COPS / Metro Leaders of Bexar Co. Colonias Fight for Paving

When Maria Bernal's baby stopped breathing after midnight, she called 911. The child turned blue as she waited 90 minutes for ambulances to arrive; the ambulances were stuck in the sand.

Over 250 families live in Highland Oaks, an unincorporated corner of Bexar County, cut off from essential services because they have no streets -- only sand. Schools stopped sending buses to Highland Oaks because they, too, would get stuck.

Bernal and Jacqueline Morales are now working with the Daughters of Charity and COPS / Metro Alliance to bring essential infrastructure to Highland Oaks. Targeting developers, elected officials like Chico Rodriguez, and nonprofits, the residents are sawing through layers of red tape to access funds needed for street paving, sidewalks and streetlights -- at least $5.5 million.

"It's intimidating because it's a lot of money, but I think we have a lot of support from a lot of people," says Morales. "If we don't talk, if we don't investigate, if we don't know what's going on, I don't think we'll ever accomplish anything … sometimes we need to talk, sometimes we need to fight for it. Then anything's possible."

Bexar County Community Fights to Pave Its Streets of Sand, San Antonio Current

'Good News' for Highland Oaks Open to Question, San Antonio Express-News