Gregorio Gutiérrez, Jim Sánchez/ Conexión San Ángelo

Photo: courtesy of the City of San Angelo

SAN ANGELO –After 20 years of service in the military as an intelligence officer and a few other stops along the way, Bob Salas’ decision to move to San Angelo (his wife, Estella, is from here), paid off big dividends for him not once but twice as he turned out to be the right man at the right place for the right job. Conexión met with Salas in his office on the second floor of the Community Development, 52 W. College Ave.

The first time Salas’ decision to move here was when he started his career with the City of San Angelo in 2007. He became the director of community development which involved doing housing programs.

Three years later, that second decision came into play when Bob received a job offer to work in Germany. “At that time, Harold Dominguez, who was the City Manager, asked me if I would be interested in creating a new department.” After thinking about the offer, I took the position,” said Salas. 

Salas, currently the Neighborhood & Family Services Director also oversees Code Compliance, Animal Services and the WIC Program. 

Salas stated that affordable housing is becoming a big problem due to the prices of housing which has gone way up, while salaries are not increasing.

“The gap between the middle class and the rich is getting much bigger. When we lose the middle class, one of the problems is that they have a hard time finding affordable housing.” “When we talk about low-income, we are really talking about middle class.”

Where Salas and his group come into the picture is in the services that Community & Housing Support provides. Salas has been working on increasing affordable housing for low-income families, elderly, disabled, people who have a hard time finding a place.

“We have a tool called Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.” “That’s where private sector developers compete for these tax credits and if they win them, they build affordable housing for low income.”

Salas stated that the City has been successful in the past three years of winning these credits. One of those tax credits won by the City was an 80-unit apartment for elderly on Martin Luther King and 29th Street.

One significant change that took place this year to assist those experiencing financial hardship when it comes to paying their rent, house of mortgage payment is what is known as Homeless Prevention. 

“If someone got behind on their rent, house or mortgage due to a crisis—for example, the breadwinner dies or loses their job, we can help you for three months to pay your rent or your mortgage, until you get back on your feet,” Salas said.

Of course, income criteria must be met and the person (s) must have been paying their rent or mortgage on a regular basis, not hit and miss.

Salas concluded the interview by saying he appreciated everything that Conexión Hispana does for the community. “It provides a link for Hispanics and everyone else.” Conexión does a great job.”

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