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Mayor Nirenberg Launches Affordable 'Housing Policy Taskforce'

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg at the North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. Friday, August 18th 2017

A new policy for housing is emerging out of the San Antonio Mayor’s office. Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced the creation of a new task force today to ensure competitive housing affordability.

Mayor Nirenberg told a crowd at a North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, San Antonio’s housing paradigm must change. He says most sustainable and attractive urban housing that is affordable is only happening because it’s subsidized. “And to add insult to injury while we use more of our public resources to build those units, more and more San Antonians are finding it unaffordable to live in the neighborhoods where they grew up.”

Nirenberg says the city is short 142,000 new affordable housing units.

“At the current pace, it will take us more than 100 years to address this short fall.”

He’s is launching what he’s named the “Mayor’s Housing Policy Taskforce.” How will it work?

“This is developing a framework of policy that will deal with affordability issues and directly address gentrification and displacement as a priority.”

Lourdes Castro Ramirez is the chair of the Taskforce. She’s the former president of the San Antonio Housing Authority. She says one of the goals could be working home builders and developing strategies and incentives to create new housing.

“And so how we align that, how we connect the dots and how we accelerate that or create a production pipeline will be important,” she said.

Former San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor had a housing commission. Nirenberg says that previous attempt was vetting status quo and was not moving the city forward.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules