Housing Authority of Bexar County hosts final FSS Program graduation of 2022; one graduate receiving 17K in earned savings

San Antonio, TX – The Housing Authority of Bexar County hosted our final Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program Graduation of the year, celebrating the successes of six graduates.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday, November 30, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. at the HABC office on 1954 E. Houston St.

“The FSS Program is important because we can encourage participants to reach the goals they set forth for themselves and to provide the needed support within our organization. We see the transformation and the hurdles they jump to be successful and we are so proud of them,” said Housing Choice Voucher/Section 8 Manager, Stella Garza.

HABC had a stacked line-up of speakers to end the year on a high note, with Bexar County Clerk Lucy Adame-Clark in attendance, along with HABC Board Chair, Lupe Torres. Laura Montez from Bexar County Economic Development and HABC Board Member Robert A. Wehrmeyer also attended the event.

“I grew up in housing with my parents. They took advantage of the program, they now own their first home and they’re doing very well. And now myself and my sisters are doing very well as well too. So, take advantage of any program that Bexar County Housing Authority offers you,” said Bexar County Clerk Lucy Adame-Clark.

Checks presented ranged from about $2,500 to a little over $17,000.

Nine FSS Graduates Leave Program With Over 28K In Earned Savings

On Wednesday August 31, the Housing Authority of Bexar County hosted a graduation celebration for nine participants in the Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

These unstoppable nine participants completed all the requirements for the five-year incentive program, which included job skills training, homeownership classes, financial literacy classes and more.

District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez joined HABC as their special guest speaker to honor the graduates and all their hard work to provide a better tomorrow for their families.

“I hope that through this program you found, more than anything, a sense of  self-worth, and that you recognize that you are loved, and that you can find it within yourself to continue this challenge; continue to move past these challenges and obstacles that are going to keep coming. They are going to keep coming, and there will continue to be life circumstances, but you have the tools, you have everything you need inside of you,” McKee-Rodriguez told graduates at the ceremony.

One graduate, Marissa Vela, moved her family to San Antonio six-years-ago from The Valley in South Texas to provide more opportunities for her children. She said while it hasn’t been easy, she is grateful for the program.

“It’s been a journey, I’m not going to lie, it has been hard, but I am so grateful for my case worker. She pushed me and was always there behind me and always there to support me, and I just can’t believe I did it.”

The FSS Program is a 5-year incentive program for Section 8 Voucher holders to help them strive toward self-sufficiency. Participants accrue money in an escrow account as their income increases over time. At the completion of the participant’s 5-year contract, the family graduates and is presented with their escrow disbursement.

FSS graduations happen quarterly, and this quarter, these nine FSS graduates walked away with over $28,000.

Congratulations to all of our graduates!

Housing Authority of Bexar County Receives $66K From HUD To House Former Foster Youth

SAN ANTONIO – The Housing Authority of Bexar County proudly partnered with Hug Me Ink for their 5th Annual Back2School Bash on June 30.

Helping to Unite by Generating Mental Empowerment (HUG ME) Ink started the back-to-school event in 2018, with hopes of “empowering families with the necessary resources and tools”.

The organization started out by giving 50 backpacks to children in need, and every year since then, the backpack donations have only increased, with a record 650 backpacks distributed in 2021.

“Due to the COVID-19 epidemic, this has caused a lot of families to lose jobs or be put on hold of jobs and thus has caused financial challenges for families. With the upcoming school year starting, we don’t know what that will look like. HUG ME Ink wants to be able to provide to the community a FREE event in which attendees will be able to obtain FREE school supplies, community resources and more,” the organization told sponsors in a letter.

This year, 240 backpacks were distributed to those in need, and 22 vendors were in attendance providing school supplies and much needed resources to those in attendance.

HABC Partners With Miss Tristan Foundation For Swim Safety Education For Residents

SAN ANTONIO – The Housing Authority of Bexar County proudly partnered with the Miss Tristan Foundation to educate residents and provide resources on drowning prevention at our Bear Springs Apartment Complex’s
Summer Bash on Friday, June 24, 2022 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m at 11803 Marbach Rd.

While many families are spending time in the pool this summer to beat the Texas heat, it can be easy to get distracted, and accidents can happen in an instant. The leading cause of death for children under the age of 4 is accidental drowning, and it is fast, silent, and preventable. That’s why the Housing Authority of Bexar County partnered with the Miss Tristan Foundation to educate residents on drowning prevention, particularly for Pre-K aged children.

“We are excited to have the Miss Tristan Foundation partner with the Housing Authority of Bexar County. We know that water safety is an important initiative. Water-related mishaps; like injuries and drownings do
not discriminate any demographic, which is why it is important to make water safety awareness accessible to our residents within the HABC community, through programs like Miss Tristan’s’ Water
Watcher’ program,” said Alisha Munoz, Director of Public Affairs for the Housing Authority of Bexar County.

The Miss Tristan Foundation was started after a tragic accident in the spring of 2016, when 2-year-old Miss Tristan Lynn Byrd, tragically died in an accidental drowning at a family BBQ. Since her death, her parents have devoted their lives to drowning prevention, working to make pool fences and alarms affordable to homeowners, as well as getting water safety classes into Pre-K curriculum in San Antonio schools.

Melissa Wollard, Executive Director of the Miss Tristan Foundation, says in order to keep kids safe, one adult should always be watching children in the water.

“The Water Watcher promises to watch the kids swim and to not use their cell phone or consume alcohol
while watching the swimmers,” she said

San Antonians Get Rewarded For Housing Self Sufficiency

*This article was written by Jim Lefko and aired on News 4 San Antonio*

SAN ANTONIO – Four local women were recognized today for achieving housing self sufficiency.

They’ve spent the past five years working with the Housing Authority of Bexar County and now are getting anywhere from $3,000 to $12,000 to help with housing down payments.

“We are so excited. It’s a journey for five years and we are so proud of those families that worked really hard to make that graduation happen,” says Neldys Ortiz, interim executive director of the Housing Authority.

Sara Goode was one of the graduates who was honored today.

“It means that we can finally get off Section 8 housing and have something to call our own,” says the mother of five.

The participants accumulated money in an escrow account as their income increased over time.

“It does help you save so that way you can have your own home,” Goode says.

Today they received graduation certificates as well as the much appreciated checks.

“It’s something that I worked in for 5 years. It’s going to help me buy a home. Down payment for a home,” Goode says. “Probably stay on my side of town on the Southside and it will make my kids very happy because they’ll have a home to call their own.”