City expects bump in housing assistance requests as state halts new rent relief applications
The Texas Rent Relief program stopped taking new applications at 5 p.m. Friday, citing more requests than money available. However, the City of San Antonio says its Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP), which pays rent or mortgage, and utility bills for San Antonio residents affected by the pandemic, still has enough money to last through the end of the year.
You paid HOW much over asking? Tell us your wild housing market stories here
We’ve all heard about it by now: Houses are selling like crazy (and they have been for quite some time), interest rates have been at all-time lows, and it seems like everywhere you turn, you learn of another wild real estate story.
Nonprofits, city housing department stretch budgets to create affordable housing as costs for materials rise
Nonprofits and the city of San Antonio are forced to stretch their budget as the price of homes and building materials rise, presenting a challenge in creating affordable housing for low-income communities.
As federal eviction moratorium expires, tenants and rent advocates scramble to obtain state and local rental relief funds
In the first phase of funding from the federal government for emergency rental assistance, Texas received about $2 billion. Now the state has to get those funds in the hands of Texans.
Developers taking city incentives will have to take housing vouchers, too
Landlords don’t generally have to accept housing vouchers, and the people who receive them often spend months trying to find a place that will take them. But the San Antonio City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Thursday that bans property owners who receive city incentives from refusing to rent to someone who wants to use a housing voucher or other federal housing assistance to help pay their rent.
‘It was just a mess’: Texas Rental Relief Program has distributed about 3% of its billion-dollar allotment
“Unfortunately, those delays caused a lot of pain, headaches and heartaches in terms of people just trying to keep a roof over their heads for themselves and their families,” said state Rep. Philip Cortez.
Report: SA new-home sales growth far surpasses Dallas, Austin, Houston
As San Antonio's red hot housing market continues to soar, the city is far outgrowing the nation and its Texas counterparts in new-home sales. SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between the San Antonio Business Journal and KSATAs San Antonio’s red hot housing market continues to soar, the city is far outgrowing the nation and its Texas counterparts in new-home sales. Pending sales of new-construction homes in February grew 61.8% in San Antonio from February 2020 to 2021, according to a new report from Zonda. “It means that the market is way bigger than it was a year ago in housing activity,” said Jack Inselmann, San Antonio regional director for Zonda. Read more of this story at the San Antonio Business Journal.
Rent growth in San Antonio’s pricey neighborhoods slows due to pandemic, Zillow says
SAN ANTONIO – The typical rent in the San Antonio metro is $1,278, and that’s $20, or 1.6%, higher than a year ago. Rents in the highest-priced zip codes have risen 2% on average over the past year, but have risen 3% in the lowest-priced zip codes. Across the country, according to Zillow’s February market report, home values continued their march upward in February, matching record monthly growth from months prior, while home sales and appreciation soared over the course of the pandemic, rent growth slowed, seemingly a boost for rent affordability. According to the San Antonio Business Journal, in Bexar County, some local zip codes saw huge growth in prices over the last year. The lowest increase was in 78230 on the North Side, which saw its median rise 1.4% to $324,500.
City Council adds charter change for bond projects to May 1 ballot
San Antonio – The San Antonio City Council has sent a proposed charter change to voters, which could offer more flexibility in what kind of projects the city can fund with bond money. The city council voted 10-1 Thursday to add the proposal onto the May 1 ballot for voter approval. Ad“There may be still other state laws or federal laws that govern what we can do on specific projects,” City Attorney Andy Segovia said. Perry also criticized the way the proposed amendment was brought to the city council. Amendments added to the ballot by the city council are typically considered by a mayor-appointed charter review commissionAdWhile there was no commission this year, a 2018 Charter Review Commission had previously considered changing the charter language surrounding the use of bond dollars, at Nirenberg’s request.
Some City Council members worry about consequences of proposed charter amendment
SAN ANTONIO – A proposal to amend the city charter in the upcoming May election has some council members worried about unintended consequences. City staff presented a proposed charter amendment during Wednesday’s council meeting that would allow more flexibility in how the city uses bond dollars, including for affordable housing projects. Segovia told council members the proposed amendment would not affect their ability to have input on what bond projects eventually go to the voters. A 2018 Charter Review Commission previously considered changing the charter language surrounding the use of bond dollars, at Nirenberg’s request. AdBecause charter amendment elections may only be held every two years, the May 1 election is the first chance to revise the city charter since the Nov. 6, 2018 election.
