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Bexar County staff to consider how to spend $20 million in ARPA funding for affordable housing

Groups like the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center hope the money can help the most vulnerable populations in the county.

BEXAR COUNTY, Texas — Bexar County is receiving federal dollars to address affordable housing.

Staff have been directed to decide how $20 million from the American Rescue Plan Act will be spent to address the issue.

Local advocacy groups are hoping it can help some of the most vulnerable populations in San Antonio.

At the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center on the west side, Kayla Miranda fights for those families on low or fixed incomes.

“I’m still in public housing and I’m one of them. I’ve walked a mile in their shoes,” Miranda, the housing justice coordinator said.

She has experienced her own housing difficulties over the years.

“We were living in our car for about a year and a half, car, motel one month when we could afford it,” Miranda said she had to leave her job due to one of her sons having epilepsy and autism. She learned about the Esperanza Center after facing another setback.

“In 2019 I was evicted for pet fees that were assessed to my account about $1,200, and at the time my rent was $168,” Miranda said.

The Esperanza Center is hoping they can receive money to help west-side families like Miranda’s.

The plan for the $20 million is currently in the works and it’s not clear when it could be presented to the county commissioners.

Several people signed up to speak at the last commissioners court meeting to express how deep-rooted the housing issue is.

“I’m able to pay rent for 30 years; I’m able to pay for a house,” Araceli Herrera, leader of the group Domesticas Unidas said through a translator.

Miranda hopes those solutions will help the poorest families in the area.

“There are a lot of people still making $8 or $9 an hour in San Antonio, and I can tell you, they can’t afford it,” Miranda said.

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