Plans to build a low-income apartment complex for seniors in one of San Antonio’s most fashionable neighborhoods had been posted for barely a week in January when the fury began.
Residents feared that the 68 rental apartments, which were competing for federal tax credit subsidies, would spoil the affluent Stone Oak neighborhood. In a storm of emails, calls and letters to local and state officials, they predicted unpleasant results: lower property values, more traffic and an increase in crime.
Federal housing programs are designed to break up concentrations of poverty and discourage segregation. To lift low-income residents out of poverty, policy makers increasingly focus on the links between neighborhoods and access to jobs, good schools, transportation and safe streets.
But in Texas — which gives neighbors a significant say in where subsidized housing can be built — those policy objectives are largely being foiled, as the dynamics in Stone Oak illustrate. Subsidized apartments are being built disproportionately in impoverished neighborhoods with high concentrations of minority residents, according to an analysis by The San Antonio Express-News and The Texas Tribune.