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KSAT Explains: The battle over the Alazan Apache Courts

Episode 12 looks at future of Alazan Apache Courts and public housing on West Side

SAN ANTONIO – In the heart of San Antonio’s West Side, there is a community of 500 families living in one of the nation’s first and now oldest public housing developments. The roots of the Alazan Apache Courts run deep.

Generations of San Antonio families have been raised at the courts, but now it’s uncertain if the housing complex will see another generation or even another few years.

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In this week’s episode of KSAT Explains, we examine the current battle over the Alazan Apache Courts, their impact and the future. (Watch full episode in video player above.)

SHIFT TOWARD MIXED-INCOME HOUSING

It’s no secret the courts need improvement. They were built out of cinder blocks and do not have central air, and providing internet access is a much larger challenge than it should be in 2020.

The future of The Courts is in limbo thanks to plans for redevelopment. A couple of mixed-income developments are planned for the area.

We broke down the reason we’ve seen a shift away from public housing toward mixed-income over the past several years.

NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

In 2018, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg’s housing policy task force released a report revealing the dire need of affordable housing in our city. The problem is that housing costs outpace incomes.

The housing policy framework found that between 2005 and 2016, the median sales price of a home increased by an average of 4.7 percent per year from $120,000 to $180,000.

(KSAT Explains Graphic Public Housing)
(KSAT Explains Graphic Public Housing)

The city’s area median income, or AMI, increased by an average of just 1.9 percent per year from $40,100 to $49,300.

In 2005, 54 percent of all the city’s households could not afford the median-priced home. That number increased to 59 percent by 2016.

(KSAT Explains Graphic Public Housing)
(KSAT Explains Graphic Public Housing)

In 2018, the city council adopted the housing policy framework to create more affordable housing.

The budget for 2019 included more than $17 million to implement those recommendations which included creating a coordinated housing system, rehabbing older homes and incentives for developers to build mixed-income developments. You can see the full report below.

WHY PLANS FOR ALAZAN ARE CONTROVERSIAL

On the surface, plans to redevelop the courts make sense. The buildings are outdated and in desperate need of upgrades.

The San Antonio Housing Authority says there are many residents who would like to live elsewhere. But fears of gentrification and displacement are also real.

The desire for preservation extends beyond the courts and advocates are worried about maintaining the culture of San Antonio’s West Side.

KSAT’s Jessie Degollado explains why redevelopment plans are controversial.

HOW ALAZAN COURTS SHAPED WEST SIDE

The history of the courts is a major reason why a lot of people do not want to see the buildings demolished.

Here is a look at the courts beginnings and how the public housing development has changed the lives of thousands of West Side families.

QUICK GUIDE TO WHAT ELSE YOU WILL SEE IN THIS EPISODE OF KSAT EXPLAINS:

  • Plans for Alazan Apache Courts
  • Does mixed-income housing work
  • Cultural impact of courts on West Side

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