Philanthropist Kym Rapier Donates $1 Million to Roof Rehabilitation Program

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Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) accepts a $1 million donation to the Under 1 Roof Program made by philanthropist Kym Rapier.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) accepts a $1 million donation to the Under 1 Roof Program made by San Antonio philanthropist Kym Rapier.

A representative for San Antonio philanthropist Kym Rapier handed over a $1 million check to Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) on Friday. The money will be used to repair or replace an estimated 80 roofs for some of the city’s most vulnerable residents, Treviño said.

The Under 1 Roof program, which the councilman started in 2015 as a $200,000 pilot program in his district, has expanded to a citywide initiative. Combined with funding from the City’s fiscal year 2019 budget and the San Antonio Housing Trust, Rapier’s donation brings the program’s total funding to $5.25 million. Her gift is the first private contribution to the program.

“My passion is helping people, and to hear that there are senior citizens losing their homes for repairable issues, such as a leaky roof, broke my heart. I could never allow some of the most vulnerable members in our communities, to spend what should be their golden years, potentially homeless and alone,” Rapier stated in an email. “Our senior citizens have built the rich history in our communities, that we enjoy today, and they should be some of our most treasured members.”

Homeowners eligible for the program include those who earn 80 percent of the area median income or less, seniors 65 years old and older, people with disabilities, and veterans. The home must be designated as a homestead with the Bexar Appraisal District, within city limits, and no larger than 1,500 square feet.  The City also can work with applicants who have slightly larger homes, Treviño said. Click here to view qualifications and application.

Fixing a roof means “buying time” for homeowners, he said, and that can “change their lives forever so they can afford medication, so they could afford to take care of loved ones … and stabilize their neighborhoods.”

A leaking or damaged roof can lead to a host of other structural problems, and replacing roof can extend the lifespan of a home by 20 to 25 years, said Treviño, who is an architect. The energy-efficient materials that City contractors use on the roofs are designed to help residents save on electric bills.

The roof program is one of several that received a boost from the City’s annual budget as it implements new affordable housing policies. For the first time, housing was a key topic of budget discussions earlier this year.

The donation from the Blake, Kymberly and George Rapier Charitable Trust will go into the program’s fund, which is managed by the City, said Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni.

In fiscal year 2016 the program completed 11 roofing projects; 32 in 2017; and 164 in 2018, Zanoni said. This year, the target is 400 homes, and the City has already received more than 300 applications.

As the program has grown, he said, the City has dedicated more resources to it and recently restructured how it implements projects to save money. The Housing and Neighborhood Services Department now oversees each project, Zanoni said.

“What we’ve done to save a little bit more and do more roofs is we’ve taken that aspect of the program in-house and then we’ve hired …. our own roofers through a competitive process,” he said, and the department now has a staff member completely dedicated to the Under 1 Roof program.

The Hernandez family was one of 10 homeowners selected to be part of the Under1Roof pilot program. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.

Kathryn Boyd-Batstone / Rivard Report

The Hernandez family was one of 10 homeowners selected to be part of the Under1Roof pilot program.

Another requirement for the one-time roof grant is that the homeowner must be up-to-date on their property taxes, Treviño said. “That’s a barrier for a lot of folks.”

Treviño is working with Bexar County Tax Assessor-Collector Albert Uresti on an exemption so the City can give grants to homeowners who participate in payment plans to get caught up on their taxes.

“We see senior citizens in our office every day,” Uresti said. “We’ve adopted a mission that we want to keep families in their homes.”

Treviño said he hopes the Under 1 Roof program can serve as a model for other cities in Texas and beyond. Bexar County has launched a similar $1 million program patterned after the City’s.

“We hope to grow this program nationwide,” Treviño said.

5 thoughts on “Philanthropist Kym Rapier Donates $1 Million to Roof Rehabilitation Program

  1. Anyone over 65 can freeze their residential taxes. They must be paid at the time of the sale of the property or should the owner pass away, by whoever inherits the property. I think more of them just need advice and assistance on what is available.

  2. Iris,

    Very generous of the Rapier group to donate a million $$ but that only compounds the city waste in regards to this program.

    As we discussed a few months ago the problem the San Antonio Housing Trust Foundation Board had with the Under One Roof Program was that the average roof repair/replacement cost was about $13,000 or more than $500 per roofing square and the market price for the same work was and is in the area of $275 to $325 per roofing square. The changes they are sort of making are as a result of the Board of the San Antonio Housing Trust Foundation spending months documenting the city’s waste of taxpayer dollars.

    Nothing would have changed if it had not been for the efforts of our Board members to hold them accountable. The problem remains that it is still the government bureaucrats managing the dollars! They have implemented some changes and improved oversight but they also almost tripled the staff. They are out selling a giveaway program that is feeding a starving wolf ( public) with a voracious appetites. They should have been making grants to non-profits to help people not building a large permanent city staff.

    I have attached a PDF of a letter from the City Auditor after they reviewed the arguments of the San Antonio Housing Trust Foundation (SAHTF) Board regarding the wasteful operations of the Neighborhood Housing Services Department (NHSD) and Transportation and Capital Improvements(TCI). As you can see by going to the end of the letter-the opening paragraphs were written by the NHSD marketing staff-the CityAuditor told the city that they had wasted 23% or more than $330,000 on a $1,750,000 contract with Sabinal Group.

    Our own internal review (that was given to the City Auditor ) indicates the waste was more than $600,000.

    I do want to recognize and thank Councilman Robert Trevino and Councilman Clayton Perry for pushing for the City Auditor to review the SAHTF Board’s findings. But without the SAHTF Board’s documentation of the City Manager’s bad management and lack of oversight these changes would not have been even thought about……and the system would have continued to be gamed by those involved-both city staff and private contractors.

    As a member of The Board of the San Antonio Housing Trust Foundation I can say that we are glad the City is making some of the changes the Board recommended but I still think they will not get the costs down to a realistic market price—its the government and as Peter Zanoni told me in the meeting in July when he presented the City Auditors findings…. it just costs the City 50% more to get the job done……an estimate based on our research…… is a low ball estimate!

    • Robert, I apologize as I did not mean to insult either you or Iris. I started typing and did not rethink how it would sound and you are right it sounds like an insult.
      If you can tell me how I could edit or remove my initial statement I would be pleased to do so. My concern is not your daily report which I read but the city’s waste of money in their operation of the Under 1 Roof Program.

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