San Antonio: Councilman Perry Votes Against Hotel Lease for Low-Barrier Emergency Shelter
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CONTACT: Paul Jimenez
Paul.Jimenez@sanantonio.gov

SAN ANTONIO (June 17, 2021) – Today City Council voted to accept federal funds through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in the amount of $302 million. Along with accepting the ARPA funds, City Council also voted to execute a lease agreement with a downtown hotel and a contract with SAMMinistries to operate a low-barrier emergency shelter for a total of $2.9 million. In response to this vote, Councilman Clayton H. Perry released the following statement on why he voted against this expenditure:

"First, from a human perspective, I totally understand and am sympathetic to the plight of our homeless population. This vote against the City entering into the lease agreement and contract is unrelated to the fact that there are people in need who require assistance. Our community spends an estimated between $50-$60 million on homeless related issues on an annual basis, to include $8.6 million for Haven for Hope and related activities. Based on recent point in time counts, our homeless population is not growing in San Antonio and is remaining relatively stable. The City should find efficiencies in the current funding allocated to homelessness rather than expend limited federal funds.

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Additionally, I voted against this contract as it was never reviewed or discussed by any Council committee prior to bringing it forward today for a vote. There were many questions from Council members that should have been addressed at the committee level for discussion. Also, there was no benchmarking with any other city for best practices, and this contract did not go through a competitive process meaning both were direct awards for $2.9 million. This contract does not identify all the costs that will be expended in this program, and no metrics were shared with Council to prove this additional funding is necessary.

Again, there are too many questions that I still have unanswered, and this item is being rushed through the process. Even though this is a pilot program using federal funds, it could ultimately lead to a self-inflicted unfunded mandate that our neighbors will be responsible to fund for years to come."

Filed Under: Government, City

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