CONTACT: Edith Merla, (210) 207-5462
SPANISH MEDIA: Carlos Valenzuela, (210) 207-3919
SAN ANTONIO (October 17, 2020) – The Neighborhood and Housing Services Department (NHSD) has extended its Renters’ Commission survey to October 31 to gather more input from San Antonians. The survey is available in English and Spanish at www.saspeakup.com.
NHSD is charged with implementing the Housing Policy Framework (HPF) that serves as a guide to addressing San Antonio’s local housing needs. The HPF shows that for those households renting or owning, approximately one out of every two renter households is cost-burdened (48%) compared to one out of every five owner households (21%). In June 2019, Councilmember Treviño, District 1, issued a Council Consideration Request for the creation of a Renters’ Commission.
A proposed goal of this commission is to increase renter representation on City Boards & Commissions and elevate renter’s issues in citywide discussions. Staff is currently analyzing local and national strategies to achieve the goal of increased renter representation and planning an engagement effort to involve people impacted by renters’ issues into the process.
“Renters represent many diverse families, including ones who fall within the digital divide,” stated Councilman Treviño. “This two-week extension will give more residents the opportunity to make their voices heard.”
Renters occupy 46 percent of the housing units in San Antonio. Median rent in San Antonio increased by 18 percent since 2010, while incomes have not kept pace. The median household income for renters is $33,690, and nearly half of renters are housing cost-burdened, meaning that their ability to pay rent can be easily jeopardized.
Renter protection issues have risen to the forefront in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Evictions filings have more than tripled in Bexar County since 2010, and Texas has no protections for renters based on sexual identity or use of vouchers; meaning that people can be evicted or denied based on those statuses.
Seven out of 10 African-Americans in San Antonio rent, while 56 percent of renters are Hispanic or Latino/a/x. Recent data from the Emergency Housing Assistance Program (EHAP) showed about nine out of 10 recipients of the Emergency Housing Assistance Program were renters. The average EHAP recipient made less than 30 percent of the area median income (AMI), while the majority of approved applicants were single females.
The City is also hosting focus groups to receive additional input on the proposed Renters’ Commission. The survey can be completed online here.