considerably as San Antonio remains the poorest major city in America and also one of the most economically segregated. But things don’t have to stay that way. It’s time to disrupt the affordable housing system.

Ed Hinojosa, Jr.

There is reason to be optimistic. Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s leadership on housing policy, as well as the recent public endorsement of the housing bond, is promising. The San Antonio Housing Authority is moving in a new direction, committed to developing affordable, income-based housing.

We explored our organizational purpose. We have changed our values ​​and we articulate them publicly. We are moving from a bureaucratic “authority” to an organization centered on community, mission and people. Leading change means challenging the status quo and the existing affordable housing system with direct and equitable policies, programs and innovative solutions.

We have 1,700 fewer income-based housing units in the city than just over two decades ago, yet the need has grown. The housing authority has pledged to replace these 1,700 income-tested rental units and more. Expanding the low-income housing tax credit alone will not solve our affordable housing shortage. So we’re exploring new and innovative ways to create affordable, income-tested housing.

We are reviewing our organizational policies and procedures and will modify them to ensure that we have fair practices across the organization – from decision-making to resident service delivery, from removing biases implicit in our business practices to further certification of trauma-informed care.

Our families are optimistic about the opportunities ahead, and our organization is just a stepping stone on their journey. We will break down barriers and look for opportunities to create more opportunities. We need to become a city with more affordable housing options.

For these reasons, our organization is now known as Opportunity Home San Antonio. Through our organization, generations of San Antonians have found opportunity. Opportunity Home will only expand these opportunities for residents today and for generations to come. The disruption of the affordable housing system has only just begun.

Ed Hinojosa Jr., is president and CEO of Opportunity Home San Antonio, formerly known as the San Antonio Housing Authority.

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