This week, tell San Antonio how to spend neighborhood dollars

City taxpayers allowed to explore options on how four federal grants are expended.

On Wednesday, and again on Aug. 2, taxpayers can weigh in on how the City of San Antonio will spend an anticipated $19 million in upcoming federal dollars from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) earmarked for housing and neighborhood upgrades.

Should the appropriations process in Congress yield less than $19 million in entitlement funds for San Antonio, the city is prepared to cut back certain programs.

There are four grants total — Community Development Block Grant ($12 million, CBDG); HOME Investment Partnerships Program ($4.8 million, HOME); HEARTH Emergency Solution Grant ($1 million, HESG); and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS ($1.2 million, HOPWA).

Some of the noteworthy programs are:

– $2.5 million from CDBG to help with upgrades around East Meadows, the mixed-income apartments that are under construction in the area formerly occupied by Wheatley Courts. The city pledged $19.4 million over a five-year period to pave the way for the construction of East Meadows. This grant is the final installment of that commitment, according city officials. The other major cash infusion to the area was a $30 million HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant.

– Up to $1.8 million from CDBG and HOME for home rehabilitation and reconstruction. Low- to moderate-income homeowners are eligible for these dollars, which are used for upgrades that include “weatherization, lead-based paint abatement and clearance activities.”

– $1.2 million from HOPWA for “rental assistance, transitional housing, transportation, case management, housing information assistance and food/nutrition programs for persons with HIV/AIDS.”

– $4.8 million from CDBG toward repayment of a $57 million HUD 108 Capital Improvement Loan, which “provides communities with a source of financing for economic development, housing rehabilitation, public facilities, and other physical development projects, including improvements to increase their resilience against natural disasters.”

For a complete rundown of the allocations, visit the City of San Antonio’s meetings calendar and click on the agenda for the Housing Committee from May 31.

More HUD funds

The City of San Antonio is also considering how to spend HUD funds from the current year’s program — about $9 million comes from program income, savings and cancellation of activities.

The public can weigh in on how these dollars should be spent during Thursday’s Council meeting at 9 a.m. at the City Hall Complex.

The projects identified by city staff include a homebuyer incentive program, which offers down payment and closing cost assistance for low to moderate income homebuyers. They also include the following:

– $812,500 in CDBG funds for the rehab of the Calcasieu Apartments, 214 Broadway. The downtown building is owned by the Alamo Community Group, a local nonprofit that builds and manages affordable housing in San Antonio.

– $1.2 million in HOME funds to help fund the construction of the Easterling Culebra Apartments — an $18 million, 90-unit apartment development at 9936 Culebra Road. Seventy four units will be restricted to households at 80 percent of the area medium income.

– $700,218 in CDBG funds for the reconstruction of Lamar Street from Austin Street, 15 blocks east to New Braunfels Avenue.

– $4.8 million in CDBG funds to repay the city’s $57 million HUD 108 Capital Improvement Loan.

This article was originally published by the H.E. Butt Foundation’s Folo Media initiative in 2017.

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