The mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force presented to the San Antonio City Council on Wednesday its draft recommendations on placing and keeping more San Antonians in homes.
The five-member task force said the central issue is affordability, and the recommendations are designed to increase affordable housing in San Antonio.
“People are increasingly cost burdened in our community. Housing costs are rising as are property taxes and we're finding an increasing number of our neighbors being forced out of their homes,” San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
Among the recommendations to the council are dedicating 4 percent of the city’s revenue fund to fund the position of a housing czar to focus on the city’s housing needs, establishing a center where homeowners, home sellers and buyers can go for help, and providing incentives for builders of affordable homes.
Task force member Gene Dawson Jr. of Pape Dawson Engineers told the council 40,000 homes across the city are vacant and could be rehabbed and put back on the on market.
The task force also called for better protection of mixed-income neighborhoods. No new homes under $150,000 dollars were built by a commercial builder inside the city limits in 2017, the report stated.
Property taxes inside the city increased 36 percent during the past five years. The task force report said the median income in the city is $49,000, and a large portion of the city’s homeowners are struggling with housing costs.
“In San Antonio, we have 165,000 households that are cost burdened; in other words, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income towards their housing,” Dawson said.
The task force’s final recommendations will be presented the council in August.
Along with Dawson, other task force members are Lourdes Castro Ramirez, president of University Health System Foundation, architect Jim Bailey of Alamo Architects, Noah Garcia, senior vice president of Vantage Bank, and Maria Antonietta Berriozabal, former city council member.
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