COPS/Metro Alliance Co-chair Maria Tijerina shares the organization's recommendations for the housing bond at a small press conference on the steps of City Hall. Credit: Camille Garcia / Rivard Report

City Council unanimously approved a measure Thursday that, among other things, initiates the formation of a new oversight committee tasked with monitoring the development and implementation of the City’s first housing bond.

If the $850 million 2017 Municpal Bond program is approved by voters in May 2017, about $20 million will be allocated to various areas around the city identified through the Urban Renewal Plan. Council added 13 new areas to the plan, which were identified by the Neighborhood Improvements Bond Committee last week, as possible locations for investment.

The new committee will advise City Council and its Housing Commission on which sites and projects should receive funding.

The bond can’t directly fund construction of affordable housing, rather the committee will find strategic investments and make improvements to properties that will help other entities build affordable housing.

On Wednesday, some Council members shared COPS/Metro Alliance’s concerns about accountability in the housing bond process.

“We want them to review the charter to do the right thing to help the people who need housing help in the city,” said Fr. Mike DeGerolami of St. Timothy Catholic Church during a press conference Wednesday.

Though identified as eligible, the 13 areas are not guaranteed to receive any money, explained Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni. City staff suggested including a larger number of areas in the plan to broaden its options to purchase land and avoid rising prices in the targeted areas.

The City will not force owners to their sell property via eminent domain, Zanoni added.

Size, membership, and scope of the oversight committee will be worked out by the Housing Committee in January, he said, and it’s likely that it will be comprised of neighborhood leaders in the 13 areas and members of the bond committee.

Following several public hearings about the Urban Renewal Plan, City Council will vote on proposed changes on Thursday, Feb. 2.

List of areas selected by the Neighborhood Improvements bond committee for inclusion in the 2017 housing bond. Credit: Courtesy / City of San Antonio

Rivard Report Staff

This article was assembled by various members of the Rivard Report staff.

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