Editorial: Keep applying pressure on owners of rent homes
Editorial Board, SA Express-News
July 11, 2005

Bexar County needs more affordable low-income housing, but allowing slumlords to operate freely in the community is not the answer.

It is good to see San Antonio and Bexar County housing authorities respond so quickly to concerns from residents of a Northeast Side neighborhood about the high concentration of subsidized public housing in their area.

In the unincorporated Montgomery Drive area, 440 houses qualify for more than $2.5 million in Section 8 rental assistance, staff writer Chuck McCullough reports.

Homeowners in the area complain that the subsidized housing in their backyard has contributed to the deterioration of their neighborhood and brought more crime.

Since those concerns were first aired a few months ago, the residents have met with county and federal officials to discuss the problems.

SAHA is currently conducting inspections of the 354 houses for which it provides subsidies.

As part of the process, the housing agency is making landlords bring their homes to standards or risk losing their federal rental assistance, which averages $477.

Section 8 housing cannot be banned from an area, but the agencies that disperse the funds can hold the landlords accountable for the quality and upkeep of the properties.

The growing waiting lists for public housing in Bexar County indicate a need for more affordable rentals.

That need, however, should not be allowed to compromise the quality of the units, and one of the best ways to assure that is through regular inspections.

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