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A Focus to Help Women Across the City

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The San Antonio City Council recently approved a resolution supporting women’s safety, health, and economic opportunity throughout the city.

“The issue of women’s equity has penetrated our national consciousness. More than ever, it is imperative for San Antonio’s City Council to demonstrate its support for the women of our community,” said District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran. “Women continue to make tremendous impacts across countless genres and industries, so it is time to take appropriate action to recognize and support these achievements.”

In the city, more than 51 percent of the total population of 1,144,646 are women. This resolution identifies three policy priorities to drive equitable outcomes for women through existing city services: eliminate domestic violence and sexual assault, promote positive women’s health outcomes, and address inequitable access to economic and business opportunities.

Eliminating Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault:

Domestic violence disproportionally impacts women in our community. In recent years the number of domestic violence cases has increased and the City of San Antonio is committed to reducing domestic violence and sexual assault cases. In May 2018, a presentation showing a map of gaps where there is a high concentration of risk for domestic violence and low concentration of services. Work continues in this area to incorporate services provided by non-profit and other organizations and evaluate the impact of prevention and intervention services with the goal of reducing domestic violence and sexual assault cases.

Positive Women’s Health Outcomes:

San Antonio’s teen birth rate and repeat teen births lag behind the national average. To address teen pregnancy, the city of San Antonio Health Department convenes the San Antonio Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaborative, a collective impact effort focused on reducing the teen pregnancy rate. San Antonio has made significant progress in this area by reducing the teen birth rate in Bexar County by 53 percent since 2006, but it still remains 49 percent higher than the national rate for ages 15 to 19. Maternal and child health progress has stalled in recent years in San Antonio. To address this concern, the Health Department has made this a key priority in its strategic plan.

Economic and Business Opportunities for Women:

On average, San Antonio women earn less money, own fewer businesses, and have less access to capital than their male counterparts. To address these challenges, the city has increased the number of successful female entrepreneurs and highly skilled females in the workforce through city programs and investments such as the Small Business Economic Development Advocacy Program, Launch SA and Project Quest. Through the SBEDA program alone, city contract dollars paid to local women-owned businesses have increased from 3 percent in 2011 to 17 percent in 2017.

Equity Program:

An equity impact assessment tool is being used to ensure city services, programs, and policies are equitable while considering the different needs and priorities of our community. As an example, the tool was used on city boards and commissions to enhance women and minority participation. In 2019, a train-the-trainer program will begin to normalize, organize, and operationalize equity across all city departments.

Boards and Commissions:

An Equity Impact Assessment, completed in October 2018, revealed that 39 percent of the current membership of the city’s boards and commissions is comprised of women while the san Antonio population is comprised of more than 51 percent women. The result of the assessment is an action plan designed to enhance meaningful community outreach and engagement, to increase diversity on city boards and commissions, and reduce implicit bias. The percentage of women in executive positions (Directors, Assistant Director, and Leadership Team) within the city organization has significantly increased from 26 percent in 2005 to 43 percent today. Programs have been developed to assist employees to executive roles, such as Supervisory Excellence Training and the Management Development Institute.

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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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