San Antonio/ Politics & Govt
AI Assisted Icon
Published on June 21, 2024
Homelessness a Top Concern for San Antonio Residents, City Prioritizes Cleanup in Budget SurveySource: Unsplash/ Naomi August

For the second consecutive year, homelessness has been catapulted to the forefront of concerns for San Antonio residents, according to a new budget survey. Homelessness and encampment cleanup are high on the list of problems people in San Antonio want tackled, just trailing behind streets in terms of investment priority, as per the San Antonio Report. In a statement obtained by the publication, City Manager Erik Walsh shared, "We’ve surpassed this year’s goals [on homelessness] … and it’s still a relatively high priority from the citizens’ standpoint."

The challenge of addressing homelessness remains resilient despite efforts in the previous year when the city budget allocated $17.4 million to related services including prevention, outreach, shelters, and cleanup operations. This financial commitment was supplemented by a $31 million bond and federal funding aimed at aiding those who are chronically homeless. "I can’t imagine we would ease up on that at this point," Walsh remarked to reporters, signaling an ongoing commitment to the issue. The San Antonio City Council is set to revisit the budget in August, with formal approval due by September.

San Antonio's approach to garnering resident feedback differs from other Texas cities in its specificity regarding homelessness. ETC Institute, conducting surveys for various cities, found that San Antonio is unique in its in-depth questioning of the subject. "Not a lot of cities will ask about it, so we don’t have a lot of data there," Ryan Murray of ETC Institute conveyed during a City Council meeting. An increase in homelessness by 6.8% compared to the previous year underlines the pertinence of the problem.

Despite the prominent concerns over homelessness, San Antonio residents have expressed a high level of satisfaction with municipal services. The ETC Institute's survey revealed that in comparison with peers such as Austin, Dallas, El Paso, and Fort Worth. San Antonio registered the highest customer satisfaction in 12 out of 14 surveyed categories. Their satisfaction went up with almost every single item, barring a slight decrease for animal care services. Murray highlighted to the council significant positive shifts. “But if we look at solid waste, the airport, public works, police, fire, EMS, code enforcement, 311 services, you’ve seen giant improvements,” he said.