Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Affordable Housing Collaborative Receives September 30 Eviction Notice

The City of San Angelo announced:

Over the past year, San Angelo Rental Housing Mediation Services (SARHMS) helped meet some real needs to educate the public about rental housing issues and to provide guidance to tenants and landlords toward settling rental housing issues. The program has operated as a partnership between Angelo State University and the City of San Angelo.

Due to federal funding cuts and competing priorities, however, funding for SARHMS is not included in current local budgets and there are no immediate plans to continue the service without a steady funding source.

SARHMS is currently winding down and will cease operating on September 30, 2013.

The project was first revealed to the public on December 12, 2012 in the Standard Times:

ASU's Community Development Initiatives is partnering with the city of San Angelo as well as with landlords, Realtors and other key local housing stakeholders to help alleviate disputes involving the community's lowest-income tenants. The San Angelo Rental Housing Mediation Services is a pilot project that takes a two-pronged approach.
This partnership lasted ten months in public view.  San Angelo has a current problem with affordable housing.  Housing rents on my street are multiples (up to 3 times) of what they were five years ago.

Neither the city or ASU's website offers much in the way of insight into the SARHMS' collapse.  The public only knew it was a pilot project and had no information on its funding source.  Apparently, that source withered.

This brings back memories of the City eliminating its immunization and sexually transmitted disease clinic, only to immediately request federal funds for reinstatement.  Uncle Sam bought into the City's shakedown and partially funded restoration of the clinic. 

The same year the City eliminated the STD clinic it:

1) Cut the tax rate by .01 per $1,000 valuation (roughly the same amount as the $138,000 health clinic cut)
2)  Approved a downtown master developer, estimated at $225,000 plus expenses (not in the city budget)
3)  Approved a $335,000 Lake Nasworthy master development plan (not in the city budget)
4) Offered $3.6 million in economic development assistance to a company where the Mayor served on the Board of Directors and had a declared financial conflict of interest (via two signed affidavits).
5) Approved a new employee holiday costing roughly the same amount at the clinic cut.

The City of San Angelo had funds to spend, just not on immunizations or STD diagnosis and treatment.  They did likewise this coming budget year with SARHMS.

San Angelo's roots included Miss Hattie's Bordello.  Ironically, a STD clinic would've directly supported economic development in those days.  But times are different and expansion is in the air.  We'll see how the city spends its expanding pot of money.  It hasn't been on public health services for quite some time.

San Angelo's housing is growing more unaffordable by the day.  We'll see if a white knight steps in and funds SARHMS.  If not, it'll be the latest community collaboration to bite the dust. 

No comments: