San Marcos Community Partnership Committee’s First Meeting Sets Sights On Addressing Affordable Housing

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The San Marcos Community Partnership Committee met Aug. 10 to discuss the group’s intended goals and outcomes, with an emphasis on its initiative to increase homeowner rates. Photo by Nathalie Cohetero.

San Marcos City Council first adopted the Community Partnership on March 6 as a strategic initiative to focus on city priorities, such as stormwater management, city facilities, public transit and affordable housing. The committee is tasked with presenting recommended solutions to City Council and county meetings for approval.

At its first meeting led by San Marcos City Manager Bert Lumbreras, the committee was presented with a proposed plan to address a lack of affordable housing throughout the city, along with local demographics and housing data.

“Approximately 70 percent of San Marcos residents are renters, while about 30 percent are homeowners,” Lumbreras said. “Communities that are vibrant, have strong neighborhoods and are experiencing a good quality of life tend to have a higher mix of homeowners. So it will be in our best increase to increase the rate of home ownership in our city.”

In an effort to increase the rate of home ownership, the committee will monitor future developments to ensure a variety of housing types, assemble a Workforce Housing Task Force, create housing programs that use both local and federal funding sources to build homes and ensure existing housing stock is in safe conditions.

Lumbreras said with more than 80 percent of San Marcos residents earning less than the area median income for a four-person household, the city alone will not be able to create affordable housing opportunities for all.

The committee’s Workforce Housing Task Force plans to work with governmental and educational agencies; major employers; development communities such as affordable housing builders, financing agencies and real estate providers; service providers; and banks to help the city of San Marcos provide permanent affordable housing. Task force recommendations are expected to be presented to City Council by fall 2019.

Committee members include San Marcos Mayor John Thomaides, San Marcos City Council Member Saul Gonzales, Hays County commissioners Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe and Lon Shell and San Marcos CISD board of trustees Clementine Cantu and John McGlothlin. The partnership is scheduled to meet again Nov. 9.