San Antonio Housing Authority
Demolition of a troubled East Side housing project was completed in February and construction of the new Wheatley Courts is set to begin in April.
Mike Etienne, a city official who spearheads East Side revitalization efforts, said the first residents could move into the new Wheatley Courts by January of 2016.
"Those residents who moved out have first choice of returning to the new development because of federal requirements that say you have to replace public housing units one for one to ensure that we retain affordable housing," Etienne said. "You can't demolish and not replace."
Returning residents will undergo self-sufficiency training, Etienne said, adding that the majority of residents, who were given Section 8 certificates when they moved out last year, stuck around the neighborhood.
"We noticed most of the residents decided to stay in San Antonio and stay close to the East Side," Etienne said. "A lot of them grew up on the East Side and some of the families may not have wanted to change schools."
Though people can move to Wheatley Courts in January 2016 when 220 units are scheduled to be available, by December 2017, 80 units for senior citizens will also be available, along 117 mixed-income units.
Just east of downtown, Wheatley Courts is in a federally designated Promise Zone — one of five in the country. The neighborhood's poverty rate — 40.3 percent — is the highest in San Antonio.