San Antonio gets $46.7M from federal government for rental assistance
San Antonio – The City of San Antonio has received $46.7 million dollars from the federal government to bolster its efforts to keep struggling residents in their homes. It appears this could extend the life of the city’s popular Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) for several months. Excluding the federal money, the total amount allocated to the program, including some $10.1 million on Wednesday, amounts to about $86.8 million. At least 90% of the incoming federal dollars must be used for direct financial assistance, which includes rent, rental arrears, utilities, and home energy costs. If you have been affected by the pandemic and need help with your bills, you can get information on the Emergency Housing Assistance Program HERE.
San Antonio council member calling on city to address termination of Alazan Apache Courts redevelopment project
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio District 5 Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales is calling on the city to address the termination of the Alazan Apache Courts redevelopment project on the West Side. In a memo to City Manager Erik Walsh, Gonzales said San Antonio Housing Authority interim CEO Ed Hinojosa had reached an agreement to terminate the two-phase project. She said this made the tenants ineligible for leasing redeveloped units under Housing and Urban Development rules. “SAHA is committed to the redevelopment in a method that will not displace our residents and maintain our commitment to maintain and grow public housing to serve the most vulnerable residents of San Antonio. “There are also increasing possibilities under the new Biden administration for new federal funding to increase public housing.
Texas extends rental assistance program designed to avoid evictions until March 15
The Texas Supreme Court has extended its emergency eviction relief program for tenants behind on rent through at least March 15, lengthening the program’s expiration date by a month and a half. The move comes after Congress passed a stimulus bill Monday extending the federal moratorium on evictions through the end of January. The state created the Texas Eviction Diversion Program earlier this fall with the help of $171 million in CARES Act funding, the vast majority designated for rental assistance. But some housing advocates said the extension doesn’t go far enough to address the large number of struggling renters, even as the federal government extended its eviction moratorium. "There could be tens of thousands of evictions on the horizon in Texas later this winter,” said Michael Depland, spokesperson for the advocacy group, Texas Housers.
UTSA report: Affordable housing solution back then, still possible now
They were “the affordable housing solution of the 1920s and 30s,” said Roger Enriquez, Ph.D., executive director of UTSA’s Westside Community Partnerships Initiative. A spokesman for Shirley Gonzalez, who represents District 5 on City Council, said she was instrumental in the effort now underway, to document and preserve the shotgun houses. He said the goal is to preserve “what we already have.”Enriquez said several plans that are in the works including one that would help families rehab their shotgun houses. The initiative is underway even as the San Antonio Housing Authority is planning to demolish the 501 units that make up Alazan Courts, the city’s oldest public housing project, late next year. (Credit: SAHA) (SAHA)RELATED: Virtual San Antonio Housing Authority groundbreaking sparks West Side protest
Thinking about refinancing? Now is a great time to do it: All the reasons why
So, why is this such a good time to refinance, and why should people consider doing so? How long will rates stay this low? Fontanot said the low rates are here to stay for a while, possibly well into 2021. The Federal Reserve has plenty of incentive to keep rates low while the pandemic continues on. “There is a challenge they have, and raising interest rates can put a crunch on things.”What should people consider before refinancing?
The shift away from public housing to mixed-income housing, explained
SAN ANTONIO – Editor’s note: This content was created exclusively for KSAT Explains, a new, weekly streaming show that dives deep into the biggest issues facing San Antonio and South Texas. In 1938, the federal government authorized the first public housing development under the U.S. Housing Act. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has moved away from creating communities that have such high concentrations of public housing units. Mixed-income developments. Robles said that the San Antonio Housing Authority does not receive enough money from the federal government to sustain public housing and keep it maintained.
City sends $24.1 million toward emergency housing assistance
SAN ANTONIO – The city council sent another $24.1 million on Thursday to a widely used assistance program that has helped thousands of San Antonio residents pay their rent and other bills during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program has already received $52.5 million through two previous phases of funding - $50.9 million of which will end up going to San Antonio residents. However, with the assistance being doled out at a rate of $400,000 to $500,000 per day, the city expects to run out of those funds by early October. The emergency housing assistance program has been open to anyone earning less than 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI), and recipients can collect up to three months, or $5,000, worth of help. Those earning 51% to 80% of the AMI are only eligible for the rental or mortgage assistance.
