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Increased property values threaten homes of low-income families

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SAN ANTONIO - Property values are on the rise in San Antonio and that means higher property taxes.

The increase is threatening to force some low-income families out of their homes.

Now the story of two siblings struggling to keep their family's home.

Less than a mile from downtown on Iowa Street Meagan and Billy Garcia sit inside stressed out because they’re at risk of losing their family's Denver Heights home.

"My fear is losing it and everything in it," Meagan said.

Both are in college full time. In between classes and working part-time, they've been having plate sales, to raise money to make payments on property taxes.

Their mother, and grandmother are doing time for non-violent offenses.

"It's literally just us two and if we don't have this house I don't know where we're going to go," Meagan said.

The taxes were already past due when they found out the value of their home has nearly tripled since last year and they've missed the May deadline to file a value protest.

"I don't know. I wish they would have told me sooner," Meagan said.

Billy added, "I just want to know why the price has risen up."

Property values in San Antonio have gone up an average of 8-percent over the past year.

Denver Heights saw some of the highest increases because of the neighborhood's proximity to downtown and market activity.

"And now we're stuck with all these payments and me and my brother have yet to figure out how we're going to handle it," Meagan said.

Their parents qualify for homestead exemption, but they can't apply because of their incarceration.

So these siblings have no choice but pay the nearly $4,000 in property taxes.

"Maybe we wouldn't be stressing out right now about do we go to school this fall, do we get two jobs are we going to lose the house, if we lose the house what are we going to do with everything inside of it," Meagan said.

Billy added, "Not only is it unfair, but this could be life-changing."

Meagan and Billy Garcia are currently working on obtaining a power of attorney to try and retroactively file for homestead exemption.

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