A Hispanic city filled with UnidosUS Affiliates: San Antonio, Texas

Did you know that 64.5% of people living in San Antonio are Hispanic, 91.3% are citizens, and 14% are foreign-born? San Antonio is known for its Hispanic culture and Spanish colonial missions, together with The Alamo and The Riverwalk; and here at UnidosUS we also know the city for the great work of our Affiliates.

By Beatriz Paniego-Béjar, Senior Affiliate Communications Specialist, UnidosUS

San Antonio is home to five UnidosUS Affiliates, community-based organizations and providers with a wide range of programs and services for the city’s population. Today we introduce them to you so you can learn more about their impactful work.

AVANCE: A TWO-GENERATION APPROACH TO EDUCATION

Established in 1973, Avance’s mission is described in their name: to “advance,” to “progress.” Their two-generation approach places family members at the core of their programming, guiding them to become the best parents, employees, and citizens they can be. Their objective is to stop generational poverty by providing a family-oriented, non-judgmental environment. “The result: our families enjoy a more prosperous future full of opportunity and economic self-sufficiency,” Avance states.

One of this organization’s programs focuses on fathers, since their involvement in their children’s lives and education is associated with a range of positive outcomes for kids, “including lower rates of behavioral problems and increased educational performance, as Avance states.”

You can learn more about Avance and everything they offer at their website.

AGA: A RESPECTED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

Also founded in the 1970s, the Avenida Guadalupe Association (AGA) is committed to honoring San Antonio’s Mexican-American cultural heritage by empowering the Guadalupe Street commercial corridor, building affordable senior housing, and offering housing counseling and financial literacy to the underserved populations of San Antonio.

AGA has a long tradition of advocating for the community. Founded in 1979 as “a gathering of concerned individuals wanting to make a difference in their neighborhood,” the organization has, its website notes, “blossomed into a respected community development corporation setting a standard for inner-city revitalization.”

Executive Director Gabriel Quintero Velasquez says, “Avenida is embarking on a holistic movement dedicated to Mexican-American cultural and community empowerment.” Learn more about the AGA here.

HEALTH COLLABORATIVE: TACKLING THE COMMUNITY’S HEALTH NEEDS

Collaboration is at the heart of the Health Collaborative, created in 1997. It was then that San Antonio’s major health care organizations decided to put their differences and their competitiveness aside to work together on conducting a comprehensive health needs assessment that can best serve their community.

Building on this analysis, San Antonio’s health care organizations formed an incorporated entity with a clear strategy for improving the community’s health through collaboration: “The result is a more robust, less duplicative, more synergistic approach to solving critical community health needs, while efficiently utilizing resources,” Health Collaborative explains.

As part of their work in the community, the Health Collaborative participates in outreach and engagement events to talk directly to the people of San Antonio about health issues, COVID, free services, and more.

Read more about the Health Collaborative at their website.

MAUC: A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO COMMUNITY’S NEEDS

The Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC), incorporated in 1967, has become a model for efforts to address the social determinants of health. In their work they tackle housing, education, nutrition, and community and economic development. MAUC supports families throughout their lives, providing programs and services for children and adults at their headquarters and offering affordable housing for seniors at the Palacio del Sol, a master-planned community that MAUC describes as “designed and developed specifically for independent seniors 62 and better.”

MAUC offers a Nurturing Parenting Program, G.E.D. classes, Parent Engagement—which helps parents advocate for their children and better understand their children’s school system—ESL classes, Nutrition Education, Art Classes, and UnidosUS’s Escalera Steps to Success program, which helps high school students get ready for college and future careers.

Learn more about MAUC’s work here.

NHSSA: BUILDING COMMUNITY WEALTH

The Neighborhood Housing Services of San Antonio (NHSSA), a HUD-certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) and a U.S. Treasury-certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), works to build successful families and communities through housing opportunities, which in turn builds wealth for their neighbors.

In their almost forty years of existence, this San Antonio organization “has developed and constructed more than 325 new homes, rehabbed 200 existing homes, and closed more than 1,400 loans, totaling more than $30 million,” they explain.

Beyond that, the NHSSA ensures that their clients are set up to excel as homeowners and to be financially secure. Through their Home Ownership Center, the NHSSA helps more than 300 families annually with counseling services. They also offer homeownership classes, credit counseling, down payment assistance, homes for sale and for rent, and other resources.

You can read more about their work at their website.

You will also be able to meet our San Antonio Affiliates in person in San Antonio at this year’s UnidosUS Annual Conference. If you haven’t registered yet, you still have time! Learn more and register today here.

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