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Housing First Community Broke Ground on 17-Acre Towne Twin Village200+ Seniors Will Soon Find Homes, Support Service, and Community on the East Side. $15 Million was Raised to Fund the Effort.

On May 12, 2021 HFCC, Inc. (Housing First Community Coalition) broke ground on its new 17-acre Towne Twin Village, providing housing and support services for seniors in San Antonio experiencing long-term homelessness. Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, Commissioner Tommy Calvert, District 2 Councilwoman Jada Andrews-Sullivan, Gordan Hartman, Patti Radle, and HFCC Board Members and Coalition Partners formally recognized the beginning of construction at the site at 4711 Dietrich Road.

Named after the beloved Towne Twin Drive-In theater that once occupied the site, Towne Twin Village is designed to house 200+ seniors vulnerable due to homelessness, disability, and no or very low income. Patterned after Austin’s successful “tiny house” Community First! Village, Towne Twin Village is San Antonio’s first Single-Site Housing First-Permanent Supportive Housing Property. It will feature 100 tiny houses (~450 sq. ft. and each with ADA bathrooms and kitchenettes), 80 apartments, 25 RV trailers, a clinic with physical, mental, and dental health professional services, a new Catholic Worker House of Hospitality (for healthy meals, barber, nail hygiene, and laundry services), an interfaith chapel, hospice and respite units, hospitality and food truck pavilion, a community garden, gazebo-style grill and picnic areas, art studio, pet park, and an outdoor amphitheater for community-wide movies and musical, theatrical, and educational events.

Mark Wittig, HFCC Board President, stated, “For forty years this land has been waiting to find its purpose. The wait is over. With the help of a coalition of caring, it is being transformed into an oasis of goodness for all to experience.”

HFCC’s partners include Catholic Worker House (CWH), Traveling Loaves and Fishes (TLF) of St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, Center for Health Care Services (CHCS), SAMMinistries, Street Medicine San Antonio, WestCare Foundation, South Alamo Regional Alliance for Homeless (SARAH), city-wide SARAH member organizations and others.

Towne Twin Village is not a shelter. Residents will abide by lease policies typical of any apartment community. They will be supported by on-site community partners providing case management, professional counseling, health care, training, and social supports to help residents pursue personal goals and improve their quality of life.

Upon completion, Towne Twine will include 205 units, some of which are set aside for Peer volunteers (residents with former lived experience of homelessness who already transitioned successfully to housing) who want to move into the Village an serve as mentors to help new residents settle-in and navigate services, and PAL volunteers (Please Alleviate Loneliness….be a PAL), residents without lived history of homelessness but who wish to live on-site in solidarity to be a friend and help whenever needed.

A low-barrier Housing First model will be used in selecting housing applicants and supporting residents. Applicants will be prioritized according to their vulnerability index (age, duration of homelessness, additional risk factors, disabilities, and high utilization of city services)

For more information about the Towne Twin Village or Housing First Community Coalition, visit http://townetwinevillage.com.

Community

Juneteenth Weekend at Soul Food Truck Fest

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Presented by the Austin Revitalization Authority, Soul Food Truck Fest (#SFTF) will season up the state’s traditional festival lineup on Saturday, June 18, 2022.

Texas Black-owned food trucks will converge on the campus of Huston-Tillotson in the heart of East Austin in a celebration of food, community, culture, and heritage.

Commemoration and Celebration
In 2021, legislation was passed to establish Juneteenth as a federal holiday in the United States. Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865: the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas, and told slaves of their freedom.

Although that day came more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

The festival will be a momentous occasion celebrating Black perseverance past, present, and future all on an HBCU campus: Huston-Tillotson University.

“It is not lost on me the magnitude of hosting such an incredible celebration of the Black culinary tradition on the campus of Austin’s only historically Black university, nestled in its historic Black district, the day before the newly minted federal holiday celebrating Black freedom,” said Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, President & CEO of Huston-Tillotson University, who will serve as an official ambassador of the event, along with District 1 Council Member Natasha Harper Madison.

Madison, who grew up in East Austin and now serves the city she loves as an elected official, said, “I am truly honored to be a part of this event that ties Austin’s rich Black cultural past with its present through something we can all relate to – food. The African-American culinary experience is about spiritual sustenance as much as it is physical; for years food has played a central role in our coming together as a community, and I’m excited to share that tradition with the community as a whole during Juneteenth weekend.”

Happening at the Fest
Texas, voted a top state for Black entrepreneurs, has a plethora of delicious food truck gems that specialize in soul, Cajun, Southern comfort, BBQ, and secret seasonings from the minds of talented Black chefs. Soul Food Truck Fest will give Texans the chance to enjoy dishes they may not have known were being served up by the Central Texas soul food truck community every day.

The fest will feature:

  • Delicious dishes from 10+ Black-owned food trucks
  • Shopping from arts, crafts, sweets, and other retail vendors
  • Live DJ and musical performances
  • Kid-friendly activities
  • Games
  • And more!

“The Austin Revitalization Authority is excited to support a festival that is investing in uplifting Black businesses and supporting tourism and economic growth in East Austin. Soul Food Truck will be a wonderful way for the Texas community to celebrate Juneteenth,” stated Gregory Smith, ARA. President and CEO.

Want to sample each truck? Attendees can purchase a Judge or VIP ticket and enjoy early entry and samples to participate in the food competition to judge the trucks and name the Best at the Fest Grand Champion. Tickets for the event start at only $10 for early bird general admission.

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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.

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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.

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Selma, Texas #1 for African Americans

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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

Selma24.7
Converse22.2
Live Oak18.6
Lackland AFB18.5
Kirby18.0
Cibolo16.3
Schertz11.5
Universal City9.1
Windcrest9.0
San Antonio6.8
Leon Valley6.2
Timberwood Park4.2
New Braunfels1.8
Boerne1.0
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