The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA) as one of nine finalists to compete for approximately $110 million in the 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grant. The grant helps transform neighborhoods of extreme poverty into mixed-income neighborhoods by revitalizing distressed public housing, improving economic opportunities and leveraging investments in critical community services.
Selected from a pool of 42 national applicants, SAHA completed a comprehensive local planning process, which resulted in a Transformation Plan to redevelop the Wheatley Courts public housing area on San Antonio’s Eastside. SAHA is seeking an individual grant of nearly $30 million, as HUD anticipates naming four to five Implementation Grant recipients later this year.
In 2011, SAHA was awarded a $250,000 Choice Neighborhoods planning grant, from HUD, to develop a transformation plan for the Wheatley Courts area into a viable and sustainable neighborhood with quality housing, education, employment, health, and economic development opportunities.
“I applaud these finalists and all of the applicants who committed an extraordinary amount of energy and effort on plans to create better housing and even greater neighborhoods,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “Choice Neighborhoods stands at the center of the Obama Administration’s effort to transform distressed communities into neighborhoods of opportunity that include quality affordable housing, good schools and safe.”
The total planned investment for the Wheatley Choice neighborhood area is now approximately $175 million, of which $145 million is from community partners and resources, including $22.7 million in CDBG and bond improvements from the City of San Antonio. The City investments include:
$1.6 million in CDBG funds for the University of Incarnate Word Eye Clinic;
$7.4 million for East Commerce Street Improvements;
$6.5 million for drainage improvements at Menger Creek;
$4 million is for drainage improvements for Walter Street;
$2 million is for improvements to the neighborhood’s Good Samaritan Center;
$200,000 for Lincoln Park;
and another $1 million for the neighboring Carver Cultural Center
“This speaks volumes to the collaborative effort among our community leaders, elected officials and residents of Wheatley Courts,” says Castro Ramírez. “We are primed and ready to create a community of “choice,” through investments in the core elements of the Choice Neighborhood Initiative which are People, Housing, and Neighborhood.”