State and Local Consulting
In the City of San Antonio, The Cloudburst Group provided guidance and best practices regarding the development of a community revitalization strategy that supported the City’s goals of effectively targeting and coordinating resources (federal, state, local, and foundations). The San Antonio region had historically developed its HUD required Consolidated Plan in isolation from other local plans and was not using market-driven data in the formulation of its funding decisions.
The City used technical assistance (TA) to develop the capacity for data gathering, coordination of plans and studies, and involvement of other stakeholders in order to develop a more strategic approach to investing its resources. This strategic approach has been incorporated into the City’s existing processes for developing Reinvestment Plans, Neighborhood Plans, Visioning Plans, Consolidated Plans, and a Comprehensive Master Plan. The major accomplishment was the development of a Housing Needs Assessment report that contributed to a unified Comprehensive Housing Needs Assessment and Strategic Housing Plan for policy decision making for the period FY 2012–2016. The process involved a review of the City’s existing housing policies and programs against the backdrop of current market conditions. An analysis of the existing inventory of sales and rental housing, net housing demand, and economic trends, defined the supply and demand characteristics of the City’s housing market. These projections will shape San Antonio’s housing policy for the next five years. Key final recommendations presented included:
- Creating opportunities for new mixed-income housing throughout the region by promoting aggressive acquisition, demolition, land banking, and new construction initiatives;
- Promoting the furthering of fair housing by creating affordable housing opportunities for members of the protected classes outside of predominantly low income, minority neighborhoods;
- Creating opportunities for new affordable housing in the downtown area and within the “410 Loop”; providing incentives to major employers who create employer-assisted housing programs for homebuyers;
- Pursuing San Antonio Housing Authority’s Choice Neighborhood Implementation initiative by designating the Wheatley neighborhood as a HUD Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area (NRSA);
- Developing a Neighborhood and Site Selection policy to guide development of affordable rental housing outside of predominantly lower income minority neighborhoods; and
- Targeting limited resources in strategic locations over a sustained period, to significantly increase the likelihood of converting a neighborhood from “marginal” to “marketable.”
The Cloudburst Group’s TA guided the City to adopt a more targeted approach to its utilization of HUD funds with greater oversight, efficiency, management, and accountability leading to the following accomplishments:
- Developed and published a market-based strategic community development plan that will inform the Consolidated Plan and related strategies;
- Developed a comprehensive Policies and Procedures manual that will guide the efficient management and administration of the CDBG and HOME programs;
- Rewrote its Housing Rehabilitation program (rental and owner occupied) to respond more effectively to market conditions and to increase unit production;
- Invested HUD program funds more strategically and with greater oversight, management, and accountability in San Antonio neighborhoods; and
- Increased and enhanced the program management capacity of City staff.
The TA provided in San Antonio can be viewed as a best practice model to address comprehensive strategic housing plan development.