Westside Community Partnerships

Through the Westside Community Partnerships initiative, UTSA aims to amplify the economic and cultural strengths of the Westside by marshalling the university’s talent and resources to engage in strategic community partnerships.

The initiative facilitates community-oriented applied research focusing on local challenges for demonstrated collective impact, as well as the implementation of programs to increase student access, enrollment and graduation.

Current Projects


Shotgun Housing Renovation

Shotgun Houses are small dwelling units that serve as vivid historical remnants of redlining practices in the urban core. Owner-occupants often built them from kits that could be purchased at local lumberyards. 

They are especially prevalent on San Antonio’s Westside where a preliminary inventory by the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) and UTSA has identified more than 500 units. Faculty from the College of Architecture and College for Health, Community and Policy will help to demonstrate a proof of concept that shotgun houses can be rehabbed to code standards at an affordable cost with a mix of funding sources.

Preservation project promises housing affordability in S.A., UTSA Today, October 29, 2020

contractor training

Small Contractor Training

Houses within many Westside neighborhoods date from the 1930s–1950’s. In general, less-experienced contractors do rehab work, whereas the larger, better-capitalized, and more-experienced contractors do new construction. 

Paradoxically, most rehab jobs are more complex than new construction projects, and better rehabbers tend to move on to become new-home builders as they gain experience. This “brain drain” is a major problem for the rehab industry across San Antonio, but especially on the Westside. UTSA construction science faculty created an online/hybrid course for contractors to help them bridge the home repair gap on the Westside. The course targets small and newer construction contractors working on renovations, maintenance, and home improvements of the aging housing stock on the Westside.

San Antonio historic westside

Roadrunners Helping with Estate Planning

UTSA researchers discovered that Westside residents in 78207 with higher than average incomes ($50,000+) had two things in common: they had no mortgage and many inherited their homes from their family.

A lack of intergenerational wealth transfers are a contributing factor to Latino wealth gap, providing the impetus for the Roadrunners Helping with Estate Planning project, in collaboration with the Mexican American Unity Council (MAUC). To date, UTSA students and faculty have helped over 300 families across the Westside to clean or keep a clear title to their home, maintaining assets with original Westside residents. With funding from Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales, UTSA students went door-to-door to conduct further research and outreach in an effort to help improve the wealth gap.

West Side braces for San Antonio’s latest wave of gentrification, San Antonio Express-News, May 9, 2019

•  When All’s Right at Home, Sombrilla Magazine, Summer 2019

UTSA Policy Studies Center launches project to help District 5 residents with property title issues 

San Antonio neighborhood

Property Tax Evaluations

Working with non-profits like My City is My Home and Texas Housers, UTSA researchers identified over 2,000 homes in 78207 that are likely not taking advantage of all of the available exemptions to lower their property taxes.

UTSA holds workshops across the community to help homeowners fight property tax appraisals to keep housing affordable.

San Antonio Residents Learn How to Fight Rising Property Values, Spectrum News, May 3, 2019

In the News

February 21, 2022
Grant to preserve San Antonio culture, music awarded to UTSA faculty

February 14, 2022
SBA, UTSA combine to provide resources for small business owners

December 7, 2021
UTSA students helping West Side residents and business owners with their technological needs

November 22, 2021
UTSA ambassadors fill the digital gap for San Antonio's West Side Residents

December 16, 2020
Westside homeowners benefit from faculty and student housing research

October 19, 2020
UTSA engages West Side families through bilingual admissions sessions

October 7, 2020
Affordable housing solution back then, still possible now

April 24, 2020
Roger Enriquez named executive director of Westside Community Partnerships

Idea Catcher
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For More Information

Roger Enriquez, J.D.
Executive Director
Westside Community Partnerships
p: 210.458.2691
e: roger.enriquez@utsa.edu

Learn more about the Westside Community Partnerships Initiative »