Neighborhood & Housing Services Department

Director

BIOGRAPHY

Career

Verónica (Vero) R. Soto joined the City of San Antonio, Texas in July 2017 as Director of the newly created Neighborhood and Housing Services Department.  Ms. Soto is responsible for overseeing initiatives related to neighborhood engagement and implementation of the City’s Neighborhood Improvement Bond program approved in May 2017; both of these are new initiatives for the City of San Antonio.  The $20 Million Neighborhood Improvement Bond is the first ever such citizen-approved initiative and it authorizes the City of San Antonio to use bond proceeds to develop workforce housing in partnership with private sector developers.  As Director, Ms. Soto also oversees housing policy development and implementation and administration of the City’s housing policies and programs, oversight of HUD entitlement grants including CDBG and HOME grants and administration the City’s Tax Increment Finance program.

Ms. Soto has over 20 years of experience in planning, housing and neighborhood development. She previously served as the Director of the Community and Human Development Department for the City of El Paso leading housing and neighborhood revitalization efforts and management of that city’s federal grant dollars for the CDBG, HOME, ESG, HOPWA, Corporation for National and Community Service and Neighborhood Stabilization Programs.  In this role, she ensured successful close outs and implementation of process improvements for audits of federal entitlement grants after inheriting significant audit findings.  She spent four years as the Executive Director of El Paso’s Downtown Management District where the tax base grew by 14% under her leadership and received multiple awards from the International Downtown Association for her efforts to revitalize downtown El Paso. This position built upon her work in the Economic Development Department where she created and successfully administered several downtown incentive programs for the City of El Paso.  Earlier in her career she served as the Director for Community Development for Sunland Park, New Mexico overseeing planning and zoning, building permitting, grants and grant compliance, economic development, and the public works; her grant request proposals were awarded over $7 million dollars in public infrastructure funds for utility capital projects, and regional streets, and neighborhood sidewalk infrastructure and she also served as the Chief Urban Planner for the City of El Paso where her most lasting legacy was the creation of the neighborhood planning program.

Education

  • B.A., Government, Harvard University
  • MPA-URP, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Community Involvement

Ms. Soto volunteers her time serving on various American Planning Association roles fostering the profession of planning and in interviewing high school students for both Harvard College and Princeton University.  In 2016, Ms. Soto was a founding member of El Paso Giving Day designed to grow philanthropic giving and strengthen non-profit capacity.  Ms. Soto is a former Chapter President for the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association and served over 10 years on the TX APA Board of Directors.

Professional Memberships

  • American Planning Association
  • American Institute of Certified Planners
  • American Planning Association AICP Appeals Committee
  • Harvard Alumni Association
  • Princeton Alumni Schools Committee
  • Princeton University-Woodrow Wilson School Alumni Class Agent
  • Oak Park-Northwood Neighborhood Association

Personal

Ms. Soto is married to Alonzo and they have two young children, Vicente and Adora. Ms. Soto is bilingual and bi-cultural and is fluent in Spanish.

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Neighborhood Engagement


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Operation Facelift


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Tax Increment Financing (TIF)


Public financing mechanism. More