The following is a statement from Marco Acuna and Devorah Frost, housing justice organizers with Texas Organizing Project (TOP) in response to the San Antonio city budget vote this week:
“San Antonio City Council missed a historic opportunity to invest in our communities with its city budget vote Thursday. As the pandemic continues, negatively impacting working-class San Antonians, the city budget passed falls short on providing the housing funds needed to keep more residents on the verge of eviction from slipping through the cracks.
“The City Budget is a moral document that reflects the values of our community. We applaud the recognition from Councilmembers Castillo, McKee-Rodriguez, and Bravo that our city’s housing programs are far from being adequately funded in this year’s budget. The City of San Antonio has chosen to instead use federal funds that are not yet disbursed to meet our needs. This is simply insufficient, given how there already is a troubling backlog of residents in need of housing and rental assistance.”
Liz Davila, TOP Education Fund board member and District 5 resident:
“At a time when thousands of San Antonians are still living paycheck-to-paycheck as a result of last year’s economic collapse, it’s abysmal that little over 1 percent of our city’s $3.1 billion budget goes toward housing. Our city leadership failed to prioritize in this budget the wellbeing of our residents during such a critical time.”
Kevin LeMelle, TOP board member and District 2 resident:
“TOP members spoke up for their neighborhoods and the need for more housing relief programs at multiple town halls and budget hearings over the past few weeks. As a whole, our mayor and city council didn’t listen; they botched an opportunity to come through in a deeper and more meaningful way for San Antonio residents who are still struggling to make ends meet. This city budget misses the mark.”
Karen Muñoz, TOP member and District 7 resident:
“While I’m disappointed that our council continues to shortchange housing, something that’s a downright injustice especially during this pandemic, I’m grateful for the new council members who showed us a better way is possible in San Antonio if we put more attention and resources toward addressing the basic needs of those who need it most. This city budget is nothing to take pride in, though. When vulnerable communities made clear they needed more in this dire time, our city’s top leaders shrugged their shoulders.”
Texas Organizing Project organizes Black and Latino communities in Dallas, Harris and Bexar counties with the goal of transforming Texas into a state where working people of color have the power and representation they deserve. For more information, visit organizetexas.org.
This statement was sent out September 18, 2021.