The National Trust for Historic Preservation put the Alazán-Apache Courts, a public housing project located on the West Side and the oldest in the nation, on its annual list of “America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.”
Nathaniel, 6, climbs a tree in front of Alazán-Apache Courts. Opportunity Home, formerly the San Antonio Housing Authority, will spend $8.2 million in housing bond money on the first phase of construction and rehabilitation of the complex. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

San Antonio City Council unanimously approved the city’s first batch of affordable housing bond funding on Thursday.

The $44 million, which includes some money from federal housing programs, will fund 14 projects across the city that will build or rehabilitate an estimated 2,532 housing units over the next five years.

“This is a transformational vote, y’all,” said Councilwoman Teri Castillo (D5). “For generations, San Antonio has grappled with maintaining a steady supply of quality, affordable housing. … Housing isn’t a commodity, housing is a human right. Housing is public safety. Housing is public health.”

Voters approved the $150 million housing bond — the first that can directly fund projects — in May. The next round of funding, which the city’s housing officer has said he hopes will include more creative approaches to affordable housing, could open with a request for proposals as early as April.

Five projects would build new rental units, six would rehab existing rentals and three would build new affordable homes. The recipients include familiar names in affordable housing, such as the local housing authority, Prospera, Alamo Community Group, Habitat for Humanity and NRP Group.

Opportunity Home San Antonio, formerly the San Antonio Housing Authority, will receive $17.5 million in bond funding, the most of any single entity.

It will use some of that money to build 88 public housing units, part of Opportunity Home’s first phase of construction and renovation at the historic Alazán Courts housing complex. The housing authority will spend $8.2 million in bond funding for the $24 million project.

“We have thousands of San Antonians on our waitlists who are in dire need of affordable housing and so these funds will help us move full steam ahead to create as many new housing opportunities as possible,” Opportunity Home President and CEO Ed Hinojosa, Jr. said in a press release.

A third of the units funded through this round are what the city’s housing department calls “deeply affordable,” meaning rental units that someone who earns 50% or less than the area median income (AMI) can afford and housing units for someone earning 80% AMI could afford to buy.

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org