|HUD Region VI: 11-15
Jamie Kaun, SAHA, (210) 477-6792
Patricia Campbell, HUD, (817) 978-5974
March 18, 2011
HUD AWARDS SAN ANTONIO HOUSING AUTHORITY GRANT TO REVITALIZE EASTSIDE OF SAN ANTONIO
City is one of 17 nationwide receiving new HUD Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants
FORT WORTH - The U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today announced that the San Antonio Housing Authority is among 17 communities nationwide that have been awarded planning grants through the Department's
new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. A consortium of San Antonio organizations, led by the San Antonio Housing Authority, will use its two-year $250,000 grant to help transform the Wheatley Courts area into a new viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhood.
HUD's new Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CN) will promote a comprehensive approach to transforming distressed areas of concentrated poverty into viable and sustainable mixed-income neighborhoods. Choice Neighborhoods links housing improvements with a wider variety of public services including schools, public transit and employment opportunities.
"President Obama has said that there is no greater economic policy than one that invests in our children's future, but that's not possible if we leave a whole generation of children behind in our poorest neighborhoods. Choice Neighborhoods is designed to transform not just housing in distressed areas, but the entire community," said HUD San Antonio Public Housing Director David Pohler, at a press conference held today at the Wheatley Courts Apartments with City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, SAHA leadership, local partners and residents.
"We are excited that this grant will allow us to significantly upgrade eastside housing at the same time that the city and school district are collaborating to enhance the schools and neighborhoods. We applaud HUD for embracing our new approach which explicitly connects school reform, housing renovation and neighborhood revitalization," said
Mayor Julian Castro.
"We know that we all must work together to make sustainable improvements in housing, schools, transportation, healthcare and more. This grant allows us to collaborate with residents and other organizations to develop and implement a responsive neighborhood transformation," said SAHA President and CEO Lourdes Castro Ramírez.
The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is a centerpiece of the Obama Administration's interagency Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative - a collaboration between the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Education, Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services- to support the ability of local leaders from the public and private sectors and attract the private investment needed to transform distressed neighborhoods into sustainable, mixed-income neighborhoods with the affordable housing, safe streets and good schools every family needs.
In San Antonio, the HUD Choice Neighborhoods grant will be integrated with the efforts presently underway from a one-year Dept. of Education $312,000 Promise Neighborhoods planning grant, which was awarded in September 2010 to the United Way of San Antonio and its partners, the City of San Antonio, SAHA, San Antonio Independent School District, Family Services Association, Trinity University, Urban Land Institute - San Antonio, the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the Alamo Chamber, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Neighborhood Housing Services.
Statistically, nearly half (46%) of the 4,525 area residents live in poverty. The neighborhood vacancy rate (9.69%) is more than three times the County rate and the highly transient nature of the population results in the area being a point of transition, rather than a place where families stay long-term. Wheatley Middle School and Washington Elementary Schools are rated as low-performing, and Sam Houston High School has a dropout rate of 54.1%.
HUD received 119 submissions for CN Planning Grants; 17 grants were awarded nationally. After completing its plan, the city will be eligible to compete in future years for HUD Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants, which, if successful, could bring additional millions of dollars to the city to assist in the area's transformation.
Congress approved the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative with the passage of HUD's FY 2010 budget, allowing HUD to use $65 million in funding to provide competitive grants to assist in the transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately owned HUD-assisted housing.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet and espanol.hud.gov.