200 leaders of COPS/Metro, accompanied by Catholic Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, descended upon San Antonio City Council chambers with a simple message delivered by Maria Tijerina: "We don't want a study. We want action."
A study on displacement in San Antonio was scheduled to begin in 2020, but COPS/Metro leaders are calling for immediate action to prevent the direct and indirect displacement of neighbors. Said García-Siller, “They have lived simply, and with pride, in their homes, which have belonged in their families for decades.” He noted that the city gives incentives — tax rebates and fee waivers — to developers while homeowners who improve their own homes see their taxes rise.
Tijerina argued that rather than conduct a study on the root causes of displacement, the city should consider COPS/Metro’s own recommendations (detailed in a recently published oped) which include increasing owner-occupied rehabilitation in vulnerable neighborhoods; a city-coordinated homestead exemption and property tax freeze and deferrals for residents older than 65; tax abatements for homeowners and land preservation for affordable housing.
Immediately at stake was a $1 Million fund to help displaced and vulnerable residents. After its unanimously passage, COPS/Metro leaders called it "a good start."
COPS/Metro leaders plan to engage Mayor Ron Nirenberg on further displacement prevention at an accountability session April 7th.
[Top Photo Credit: Ben Olivo, San Antonio Heron; Bottom Photo Credit: Iris Dimmick, Rivard Report]
City Council Approves $1 Million Fund to Help Displaced, Vulnerable Residents, Rivard Report
San Antonio City Council OKs $1 Million Policy for Low-Income Families Facing Rising Housing Costs, Eviction, San Antonio Express-News
City Could Fast-Track Help for Families Hit Hard by Housing Costs, KENS5
San Antonio Nearing $1 Million Policy for Low-Income Families Facing Rising Housing Costs, Eviction, San Antonio Express-News
COPS/Metro to City Council on Displacement: 'We Don't Want a Study, We Want Action', San Antonio Heron
City Considers Fast-Tracking Housing Displacement Prevention Policy, Rivard Report [pdf]
Needed: A Displacement Prevention PlanSan Antonio Express-News [pdf]