City Council considers putting $21.9M more into emergency housing assistance
SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council is considering adding another $21.9 million to the city’s COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program, which helps struggling residents pay their rent, mortgage, and other bills, along with providing some cash. Of the $52.5 million the city had previously sent to the emergency assistance program, Gonzales said $50.9 million will actually go to helping residents. However, city staff are recommending that future recipients of the program only get one month of full assistance. City staff have also presented connected residents to the new Workforce Development Program, which provides stipends to participants to provide more assistance. The City Council is expected to vote on the issue on Thursday, along with a plan to move more money toward the city’s health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
CDC order offers protection for San Antonio renters, but not yet
SAN ANTONIO A new order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the potential to protect numerous San Antonio renters from eviction through the end of the year. Under the directive, landlords are prohibited from evicting any covered person from a rental property for non-payment of rent. Renters will still owe their late payments, and the order allows landlords to evict tenants for reasons not related to late payments. This order is going to take place if the defendant, tenants, take affirmative actions to stop the eviction from their particular case from taking place. The proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021, which begins Oct. 1, currently contains only $5.25 million for the same purpose.
Wave of evictions expected as moratoriums end in many states
The federal eviction moratorium that protects more than 12 million renters living in federally subsidized apartments or units with federally backed mortgages expired July 25. “I can’t believe this happened to me because I work hard,” said Blunt, whose eviction is at the mercy of the federal moratorium. Experts credit the slower pace to the federal eviction moratorium as well as states and municipalities that used tens of millions of dollars in federal stimulus funding for rental assistance. It also helped that several states, including Massachusetts and Arizona, have extended their eviction moratorium into the fall. “An eviction moratorium without rental assistance is still a recipe for disaster,” said Graham Bowman, staff attorney with the Ohio Poverty Law Center.
City of San Antonio’s COVID-19 housing assistance fund expected to run out in September
SAN ANTONIO – A city program meant to help struggling families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic pay their bills has paid out more than half of the money available, and city staff expect it to run out of funds sometime in September. City staff said 97% get help for more than one month. So there’s a lot more awareness from people facing eviction about our program,” Soto said. Most of the denials were because someone did not live within the city limits of San Antonio, Soto said. The budget year begins Oct. 1, and city staff are scheduled to present a proposed budget to city council members on Aug. 6.
A federal rule protecting thousands of renters from eviction expired Friday. Here’s what you need to know.
To do so, you can use this letter template created by Texas Housers, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid and BASTA Austin. You can find free, or pro bono, legal help at various legal aid groups and legal clinics across the state. Based in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid also has offices in San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and El Paso. DallasEvictions2020.com also offers a free legal aid hotline. Houston and Southeast Texas:Lone Star Legal Aid , based in Houston with offices around eastern Texas, offers free legal aid and information about evictions during COVID-19.
Cold Michigan winter? Global pandemic? Nothing could stop these students from building this incredible home
The campus works with neighboring high schools to offer enhanced classes and learning opportunities that students might not be able to get at their high school buildings. Students can typically spend half of their normal school day on the campus. We just kept going, said Miguel Roque, one of the students in the class and a recent graduate of Lake Orion High School. I havent really seen that before, said Devin Vorus, a recent graduate of Avondale High School. There was a lot of picture taking and a lot of posing going on, Swett said.
Making moves in a pandemic: Tips to make the transition into a new home safe, clean
The last weekend of June is typically the busiest moving weekend of the year, but dont take our word for it. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many people still might be moving this weekend, not to mention for the duration of the summer. Gryska offered these three tips for people in need of moving help as the pandemic continues. Dont pack away soap, wipes or other cleaning supplies, because they will come in handy for moving crews and customers. Customers having cleaning supplies within constant reach only helps with the effort to make it as safe and clean of a move as possible.
