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.”
Blacks pay higher security deposits, more application fees
Renters of color pay security deposits more often than white renters, and the deposits they pay are typically $150 higher.
Black and Latinx renters report submitting more applications than white and Asian American and Pacific Islander renters. The typical white or Asian American and Pacific Islander renter submits two applications, while the typical Black or Latinx renter submits three.
Renters of color pay higher security deposits, more application fees
Results from Zillow’s Consumer Housing Trends Report show renters of color typically submit more applications — and pay more in application fees — before they secure a place to live than white renters do. Renters of color also typically pay a higher security deposit when they move in.
The U.S. rental market is as competitive as it’s been in decades, with the national vacancy rate lower than at any time since 1984.ii Rent prices have skyrocketed, up a record 17% in just the past year, prompting some priced-out renters to look for a more affordable home when their lease expires. About 9 in 10 renters paid a security deposit last year, with the typical deposit coming in at $700. A higher share of renters of color paid a deposit (93%) than white renters (85%), and the median amount paid by renters of color was higher, too — $750, compared to $600.
“Rents grew more last year than any year on record, forcing many renters to look for a more affordable option. About 2 in 5 renters who moved in the past year said a rent hike influenced their decision to move,” said Manny Garcia, population scientist at Zillow. “Renters typically do not have much of a financial cushion, and the cost of finding a new place to live can be an expensive burden. Regrettably, renters of color are especially likely to experience rising rents, and when they shop for a new rental, generally report higher upfront costs, restricting the mobility that is often held up as a benefit of renting.”
A $750 security deposit represents a significant amount of a typical renter’s wealth. Zillow’s research indicates a typical renter holds $3,400 total across savings, checking, retirement and investment accounts. More than one-third (38%) of renters surveyed say they couldn’t cover an unexpected expense of $1,000.
In addition to facing higher and more frequent security deposits, renters of color report submitting more applications and paying higher fees for those applications than white renters. In 2021, 61% of all renters applied for two or more properties — an 11-point increase from 2019 and five points higher than in 2020, likely owing to the tight rental market. The typical white or Asian American and Pacific Islander renter submits two applications, while a Black or Latinx renter typically submits three. More than one-third of renters of color submit five or more applications during their home search: that’s true of 38% of Black and Latinx renters, 33% of Asian American and Pacific Islander renters, and only 21% of white renters.
With a median rental application fee of $50, the cost can add up quickly if renters need to apply for several properties. The burden is often greater for renters of color, who report paying a higher median application fee than white renters, on top of usually needing to apply to more rentals. Among renters who paid an application fee for the home they rent, the typical white renter reports paying $50, while a typical Black renter paid $65, a typical Latinx renter paid $80 and a typical Asian American and Pacific Islander renter paid $100.
The higher fees and number of applications for renters of color are likely partially attributable to their age, income and geography. The typical renter of color is two years younger than the median white renter, meaning two fewer years of potential income growth. White renters are also more likely to rent in rural markets and the Midwest, both of which are generally less expensive. Asian American and Pacific Islander and Latinx renters, in particular, are more likely to rent in the West, which includes many of the country’s most expensive and competitive rental markets.
Expanding access to credit could help improve outcomes for Black and Latinx renters. Nearly half of white renters (46%) say they were completely certain they would qualify for a rental, compared to 38% of Latinx renters and 34% of Black renters. Credit checks are part of many rental applications, and Black and Latinx adults are more prone to being credit invisible and more often live in counties with higher levels of credit insecurity.
Renters looking to reign in application fees may have options. For a flat $29 fee, renters can use Zillow’s online rental application to apply through Zillow for an unlimited number of participating properties within 30 days. The online application includes a credit report and background check, which saves landlords time while screening prospective tenants and provides them with the information needed to feel confident about each applicant. Renters can also offer additional context and explain any negative items on their rental and credit history.
Selma, Texas #1 for African Americans
If you live in the Bexar Metro area consider moving to Selma.
Over one in every 10 people in San Antonio is African American. However, the US Census only documents individuals who responded to the mailed survey during the pandemic. Since 2017 to 2021, over 30,000 new black people moved to San Antonio. These numbers can be deceiving if you don’t understand the geographical overview of the city.
Selma is also the highest average individual income out of the 14 cities. At $44.704, Selma has the highest average monthly personal income at $3,884.
Selma Texas has risen from third to first place in percentage (24.7%) of blacks. Converse, Texas (22.2%) has stayed the same in ranking at number two, while Live Oak, Texas (18.6%) has jumped ahead of Lackland Air Force Base (18.5%) to grab the #3 spot. San Antonio’s percentage dropped from 9th to 10th percent for the Bexar County metro area. Across all areas of the county, there has been an overall growth of 12% in African Americans.
Bexar Metro Black Populations
Blavity Inc. Moves Nation’s Largest Black Tech Conference, AfroTech to Austin, TX
Blavity Inc., the diversified digital media company behind AfroTech, 21Ninety, Travel Noire, Shadow and Act, and Blavity News, announced the relocation of the AfroTech Conference – the nation’s largest tech conference for Black innovators and founders – to Austin Texas. AfroTech 2022 will take place November 13-17, 2022 at the Austin Convention Center and surrounding venues located in the heart of Austin.
AfroTech Conference 2022 will be filled with the signature pillars you’ve come to know from AfroTech – exclusive programming, the world’s top Black innovators, sought-after networking, and for the first time, a new live music series extension all with the mission to bring Black disruptors together for connection, career development, and entertainment.
“After 2 years in the Metaverse we are thrilled to be back together in person in Austin. As our attendees have continued to grow from 650 attendees at our Inaugural AfroTech to 20,000 annual participants, we searched for a host city that is accessible to our diverse audience and provides the infrastructure for the vibrant experiences and connection we craft for our attendees. Austin is that home. I can’t wait to see everyone in person in November to learn, make connections and revel in the Black excellence that has become a hallmark of our AfroTech experiences” says CEO, Morgan DeBaun.
Blavity has made incredible investments in the leadership of our AfroTech team to ensure they are building a best-in-class experience for their community. Jeanne Procope, the VP of Conference Operations & Strategy, joins the team with 15+ years of experience in the conference & events business and reports into an expanded organization under Gautam Ranji, Blavity Inc. Chief Operating Officer, who has led the operational and strategic vision for Viacom, CBS, and Hearst.
To purchase your tickets for the 2022 AfroTech Conference, please visit https://www.experience.afrotech.com/afrotech-conference and to stay up to date on speaker and entertainment announcements, follow @afro.tech on Twitter.
ABOUT BLAVITY INC.
Blavity Inc. is a technology and news media company, founded in 2014 around a simple idea: enable Black millennials to tell their own stories. Today, we are home to the largest network of platforms and lifestyle brands serving Black millennials & gen-z through original content, video and unique experiences. The company has grown into a market leader for Black media, reaching over 100 million millennials per month through our growing brand portfolio which includes: Blavity News, 21Ninety, AfroTech, Travel Noire, Shadow & Act, and Blavity TV.
Journalists interested in covering the event may apply for credentials here. Please note, an application does not guarantee entry.