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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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Sharing Stories of Racial Discrimination

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San Antonio residents of color are invited to share personal stories of racial discrimination for the third annual HBCU Oral History Project, hosted at St. Philip’s College Feb. 15-17, from 9 AM to 5 PM in the Sutton Learning Center, 1801 Martin Luther King Dr.

The HBCU Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project is an endeavor that uses the power of spoken and documented words to heal and create spiritual and social change. These stories and, the related research, will be used to inform policy changes within the political environment and spiritual changes from a grassroots and common person’s perspective.

Under the direction of Rev. Steve Miller, the Project’s founder, digitized oral history accounts will be gathered by the HBCU academy which includes; Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College and Southwestern Christian College. Participating partner universities include, Austin Presbyterian, Baylor University and TCU.

Miller’s work has resulted in federal civil rights investigations by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice’s Community Services Division, primarily, within the Texas educational system. His work has brought increased equity to hiring processes, enlarged job opportunities, and fostered greater understanding of institutional partiality through education.

Miller has coordinated and won legal actions at the federal court level and has been the stimulus of rewrites of discipline policies, whose ends resulted in fewer minorities being exposed to and caught in the educational system’s disciplinary apparatus, which correlates highly with elevated juvenile justice and mass incarceration rates.

For more information, contact St. Philip’s Director of Student Success Dr. Angela McPherson Williams at (210) 486-2090, awilliams284@alamo.edu or Project Founder and Director Rev. Steve Miller at (713) 557-6520 – (512) 404-4800, stevemiller@usclo.com

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Legendary Newsman Eugene Coleman passes

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From his obituary:

Eugene Coleman, Sr.  was born on February 3, 1921, in Ennis, Texas. He was one of six brothers and three sisters to the parents of Mr. John Latelasafale Coleman and Mrs. Beatrice Simms Coleman,  all who proceed him in death.

Coleman moved to San Antonio in the 1970’s. He accepted Christ at an early age and he attended Mt. Zion Baptist church under the leadership of Rev. Claude W. Black.

Coleman, a Civil Rights and community activist, begin his career as a photographer during his World War II service in the Air Force.  Coleman was co-founder of SNAP magazine with Mr. G. J. Sutton and Rev. Claude W. Black. Mr. Coleman served as editor to publish news that was often neglected by mainstream media. He was an entrepreneur of the only black photography studio in San Antonio,  located in St. Paul Square. Businessman of Snap house, a chicken stand at the corner of N. Hackberry and E. Houston street, just up the road from his Photography studio.

Coleman was married to Mrs. Doris Coleman, and to that Union they had one son, Eugene Coleman, Jr.  He was later united with Mrs. Birdie Mitchell Coleman, who preceded in death in 1999. Coleman was always working and supporting others like San Antonio Black History Collection, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Mario Marcel Salas Papers and SNAP News collection, he was always a businessman.

He leaves to cherish his memories son, Mr. Eugene Coleman, Jr. A long time special friend, Mrs. Hertha Black Grant, a devoted caretaker, Mrs. Juanita White. Very close friends Mr. and Mrs. Oscar L Vicks and Mr. and Mrs. Derick Williams. A host of relatives and friends.

For more details visit https://www.lewisfuneralhome.com/notices/EUGENE-COLEMANJR

 

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VIA Transit Celebrates Freedom Rider

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VIA Metropolitan Transit and St. Philip’s College will team up to honor civil rights activist Rosa Parks on what would have been her 106th birthday, anchored by a vintage 1966 GM Dreamliner VIA bus that is a piece of San Antonio history.

Freedom Rider Barbara Bowie will speak about her experience, and Parks’ passion for education at 1 pm on Feb. 4 at the Turbon Student Center at St. Philip’s, 1801 Martin Luther King Drive. VIA will also announce a contribution to the Dr. Bowie Scholarship Foundation, in memory of Ms. Bowie’s late spouse Dr. J.R. Bowie, III.

Parks, “the mother of the freedom movement”, is widely known for not giving giving up her seat to a white bus rider during a time when black people were regulated to the back of the bus. The 40-foot VIA bus will be parked next to the Turbon Student Center from Feb. 4-8.

Parks rode the VIA bus in the city’s first MLK March 32 years ago in 1987. Special Rosa Parks Seats were installed in VIA buses in 2005, and every VIA bus (510) has a special yellow seat designated in honor of Rosa Parks. That year – 1987 – when Parks passed the campus was significant in that St. Philip’s College received its Historically Black College and University (HBCU) member institution designation from the federal government. Additionally, the vintage VIA bus carried a group of Freedom Riders as ceremonial passengers in the city’s recent 2019 MLK March.

For the operating hours of the display Feb. 4-8 and details on the Feb. 4 opening event, contact VIA.

All are welcome to attend the following 2019 Black History Month events, and visit the web page for updates:

*** = SPC Debut

++ = Paid Event

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