Hey, San Antonio. What Policies Can Help Us Tackle COVID-19 Inequities?


CREC Community Forum
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The San Antonio COVID-19 Community Response & Equity Coalition (CREC) is hosting a Virtual Community Forum on Sunday, June 6, 2021, to discuss the impact of the pandemic on residents and families in the city and how to respond.

The forum will seek local feedback on nine different policy priorities generated by a subgroup of the coalition, the Policy and Advocacy Workgroup.

Then the group will finalize the policy priorities and share with the city of San Antonio (63% Latino).

Click here to register for the CREC forum!

What is the San Antonio CREC?

In response to the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on San Antonio, and Latinos in particular, several organizations have come together to form the Community Response & Equity Coalition (CREC).

The coalition includes San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, UT Health San Antonio and its Salud America! national program, and several other local health and nonprofit groups.

“As the CREC, we have come together to assist our community by providing education, resources, advocacy, and access to information and services surrounding COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts,” according to the CREC’s policy priority briefs.

When formed in 2020, the coalition was originally known as the CRC.

But as of January 2021, the coalition added “equity” in their title to indicate their commitment to advocating for equitable policies.

“Above all else, we are committed to using our guiding principles for equity to ensure we are doing our best to reach all diverse populations within San Antonio,” according to the CREC’s policy priority briefs.

What are the CREC’s 9 Policy Priorities?

Within the San Antonio CREC, the Policy and Advocacy Workgroup is tasked with promoting policy priorities that address the inequitable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and identifying opportunities and funding sources to address root causes of COVID-19 disparities.

The CREC has identified nine policy priorities to address COVID-19 inequities:

  1. Access to Health Services
    • Expand access to comprehensive, affordable and equitable healthcare, including mental health, reproductive health services, and care for immigrant families, the elderly and people with disabilities.
  2. Housing Security
    • Ensure ongoing rental supports and tenant protections for San Antonio residents
  3. Fair Policing and Justice Systems
    • Support policy changes to local, regional, and national government codes that reduce the impact of COVID-19 on arrested and incarcerated populations and remove barriers of trust between communities and law enforcement.
  4. Safe Spaces for Physical Activity
    • Support the creation of vibrant environments that encourage physical activity indoors and outdoors.
  5. Food Security
    • Ensure access to nutritious and affordable food for all to meet the growing need caused by the pandemic.
  6. Digital Equity
    • Expand access to broadband and digital devices for families in underserved areas
  7. Social Support
    • Ensure access to high-quality childcare and civil legal services for people who’ve experienced domestic violence.
  8. Economic Security
    • Support equity-driven approaches to economic security include reparations, subsidized employment programs, a living wage, universal basic income, universal paid leave and medical bill relief.
  9. Transportation
    • Expand transportation access for people in need of COVID-related services, for healthcare and service workers with critical roles in the pandemic, for older adults, and for individuals recovering from COVID-19 who need disability transportation services.

Many of these priority areas reflect inequities that have disproportionately impacted the city’s low-income communities and Latino communities.

Other populations that the group is prioritizing are homeless people, people with disabilities, veterans, and the LGBTQ+ community.

What is the CREC Community Forum?

On June 6, 2021, the CREC is hosting a virtual community forum to gain insights from San Antonio residents on the nine policy priority areas and which matter most to them in COVID-19 recovery.

Based on what topics the attendees are most interested in discussing, the virtual forum will designate different breakout rooms where members of the CREC will facilitate discussion and take notes.

The forum will be recorded to share with those who are unable to attend. The CREC is also planning a Spanish-language forum that will be announced at a later date.

After the forum, the CREC will present findings and the policy priorities to the City Council, which will figure out how to best implement them.

Click here to register for the CREC forum!

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