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Air Conditioning on the Way for Vulnerable Residents

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A needed step was taken today to improve the dignity and quality of life of some of San Antonio’s most vulnerable residents.

The City Council’s Comprehensive Plan Committee recently approved a funding recommendation to install air conditioning in over 2,500 public housing units on San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) properties that don’t have them.

“Some of these SAHA housing units were built in the 1930s,” said District 5 City Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, chair of the Comprehensive Plan Committee. “Two thousand, five hundred families in our city including children and the elderly have lived through scorching summers without air conditioning for generations because their housing is old – that needs to change.”

The recommendation, which is pending the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regulatory approval and will be sent to the full City Council for final approval, is to allocate $500,000 in CDBG funds that will be leveraged with private and non-profit funding to purchase and install air conditioning units at 22 SAHA facilities. The City’s CDBG funds will be matched by SAHA in the same amount of $500,000.

SAHA will work on a short deadline in order to install the air conditioners before the summer. If approved by Council, purchasing will begin in March and April with installation finished by the summer months.

According to San Antonio Housing Authority CEO David Nisivoccia, one-third of the residents of the public housing units that need air conditioning are elderly and disabled. Those units will be prioritized, followed by families with children.

State Representative Diego Bernal attended the Committee meeting to thank the members for their approval and commented that all concerned were racing against the summer to get the project going.

“This will help the most vulnerable in our City,” Councilwoman Gonzales said. “Public housing should not reflect a community’s poverty.”

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Community

SA MLK DAY 2021

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The legacy and homage to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. lived on, however, the traditional celebrations and one of the largest marches in the country was reimagined this year due to COVID concerns. San Antonio city officials and the MLK, Jr., Commission had the public’s best interest in hand and held a commemorative virtual march.

This year marked the 53rd anniversary of the first March for Justice in San Antonio. The march that San Antonio participants know and observer well was organized by the late Rev. Dr. Raymond “R.A.” Callies, Sr., a San Antonio teacher and pastor. He began the March in 1968 as a call to bring awareness to the need for basic infrastructure on the east side. His efforts have resulted in what has became one of if not the largest MLK march in the US, hosting over 300,000 participants of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, and creed.

The commemorative virtual march kicked-off with a premiere of native San Antonian and accomplished filmmaker Ya’ke Smith’s Dream: Rising Up For Justice film. The film celebrated organizers, community leaders, past marches, and featured musical performances. The premiere aired on News4SA, and the city’s TVSA.

Around town caravans, neighborhood marches, and a few community block parties took place with COVID safety measures in order. Many still wanted to honor Dr. King’s legacy by celebrating with family, friends, and neighbors to carry out his message of unity and building better communities while echoing the continued push for justice and equality for all.

MLK Day 2021 was not shuttered. One march didn’t stop the show. As the opening words of the film read and reminded us… “The Dream Continues!”

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Community

City Seeks Applicants For SA: Ready To Work Advisory Board

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The City of San Antonio is accepting applications for the SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board.  

In November, San Antonio voters overwhelmingly approved SA: Ready to Work, a training and education initiative to assist San Antonio residents impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Last week, City Council approved the creation of a nine-member SA: Ready to Work Advisory Board to provide feedback on program objectives. 

“During the campaign this fall, voters asked how this initiative would incorporate diverse community feedback and remain aligned with business and resident needs. The timely creation of this board establishes a transparent and inclusive process from the start as City Council considers the various policies associated with this workforce and training initiative,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “I encourage employers, participants and stakeholder organizations interested in playing a role in this important initiative to apply to serve.”

This Board will consist of representatives from four local employers with in-demand occupations, two current/previous participants in the City of San Antonio workforce development programs, one trade or labor organization, one community organization, and one workforce training provider. In additional, two City Council members appointed by the Mayor will serve as liaisons to this Advisory Board. 

Applications for the Advisory Board positions can be found at the City of San Antonio’s Board and Commissions website (https://www.sanantonio.gov/Clerk/Legislative/BoardsCommissions#13319780-apply-for-a-board). Applications will be reviewed for eligibility beginning in mid-January and forward to City Council for review and potential appointment. Potential applicants are asked to consider that no appointed members of this Advisory Board may have direct relationships with entities that contract with the City for implementation of the SA Ready to Work program.

SA: Ready to Work will be tax supported through a 1/8th cent sales tax. This education and workforce program would begin serving San Antonio residents in fall 2021 and extend through December 2025. Each year of the initiative, up to 10,000 residents will be served with a total of up to 40,000 residents served over the four years.

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Art

Open Call: Calling All Artists

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The City of San Antonio’s Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Division is seeking applicants for the 2021 Public Art Pre-Qualified List for Artists and Support Services.

The Pre-Qualified List works as a roster of emerging and experienced individuals and organizations who are pre-qualified by City Council to work on designing, building, and promoting future projects within the Department of Arts & Culture’s Public Art Program.

We are seeking professional qualifications from area, state, national, and international artists and arts organizations as well as individuals and businesses that provide support services including, but not limited to, consulting, curating, writing, project management, art history, art handling and shipping, art appraising, restoring and conserving art, art fabrication and installation, photo and video documentation, graphic and web-based design, and technical design.

KEY DATES

·     Deadline to Apply: January 18, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. CT

·     Optional Virtual Informational Workshop: December 8, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. CT.

Register for the webinar here.

APPLY TODAY

All Open Call details and application instructions can be found at http://www.sanantonio.gov/arts/open

Applying for the Pre-Qualified List allows applicants to be selected for future projects, inclusion does not guarantee selection for a public art contract.

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