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New city program to help churches, nonprofits seeking to develop affordable housing

City investing $300K for a pilot program that will assist churches, nonprofits.

SAN ANTONIO – A city pilot program was created to help nonprofits and churches in that area that want to develop affordable housing on their properties.

The San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services director said the city will assist in many ways, and its at no cost to those who participate.

“We help them maybe get an architect, maybe get a designer to help them envision what they could do. If they do have a site and have an idea for a project, maybe they're at the financial stage, and we help them with, ‘Here's the financing tools that you need.’ Maybe we help them with the legal documents that they need to create a partnership. We could get them a consultant if they're thinking, ‘Maybe we need the land use and the zoning,’” said Veronica Soto, director of Neighborhood and Housing Services.

Last month, the city held the Mission Driven Development Summit to explain to people in the community about the new program. More than 100 people attended.

“Over the next 10 years, the housing policy framework has shown us that we need over 18,000 units, affordable housing units produced in our city. And we know that not all of it can be new housing at the periphery. We know some of it has to be infill and in our existing neighborhoods. And that is the kind of housing that these organizations, for the most part, will be able to help us with,” Soto said.

The city set aside $300,000 in this year’s budget to launch the program.

“Part of it is going to the consultant who helped us convene the summit. They did all the outreach. They helped put the agenda together. And they're continuing to gather a survey of interested folks. We’re up to 40 folks who have expressed interest in talking to us about receiving assistance. The rest of the money is going to go to the particular technical assistance that we might need,” Soto said.

Sandra Jolla, with The “Exciting” West End Baptist Church, is interested in the program. She said they have a piece of land that could be transformed into affordable housing.

“We have about an acre of land here. And these days you go up instead of out. So we’re thinking we can go up with a two-,three-story unit,” Jolla said.

Jolla said she welcomes any assistance to help people in need.

“To just have a place that we know that we can accommodate that need -- that’s where we need the developers and the creativity and others to help us to best maximize on how we can use this land to service that need,” Jolla said.

Soto said they have about 40 people who have expressed interest in the program. She said they will only choose a few for this pilot program. The city said it will help any church or nonprofit that wants to build affordable housing, even if it isn’t through the program.

For more information on the pilot program visit the City’s Neighborhood & Housing Services Department website or call 210-207-6459.


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