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San Antonio Wins Coveted Health Award

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The city of San Antonio announced today its selection as one of four winners of the 2018 RWJF Culture of Health Prize awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation during a press conference at the Witte Museum.

The Prize honors communities pursuing innovative ideas and bringing partners together to rally around a shared vision of health. Chosen from nearly 200 communities across the country, San Antonio’s award-winning efforts included its Pre-K program that’s citywide, a municipal court that helped decriminalize truancy, and its Haven for Hope center that gives solutions for the homeless.

The city’s Equity Office puts policies into play to reduce disparities, and the city’s budget prioritizes neighborhoods and populations that historically were marginalized. Judges of the foundation also applauded San Antonio’s wealth of data-driven collaborations for education, teen pregnancy prevention and homelessness. To date, 39 communities throughout the nation have been honored with this distinguished award in the past six years.

San Antonio will receive a $25,000 prize, join a network of prize-winning communities, and have their inspiring accomplishments shared throughout the nation. San Antonio joins Brownsville as the second Texas community to win the distinguished prize.  The other three winning communities are: Cicero, Illinois; Eatonville, Florida, and Klamath County, Oregon.

To see the other cities nominated, go here.

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Councilman Shaw Resigns from City Council

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SAN ANTONIO (Dec. 13, 2018) —
Effective January 7, 2019, Councilman William “Cruz” Shaw is resigning from his position on City Council as he has accepted an offer to become associate judge of the 436th Judicial District Court.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve the people of District 2 and collaborate with the staff at the City of San Antonio,” said Councilman Shaw. “I am grateful for this opportunity to work with the youth in San Antonio who have found their way into the criminal justice system. I want to make clear to the people in District 2 that there will be no interruption in services and council staff will continue to address all constituent concerns.”

The City will release the details for filling the District 2 vacancy in the coming days.

 

View resignation letter

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The Discussion w The Writer Fred Blacks in the Media: Have We Made Good Progress?

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Get Emergency Utility Bill Help Now Through Your Smartphone

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San Antonio’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the availability of a new, Emergency Utility Bill Assistance online application, which is at www.sanantonio.gov/DHSutility.

The online application simplifies the previous paper-based process by eliminating the need for residents to print and photocopy supporting documentation (photo ID, proof of income, CPS Energy or SAWS bill), and mail documents or visit the Willie Velasquez Center to obtain assistance. Now, residents can complete the application online and upload required documents using their smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera.

“We have found that most of our clients today have a smartphone, even if they don’t have a computer,” Human Services Director Melody Woosley said. “We wanted to make it easy for residents to use that phone to apply for the assistance they need.”

The new online application is the culmination of the inaugural CivTechSA residency program, collaboration between the City’s Office of Innovation and Geekdom. CivTechSA coordinated a 16-week residency in which city departments pitched their challenges to be solved by local technology firms. Kinetech Cloud, a Geekdom-based custom software-as-a-service provider, was one of two businesses selected for the CivTechSA residency.

The emergency utility assistance program helps the city’s most vulnerable residents during times of need to avoid power and water service shut-offs whenever possible. The average annual income of applicants for assistance is approximately $14,000. The program processes over 10,000 applications annually, administering approximately $2.4 million in CPS Energy bill assistance and $400,000 in San Antonio Water Systems (SAWS) credits. Human Services works closely with CPS Energy and SAWS to apply the assistance credits to the bills of eligible residents in need.

“The new online application system allows our staff to provide real-time updates to clients. When a family faces utility disconnection, time is of the essence. This application allows for faster communication with clients, to help complete their application and keep utilities connected,” Woosley said.

Additional benefits of the application include a self-service portal where applicants can check the status of their application, view the average processing time for the past thirty days, and receive automated notifications each time the status of their application changes.

“Virtually every industry is being impacted by technology and local government is no different,” said Michael Guido, CEO of Kinetech. “The majority of population growth over the next fifty years will occur in urban areas. Cities must invest in infrastructure and digital services to address this growth in a sustainable way.”

The DHS solution aligns with San Antonio’s Smart City Initiative – to have San Antonio be connected, inclusive, and resilient. Interested citizens can find out more at www.sanantonio.gov/humanservices/FinanceEmergency.

 

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