A new report from The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic reveals that San Antonio vacates and demolishes occupied homes at an exponentially higher rate than the other major Texas cities combined. Professor Heather Way, the co-director of The Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic, is the study’s lead author.
The report, titled “Ousted: The City of San Antonio’s Displacement of Residents through Code Enforcement Actions,” examines the City of San Antonio’s displacement of residents from their homes for code violations, with a focus on single-family residences. From 2015-2020, the City issued close to 1,000 orders to vacate and orders to demolish single-family homes, including at least 626 orders for occupied homes. Residents who are displaced from their homes by these enforcements are among the city’s most vulnerable residents.
With the loss of their homes and lack of access to relocation assistance, these residents face a perilous future, including a high risk of homelessness. This report analyzes both the city’s process for issuing these orders in comparison to other large cities in Texas and the locations of the orders and the communities that are impacted, all while examining resources available to help residents receiving the orders.
Other key findings include:
The City of San Antonio’s aggressive use of code enforcement tools that displace residents is unprecedented among large Texas cities.
The City of San Antonio’s vacate and demolition orders are heavily concentrated in San Antonio’s lower-income communities of color within the urban core, near areas of rapid redevelopment incentivized by the government, and in areas that the City proactively targets through code enforcement sweeps.
The City of San Antonio routinely fails to provide residents with a due process hearing when ordering them to leave their homes for code violations or ordering the disconnection of their utilities.
The City of San Antonio’s repair programs serve too few homeowners and contain too many barriers for low-income homeowners with substandard conditions to qualify for assistance.
The City of San Antonio rarely provides relocation assistance to residents who receive a vacate or demolition order from the City, in violation of Texas law.
The report has been highlighted on Texas Public Radio.
View the original report here.