SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council on Thursday voted 8-1 to accept the Mayor's Housing Policy Task Force and approved key recommendations to ensure an adequate supply of affordable housing.
Saying the vote marked an important milestone in San Antonio's history, Mayor Ron Nirenberg praised the yearlong effort by the task force.
"I'm very proud of the task force's report, and I will do everything in my power to make real progress on affordable housing," Nirenberg said. "All San Antonians, regardless of income level, deserve opportunities to find affordable housing within the city limits."
The task force studied housing trends, examined data and heard from more than 500 San Antonians over the past year. The panel's report confirmed the city has an affordable housing problem and suggested recommendations for solving it.
"San Antonio is the most affordable, vibrant big city in America to raise a family and pursue your future, but that economic edge depends on everyone having a place to call home," Nirenberg said.
Over the past decade, housing prices in San Antonio rose by about 5 percent while incomes have only increased by about 2 percent per year.
Task force recommendations include:
- Creating a coordinated housing system led by a city executive.
- Incentives to spur development of affordable housing units.
- Measures to protect neighborhoods from displacement.
The lone councilman who voted against the report and recommendations was District 6 Councilman Greg Brockhouse.
"I am not in support of the full report presented by the Mayor's Housing Policy Task Force, although there are items we can agree on that require city intervention to solve housing affordability issues," he said. "I am concerned about spending nearly $450 million from our general fund over the next 10 years to fund projects that are not within the core responsibilities of local government.
"This proposal has the potential to cost taxpayers nearly $1 billion to implement. We do not need to hire 13 new employees and create a new executive position to change our housing focus. Expanding city government is not the answer to affordable housing. We can partner with the development and business community to lower fees and reduce regulations to make homes more affordable. We should also be focusing on higher-paying jobs to help more people afford housing costs. However, I do look forward to finding answers for senior housing and preventing displacement of residents due to increased growth and development in our community. This is just the beginning of what will be a robust discussion on the role of City Hall in the housing industry."
The task force is comprised of Chairwoman Lourdes Castro-Ramirez and members Jim Bailey, Maria Berriozabal, Gene Dawson Jr. and Noah Garcia.