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File #: 21-2993   
Type: Staff Briefing - Without Ordinance
In control: Housing Commission
On agenda: 4/28/2021
Posting Language: Discussion and Possible Action to Formalize a Letter of Support Defining Housing Affordability to be Included in the Strategic Housing Implementation Plan. [VerĂ³nica R. Soto, Director, Neighborhood and Housing Services Department]
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
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DEPARTMENT: Neighborhood & Housing Services Department


DEPARTMENT HEAD: Verónica R. Soto, FAICP, Neighborhood & Housing Services Department Director





Discussion and possible action to formalize a letter of support defining housing affordability to be included in the Strategic Housing Implementation Plan.



The term ‘Affordable Housing’ appears several times in City policies and programs however does not have one standard definition. Currently several programs and policies contain a definition of affordable housing including the UDC, Neighborhood Improvements Bond program, Center City Housing Incentive Policy, City Fee Waiver program, City rehabilitation programs, and administered federal funding sources.

On February 26th, 2020, the Housing Commission was asked by the Removing Barriers to Affordable Housing Committee to discuss the creation of a singular definition for affordable housing. Since that time the Strategic Housing Implementation Plan (SHIP) stakeholders began work to recalibrate the 10-year housing goals and create implementation strategies for the Housing Policy Framework (HPF), also known as the Mayor’s Housing Policy Taskforce Report. The Housing Commission selected Chair Jessica O. Guerrero to serve as the Housing Commission representative on the SHIP.   In addition to the new housing goals and strategies, the SHIP will also be the document that contains the City’s definition of affordable housing.

From September through December 2020, Commissioners heard presentations from the Office of Innovation on the digital divide, and VIA Metropolitan Transit, San Antonio Water System (SAWS) and City Public Service (CPS) on the average households’ utility and public transportation costs.

The Housing Commission requested public input on the definition of affordability.  Staff published a public intake form that was available for two weeks; comments were presented at small focus groups with Commissioners.

In February and March, the Commission was briefed on proposed definitions and participated in small group briefings with staff the week of March 29th.



During the Commission’s annual retreat on April 7th, the Commissioners agreed on a working definition of affordable housing, shown in the matrix below.

Housing Commission’s Definition of Affordable Housing:

AMI Level Served

Rental Development & Preservation Programs

Home Ownership Development & Preservation Programs

0-15% AMI

Critically Affordable

Deeply Affordable

16-30% AMI

Deeply Affordable


31-50% AMI

Fairly Affordable


51-60% AMI



61-80% AMI

Moderate Rate


81-100% AMI

  Median Rate


Up to 120%

Market Rate




In addition, the Commissioners initiated conversation on the development of a values statement to convey their intent, shared values, and goals for the use of this definition to the public and policy makers. Commissioners will review a draft of the statement they have prepared in this meeting.

The Housing Policy Framework offers the following context on page fifteen of the report: “Affordable housing means a place to live that is “affordable” so that when the rent or mortgage is made, money is left over for basic necessities like food, transportation, healthcare, and all that contributes to one’s socioeconomic mobility and quality of life.”

The next steps for the definition are for the SHIP to utilize it in their strategy designs and for the Planning and Land Development Committee of City Council to review it along with their consideration of the full Strategic Housing Implementation Plan.



The Commission’s statement is drafted at their discretion. Absent the statement, staff will proceed forward with the matrix as is. 






Staff recommends the Commission determine if they would like to proceed with including this statement with their definition matrix.