“Ribbon Cutting at Affordable Housing Complex” “New Learning Center Welcomes Students” “Refurbished Playing Field Opens”
LISC investments often make headlines after a project is finished, as residents are moving in or when families are celebrating the completion of life-changing programs.
But years of hard work go into reaching those milestones, from initial organizing to capacity building with non-profits to one-on-one support of people in the neighborhood. And through all the deal structuring and loan closings to construction, LISC is a constant.
In San Antonio, LISC’s newest urban office, behind-the-scenes efforts in 2017 included a range of small-scale but significant firsts: helping a community-based organization build single-family homes for first-time buyers; supporting the creation of a new homeownership product for the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate; and managing a city-wide housing policy development process with the Mayor of San Antonio and hundreds of participants over many months.
On San Antonio’s west side, a home ownership support agency called Our Casas Resident Council was struggling to develop single-family lots with multiple title problems—a common roadblock for redevelopment in older neighborhoods—and to hire local contractors for the construction process. In order to underwrite a $375,000 loan for the group, LISC invested dozens of hours clearing up titles, even managing to resolve an issue involving the federal witness protection program. At the same time, LISC San Antonio helped a small general contractor find a low-interest loan to ramp up his capacity and build the first new housing constructed in the neighborhood in many years.
Habitat for Humanity of San Antonio wanted a new product for infill lots in established neighborhoods, sites that were difficult to develop with their self-help model but where investment would deliver a significant boost in otherwise neglected areas. A $40,000 grant from LISC San Antonio allowed them to design a line of homes called “Cross Timber,” an affordable unit with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Two families have already moved into Cross Timbers homes, and more are under construction in San Antonio’s Jefferson Heights, on the near east side.
In 2017, LISC San Antonio also played a critical role on the community-based Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force, facilitating dozens of meetings on topics ranging from affordable housing finance to removing development barriers to housing special needs populations. LISC provided the task force with hundreds of hours of technical assistance, on everything from research and presentations to support for public meetings to policy briefings for individual task force members. The end result is the city’s first-ever affordable housing policy, which is expected to be approved by the City Council in 2018 and become part of the San Antonio’s development plan.
Altogether these investments may not make headlines but, one by one, they are the beginnings to transform communities, and lives.
Photo credit: LISC Archives
Private Sector Support
Public Sector Support
Executive Director: Leilah Powell
110 Broadway, Suite 400
San Antonio, TX 78205