Tuesday, May 2, 2017

San Antonio, Texas: Vecinos de MIssion Trails Press Conference Today

What: Press conference to announce release of report on the impacts of displacement on former residents of Mission Trails Mobile Home Community
Who: Vecinos de Mission Trails
When: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 at 4:30pm
Where: 1515 Mission Road 78210
Contact: Marisol Cortez at (210) 393-2310 or cortez.marisol@gmail.com
Spanish Language Media Contact:

Anayanse Garza at (210) 238-2818 or anayanse@hotmail.com

Major report on Mission Trails displacement demonstrates urgent need for policy that protects vulnerable residents

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—The San Antonio City Council decision to rezone the Mission Trails Mobile Home Community three years ago to make way for the Mission Escondida Luxury Apartments severely impacted housing security, health, economic security, and social wellbeing for the hundreds of residents forced from their homes, according to a multi-year study being released Tuesday, May 2nd.

Based on detailed interviews conducted over two years with 51 households—nearly half of those displaced—the 100-page report by Vecinos de Mission Trails presents an in-depth analysis of this case. In addition to its presentation of interview findings, Making Displacement Visible situates the Mission Trails case within its historical and policy contexts; provides a chronological account of city actions and resident organizing; and offers policy recommendations vital to preventing further displacement as downtown redevelopment continues unmitigated by protections for the most vulnerable residents.

Members of Vecinos de Mission Trails will present the main report findings to local media, policymakers, and community members at 4:30p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, at the site of the eviction (1515 Mission Road 78210). Former residents of Mission Trails and other Southsiders struggling to stay in their homes and neighborhoods will also be on hand to speak. Press conference will be held in both English and Spanish.

This report is the only known local effort to document the after effects of displacement in a systematic way. “Displacement by its very nature erases evidence of impact,” said Marisol Cortez, Ph.D., principal author of the report and co-founder of Vecinos de Mission Trails. “We wanted to make displacement visible. Where did residents end up? What did they experience along the way? What was the impact on their health and their children? Without such a thorough investigation, it becomes too easy for decision makers to repeat their mistakes.”

Key report findings include the following:

  • Three residents died within 12-18 months after removal
  • Only about half of households interviewed were able to keep their homes
  • More than 2 in 5 households had moved more than once by the time of the interview
  • About 1 in 5 households experienced homelessness after removal
  • About 1 in 5 residents interviewed experienced life-threatening health impacts requiring hospitalization as a result of the stress of rezoning/displacement
  • Almost 3 out of 5 residents reported mental health impacts due to the stress of displacement
  • Over half of households reported negative impacts on their children; 1 in 5 households reported health impacts on children, mostly depression and anxiety
  • Residents received on average $4,451 in relocation assistance, compared to the roughly $7,200 promised by developers
  • Nearly half of households reported increased housing burden following displacement. While about half of families met criteria for being “housing burdened” at Mission Trails (paying more than 30% of their monthly income on rent/utilities), this number increased to 71% of households after displacement.
  • About 3 in 4 households reported negative impacts on social networks and sense of community.

Executive summary and full report will be made available on Tuesday, May 2, both at the press conference and online at vecinosdemissiontrails.wordpress.com.

News of this report is embargoed until Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

Vecinos de Mission Trails is a San Antonio-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting displaced residents of Mission Trails Mobile Home Community; conducting community-based research and education efforts on the root causes of gentrification and its policy alternatives; and engaging existing Mission Reach residents vulnerable to displacement in building comit├ęs de defensa del barrio. Through all these activities, Vecinos aims to shift public discussion of social wellbeing away from “development” as a taken-for-granted good and instead toward buen vivir—an Indigenous-led call for the protection of human rights, the rights of mother earth, and the commons.

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