UTSA to release report n Tuesday detailing options to deal with housing crisis
With hundreds of thousands of people descending on the Eagle Ford Shale region of south Texas, UTSA's Small Business Development Center is scrambling to put together a plan on how to develop affordable housing for all those new residents, and how to make sure the project is sustainable, 1200 WOAI news reports.
By 'sustainable,' the Center's Gil Gonzalez says the housing and the communities have to come up with a plan to make sure that the Brush Country does not look like Detroit when the oil fields are tapped out in twenty or thirty years.
He says that not only will involve building housing, but building the economic base of communities in small towns and small counties which have never seen any sort of economic development, and have lived largely on subsistence farming and ranching since they days when they were part of the Spanish Empire.
"We need to move quick and we need to move fast to capitalize on this opportunity," he said. "I think when it comes to infrastructure, its not only housing, it's water issues, it's water treatment facilities, it's streets, its trash collection."
Estimates are that 120,000 to 150,000 new jobs in the oil and gas fields will be created over the coming five years. When all those people bring their families, that is a brand new city the size of St. Louis, being created in the Brush Country.
"Affordability is a big concern right now, because of the shortage," he said. "It has driven up the price of housing overall."
The UTSA study, which covers six of the poorest counties on the western edge of the Eagle Ford region, will be released on Tuesday in Cotulla.
Gonzalez says one thing he has learned doing the study is---all of this should have been done several years ago, because the region is already behind.
"They're having to ramp up quicker than they ever anticipated," he said. "They should have been at this point two years ago."