SAHA/Talavera Deal Off

Submitted by Phil Nelson, Chairman of SAHA

Thank you for your comments about the proposed purchase of the Talavera and Marquis at the Legends apartments. We appreciate your input, and I encourage you to check our website at www.saha.org, where we will be adding and updating information about many of the questions that have been raised.

As for the proposed acquisitions, the San Antonio Housing Authority and the sellers of the two apartment complexes have reached an impasse in the earnest money contract negotiations regarding a number of matters relating to as-is conditions and liability issues. As a result, it appears this proposed transaction will not move forward.

However, recent attention about the proposed transactions has provided opportunities for public dialogue about some of our community's most challenging affordable housing concerns, and about the plans to address those concerns.

The San Antonio Housing Authority currently serves the housing needs of more than 21,000 households, comprised of seniors, families and disabled persons; yet the need in our community continues to grow, as demonstrated by the 17,000 families currently on San Antonio Housing Authority wait lists.

Many of our public housing communities were built before 1950, and are deteriorating to economic obsolescence. These aging communities represent antiquated beliefs about "warehousing" of the poor, which concentrates poverty, reduces upward mobility for low-income families and contributes to economic segregation.

Federal funding to manage, improve or increase affordable housing for low-income families has been sharply reduced, and all public housing authorities across the nation have been directed to convert to an asset-based management structure that makes each development responsible for its own economic survival. By purchasing existing developments and utilizing the mixed-income approach, a percentage of units are set aside for affordable housing use, allowing market-rate rents to help fund the affordable housing component, freeing taxpayer funds for use in other low-income housing programs.

While the mixed-income approach is relatively new to San Antonio, it has proven widely successful in cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle and throughout the nation. In San Antonio, we have already had great success with our Refugio Place, a beautiful mixed-income community that replaced the former Victoria Courts public housing development. 

While the challenges are many, the San Antonio Housing Authority is committed to working together with interested members of our community to address those challenges and to meet the growing need for affordable housing. 

We look forward to continuing the discussion of our community's plans to address the challenges, and thank you again for your comments.
 
Phil Nelson
Chairman, Board of Commissioners
San Antonio Housing Authority