Opportunity Home receives National Recognition for Resident Initiatives, Design of Housing Developments
July 29, 2021
Celebrated for innovative affordable housing solutions, the San Antonio Housing Authority (Opportunity Home) is the recipient of 14 Merit Awards from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), the nation’s leading affordable housing trade association in the country.
Five of the Merit Awards have been nominated for Awards of Excellence, the highest accolade for housing authorities to earn for demonstrating innovative solutions in affordable housing.
“The awards from NAHRO is a testament to the San Antonio Housing Authority’s approach to thinking outside the box and putting residents top of mind for new programs and developments,” said Ed Hinojosa, Jr., Opportunity Home President and CEO.
Of the Merit Awards, the five initiatives below are nominated for Awards of Excellence:
A/C for Public Housing Initiative
The San Antonio Housing Authority installed 2,400 air conditioning units in 22 of its public housing communities across the city in an effort to provide cooling ahead of the summer in public housing communities with no air conditioning. Opportunity Home established a public-private partnership with San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, the City of SanAntonio, philanthropist Gordon Hartman and Texas State Representative Diego Bernal to secure $1.5 million in funding to provide public housing complexes with air conditioning. The initiative was completed in the Summer of 2019. Now all Opportunity Home public housing communities have both heating and air conditioning to withstand extreme temperatures during both the summer and winter climates.
Artisan at Ruiz
The Artisan at Ruiz is an entirely affordable 102-unit housing development, with a mix of two- and three-bedroom units targeted specifically at families living on the Westside of San Antonio, Texas. This community is designed as walkable, sustainable and inter-generational with improved connections to the surrounding neighborhood. A collaborative process with residents, community leaders, city partners, the San Antonio Housing Authority and other stakeholders was key to developing a plan to provide a highest quality of life and long-term sustainability.
COVID-19 Set-Aside Voucher Program
During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents in San Antonio — like many across the country — experienced economic hardships such as general housing instability or even housing evictions for the inability to pay rent. In response to this housing crisis, and through a collaborative effort with local nonprofit groups, the San Antonio Housing Authority (Opportunity Home) allocated 100 tenant-based vouchers specifically for those experiencing homelessness or housing instability, inability to safely isolate or quarantine, or experiencing other housing issues due to the pandemic.
East Meadows II Project Design
East Meadows II is the third phase of development for an overall master plan community known as Wheatley Courts. Wheatley was a 248-unit public housing development built in 1940. Over time, the cinder block-styles development negatively impacted the neighborhood as its structure and unit design became obsolete and deteriorated beyond repair. East Meadows II added 119 multi-family units, 23 of which are three-to-four bedroom townhomes. Thoughtful design consideration enhanced the streetscape and livability of the East Meadows community, but to further magnify the diversity of the streetscape, multiple color schemes were painstakingly chosen to create the sense of an extension of the neighborhood.
Education Investment Foundation (EIF) Back-To-School Drive-Through Event
Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, all traditional San Antonio Housing Authority annual resident events were canceled. To continue traditional education-related events, the Education Investment Foundation (EIF) implemented a series of curbside events throughout the month of August 2020. Since they were unable to host annual back-to-school fairs at their public housing properties, they hosted a “drive-thru” curbside school supply distribution at their headquarters.
View all awards and nominations at homesa.org/awards.