Reflections on New Report Detailing the Financial Health of Families

The San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network, in partnership with Texas Appleseed, has released Insights, Aspirations, and Action: Investing in Asset Building for San Antonio Families.  The report leverages data analysis, a survey with San Antonio nonprofit providers, and focus groups with San Antonio residents to provide recommendations for stakeholders to boost financial well being and asset building for San Antonio families. The report, which covered economic mobility, financial health, employment, housing, education and health, had several top findings: 

    1. Poverty in San Antonio is segregated - concentrated in majority Hispanic and Black neighborhoods, 
    2. San Antonio families have lower median credit scores, higher delinquent debts, and limited savings compared to the U.S., 
    3. San Antonio has low unemployment, but many available jobs are low-wage, 
    4. Most low-income renters in San Antonio are housing burdened, spending more than one-third of their income on housing, 
    5. Economically disadvantaged students in San Antonio public schools are not leaving school college ready, and, 
    6. San Antonio, like Texas, has a high uninsured rate, which disproportionately affects low-income Hispanic and Black families. 

All of these challenges impact the ability of  San Antonio families with lower incomes to build assets and financial resilience.  Gleaning insights from local data, nonprofit providers and residents in San Antonio, the report outlines actionable recommendations for funders, nonprofits, employers, and the public sector to improve the financial wellbeing of San Antonio residents.  Top line recommendations include: 

    1. Fostering integration of asset-building and social safety-net services,
    2. Focusing on highest-need geographies and populations,
    3. Enhancing safety-net for low-income families,
    4. Expanding access to products and services that support asset building and asset preservation,
    5. Supporting local policy work to ensure public, nonprofit, and philanthropic efforts best complement each other, and,
    6. Offering organizational support to nonprofits to enhance long-term viability and outcomes.

The report also outlines the policies the City of San Antonio has adopted that affect families’ financial health, such as the passage of an ordinance that limits predatory payday and auto title lending, ending jailing for failure to pay fines, and the adoption of Financial Empowerment Centers, which provide free financial counseling services to San Antonio residents. Additionally, the report seeks to complement current ongoing initiatives the City is undertaking that impact asset building, such as the Mayor’s Housing Task Force, which released a report examining the steps the City should take in order to address affordable housing. 

Texas Appleseed presented key findings at the July 30 press conference for the report release. The San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network featured a distinguished panel of local leaders at the press conference, which included councilmember Ana Sandoval, Lourdes Castro from University Health System Foundation, Dr. Mike Flores from Alamo Colleges, Dr. Chance Kinnison from Methodist Healthcare Ministries, and Diane Sanchez from the San Antonio Hispanic chamber, to reflect on the study and offer insight and encouraging examples of ongoing work in the San Antonio community. These community leaders, working in tandem with the Asset Funders Network, will support a powerful movement to achieve tangible and long lasting financial wellbeing for San Antonio residents and families who are currently struggling to make ends meet. Notably, the community leaders spoke of the importance of collaboration across funders, nonprofits, and industry and city leaders in San Antonio, with Dr. Flores remarking that we are not competing with each other, but instead are all fighting against poverty. 

Learn More: The Rivard Report | The San Antonio Express-News

The report offers a roadmap for the next five years of grantmaking for the San Antonio Area Asset Funders Network. As a first step, Frances Gonzalez, who coordinates the Network and who played an important role in shaping the report, announced that in order to address the myriad financial obstacles that hold families back from attaining financial wellbeing, the Asset Funders Network’s first grant will be to support a financial coaching hub in San Antonio. This hub will train and mentor staff from local organizations to offer financial coaching services more broadly in the San Antonio community. Texas Appleseed will continue to be a partner supporting implementation of the action items laid out in the report.

Read the full report available here or the executive summary available here