City stepping up efforts to help low-income families rehabilitate, rebuild homes

Officials proposing $2 million in next year's budget

SAN ANTONIO – The city of San Antonio is stepping up its efforts to help low-income families stay in their homes longer by rehabilitating and in some cases rebuilding homes.

The Owner Occupied Rehabilitation & Reconstruction Program is getting a boost in funding next year, said Veronica Soto, director of neighborhood and housing services for the city of San Antonio.

“We're excited to focus more attention on preservation of housing and helping our families,” she said.

The city expects to see $4.5 million in federal funds. It is also proposing $2 million in next year’s budget, bringing the available funds to $6.5 million.

The city expects to help about 80 families. The funds available the two previous years were $1.5 million total and helped about 18 families each year.

“It helps us because it means we may not have a vacant house that becomes a blight in the neighborhood,” Soto said. “A renovated house inspires the neighbors to also fix their homes, as well.”

Amada Dimas, 74, thought her home of 50 years was going to be condemned by the city since it was in such poor shape. But through the program, the city was able to help build her a new one from the ground up, worth about $94,000.

“It’s a dream come true at my age in this house,” Dimas said.

There are eligibility requirements for the program, and the owner must stay in the home for a required time.

More than 270 applications were accepted last year, and about 150 of those qualified. With the lottery process, only a few were helped.

The city is currently taking applications until Sept. 14. A second round of applications will be accepted in October once the budget is finalized.

To read more about the program, click here.

About the Author:

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.