Council, community push for accountability on housing bond – San Antonio Express-News

City Council members pushed Wednesday for more details about San Antonio’s first housing bond and for the creation of an oversight committee to monitor the program, should voters approve it in the spring. The actions reflected the potentially confusing nature of the bond package even as officials acknowledged the pressing need for more affordable housing in the city. On Wednesday, right before the council discussion, COPS/Metro Alliance held a news conference on the steps of City Hall, to air the group’s concerns about the housing bond. The charter also says San Antonio can’t spend bond dollars on housing — that’s why the city is doing a workaround, using its urban renewal agency, the Office of Urban Redevelopment San Antonio, or OUR SA, to buy properties. The group wants the city to do a better job defining affordability and to detail how much of the housing will be affordable and what will be market rate. […] the group suggested accountability guidelines for incentives to developers, rents that are appropriate for the surrounding neighborhood and also a plan to rehab homes using other funding options. The city won’t be building homes but will pay to make properties development-ready, by adding infrastructure and extending utilities, cleaning up any potential environmental issues or even clearing the land. At the end of Wednesday’s discussion, Taylor said she would like the council’s housing committee to discuss the creation of an oversight committee for the housing bond and to nail down more about criteria, to determine which of the 13 areas should be targeted for affordable housing — discussions she wants to happen before the bond goes to voters May 6. The mayor, who has made housing a cornerstone of her tenure in office, also said the city needs to look for other funding partnerships to address the community’s affordable housing needs.

Source: Council, community push for accountability on housing bond – San Antonio Express-News

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