Eviction cases restart in Bexar County
San Antonio Months of reprieve meant to help struggling residents stay in their homes during a pandemic came to an end Monday as eviction proceedings began in Bexar County. Various emergency orders and protections have kept Bexar County eviction cases from proceeding through the court system since March when the COVID-19 pandemic began to take hold. According to the county, between the four precincts, 214 eviction cases were filed in the previous week. The citys COVID-19 Emergency Housing Assistance Program was allocated $25 million in late April. Bexar County has its own assistance program, and renters at properties outside the San Antonio city limits but within Bexar County can contact the Housing Authority of Bexar County at habctx.org/TRAM or by calling 210-940-1180.
St. Mary’s University School of Law launches hotline to help those experiencing housing issues amid pandemic
SAN ANTONIO – The St. Mary’s University School of Law has launched a hotline for South Texas residents who are experiencing housing issues due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. “It’s really uncharted territory for people and something where they do need legal assistance," Fajardo said. “People aren’t even aware that there’s rental assistance available in both the city of San Antonio and in Bexar County to help them get caught back up on their rent. “Maybe one-third to a half of San Antonio properties are still under the moratorium, where they cannot be removed or evicted from their property," she said. The university said legal representatives will be able to share resource information about payment assistance and forms renters can fill out to represent themselves during eviction proceedings.
Hard times hitting home? Here are ways to avoid foreclosure amid pandemic
As soon as you realize you might have trouble making your mortgage payments, you’ll want to get in touch with your lender. You do not want to wait until you can’t pay your bills to contact your lender. If foreclosure is something you fear you might face, the following are options you may have available to you. Mortgage forbearanceAccording to USA.gov, federally backed home loans can get six months of mortgage help, and Federal Housing Administration reverse mortgages are eligible, as well. There are many options available to you, but the bottom line is: Contact your lender, and do not wait until it’s too late.
Rent assistance programs in Texas’ largest cities are running dry, but advocates say statewide relief is unlikely
“We anticipate the need for assistance to pay May rent will be far greater than the funds available,” the website for Austin’s $1.2 million rental assistance program reads. The vast majority of Texas cities have no housing assistance programs in place, and for the few that do, the need is greater than the funds can support. San Antonio rolled out a sweeping $25 million program April 23, with applications for rent and mortgage assistance open through July. Notably, Texas’ most populous city, Houston, has not implemented a similar program despite advocates’ calls for a $100 million rental and utility assistance fund. Greg Abbott implementing statewide housing solutions.
7 dirtiest places in your home -- and how to clean them the right way
Cleaning solutions: Wash dishes in hot, soapy water and the run them through the dishwasher once a week. Hard toys should be washed in soapy water and then the dishwasher, if it’s safe to do so. Cleaning solutions: For doorknobs, handles on cabinets, sink handles and toilet flushers, spray with all-purpose cleaner and wipe with a clean cloth. Cleaning solutions: Scrub with hot, soapy water and then run them through a dishwasher if they are removable. Cleaning solutions: At the end of every day, rinse the sponge well to get out the traces of soap.
San Antonio Housing Authority to suspend non-criminal evictions
San Antonio – In a series of moves meant to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the San Antonio Housing Authority laid out several precautionary measures to limit in-person interactions and keep non-criminal tenants in their homes for public housing and Beacon mixed-income housing. In an announcement on the its website, the SAHA Executive Team listed several actions that will take effect on Monday, March 16. Suspension of Notices to Vacate and lease violationsSuspension of evictions for non criminal activitySuspension of transfers, move-ins, move-outsSuspension of routine work ordersSuspension of housekeeping inspectionsSuspension of food distributionsSuspension of late feesSuspension of all resident activities to include Resident Council and Youth ActivitiesClosure of all property management offices and community rooms; residents should email or callFor residents at elderly communities, Metro Health will allow food to be taken into their unitsEmergency work orders will require additional troubleshooting via phone callsExisting repayment agreements will be extendedRecertification deadlines will be extendedRent payments should be made either online or by mailVisitors for social purposes, especially at elderly properties, are discouraged; Medically-related visitors and caregivers may continue to visit residentsPest control services will be conducted on the exterior of buildings and common areasPest control services will temporarily be suspended in residents unitsAccording to their website, SAHA provides housing assistance to more than 65,000 children, adults and seniors through its Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher and Mixed-Income housing programs. The Agency also has 525 employees with an annual operating budget of $186 million.