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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

June 8, 2016

FROM THE FIELD

City Should Meet Legal Requirement to Fund Affordable Housing

By Dr. Molly Metzger, assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University

Many St. Louisans are struggling to keep a roof over their heads. Among households earning less than $35,000 annually, one out of five are spending more than 30% of their earnings on their housing, making them "housing cost burdened." We have a need for more quality affordable housing. The City of St. Louis's Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) is intended to help address that need.

For at least the last four years, the City of St. Louis has funded the AHTF at $500,000 below the legally mandated minimum. This year is shaping up to be no different. If the City sticks with its preliminary budget decision, City residents and neighborhoods will miss out on a half million dollars in housing investment. How did we get to the point where the City has underfunded our commitment to affordable housing by around $2 million over the past four years?

To read more of this week's op-ed, click here.


We invite readers to contribute to the civic conversation about community development in St. Louis by writing an op-ed for the Community Builders Exchange. Op-eds should be short (400-700 words) and provocative. If you have an idea for an op-ed, contact Todd Swanstrom at swanstromt@umsl.edu
 
City of St. Louis Public Hearing Notice: CDBG and HOME Funding
The City of St. Louis is soliciting comments on two draft documents at a public hearing on June 16th. The Draft Substantial Amendment to the City's 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan proposes reprogramming Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding that was allocated and unspent in previous years. The Draft 2017 CDBG/HOME Funding Priorities outlines the types of activities that the City plans to fund with CDBG and HOME funds in 2017. You can download drafts for review here.

CRA Ladder of Capacity Building Initiative Pairs Financial institutions, Community Building Organizations
The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 was enacted to ensure that financial institutions are meeting the needs of their communities, including low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The CRA Ladder of Capacity Building Initiative, the first initiative of Invest STL, brings together local financial institutions and community building organizations to develop projects that serve low- and moderate-income communities. The program was created by the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, Rise Community Development (Rise), and Midland States Bank. Read the full story here.


FY17 THUD Spending Bill Approved By The Senate, Moving Through the House
On May 19th, the Senate passed the FY17 Transportation-HUD (THUD) spending bill. The bill does not significantly cut funding, protects the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, and includes an amendment that lifts until 2019 the two-year funding commitment requirement for HOME funds. The House version of the FY17 THUD bill also avoids major funding cuts and was approved by the Appropriations Committee on May 24th. It will be considered by the full House in June. The House bill allocates $38.7 billion to HUD—less than the Senate version ($39.2 billion), but $384 million more than last year's allocation. For a budget chart from the National Low Income Housing Coalition that compares the House and Senate versions of next year's THUD bill, click here.

Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Could Expand The Low Income Housing Tax Credit
The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2016 was introduced by Senate Finance Committee member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) last month. The bill proposes expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by 50 percent. Over the next ten years, this could preserve an added 400,000 affordable homes. Click here to review the full bill.

New Rule To Require Broadband Access in Most HUD-Financed Multifamily Housing
Last month, HUD announced a new rule mandating that most HUD-financed multifamily housing be built or rehabilitated with broadband infrastructure included. The rule aims to "narrow the digital divide" that President Obama highlighted in his March 2015 memorandum that deemed high-speed internet access a necessity. To read the full rule, click here.

Meals For Seniors: Cafeteria Remodel, New Senior Center Planned for Ferguson
The Mid-East Area Agency on Aging is planning a remodel to the cafeteria at the Ferguson Community Center. The Meals on Wheels program intends to use the cafeteria to provide local seniors with daily hot meals. Meals on Wheels discontinued hot meal services about three years ago due to lack of funding; the program has since been delivering frozen meals to seniors. To read more, click here.

Free Outdoor Movie Night in the JeffVanderLou Neighborhood
The historic JeffVanderLou neighborhood is hosting a free outdoor movie night at 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 18th! Attendees will view "Can You Dig This," a documentary that follows four gardeners on their journeys through the urban gardening movement. The event will be held at Fresh Starts Community Garden at 2901 Dayton Street. All are welcome to attend! For more information, click here.

Save The Date: MSLCRA Third Annual Speed Networking Event
Metro St. Louis Community Reinvestment Association (MSLCRA) is hosting its Third Annual Speed Networking Event on Tuesday, July 19th from 5:00-7:00 pm. The event will bring together CRA-eligible nonprofits and at least 20 local banks to connect and discuss a variety of topics, including organizational initiatives and banking needs. For more information, click here.

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS

Missouri Municipal League Elected Officials Training Conference
The Missouri Municipal League (MML) is holding its annual Elected Officials Training Conference on June 9th and 10th in Columbia, Missouri. The conference provides review and training focused on a variety of issues important to municipal officials, including budgeting and revenues, economic development, and ethics. For more information and to register, click here.

The Future of Real Estate: Reinvesting in Urban Campuses
Urban Land Institute St. Louis will host its quarterly breakfast program at the St. Louis College of Pharmacy from 7:30-9:30 am on Monday, June 16th. The event will feature a panel discussion that covers the College's plans to add 400,000 square feet to its urban campus and implications for the surrounding community. For more information and to register, click here.

Urban Land Institute Webinar: Distinctly Different Multifamily Rentals
This webinar from the Urban Land Institute discusses two case studies that highlight ways in which developers can make their multifamily rental projects stand out in a competitive market. The session will be held at 11:00 am CDT on June 22nd and will include a Q&A segment with the project developers. For more information and to register, click here.

Scaling U.S. Community Investing: Unleashing the Potential of Individual Investors
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is hosting a webinar on June 23rd to discuss how organizations can overcome the unique and varied challenges associated with reaching individual investors who are interested in "sustainable investing." For more information on this webinar, click here.

For The Sake Of All Community Action Forum on Disease Prevention and Management: Better Models For Better Health
On June 27th, For the Sake of All and FOCUS St. Louis will host the sixth and final forum in their series covering the For The Sake Of All Report's recommendations for improving to the health and well-being of African-Americans in the St. Louis area. Leaders will discuss community health models that can have positive effects on resident health through disease prevention and management. This event is free and will be held at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center from 4:30-7:00 pm. Registration is required. For more information, click here.

2016 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
The Center for Community Progress will hold its seventh national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP) this September 28th-30th in Baltimore, Maryland. This year's theme is "In Service of People and Place." Conference attendees will explore strategies for reclaiming vacant properties and strengthening neighborhoods facing vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment. Registration will open during the coming months. For more information or to join the conference email list for updates, click here.

TRAINING & WORKSHOPS

Community Development Administration Capacity-Building Workshops for CDBG Funding
The St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA) is hosting four capacity-building workshops in June to prepare organizations for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding cycle. The first two will be held on June 14th and 15th. Session one is designed for organizations applying for CDBG funds for the first time (sign up here). Session two covers how to identify projects eligible for CDBG funding (sign up here). Sessions three and four, held June 28th and 29th, cover proposal development best practices and accounting requirements for CDBG-funded organizations.

Landlord Training: Historic Tax Credit Programs and Private Financing Options for Rental Renovations
Each month, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC hosts a free Landlord Training workshop for all city landlords, investors, and other interested parties. On June 14th, the training session will discuss financing rental renovations using Missouri State and Federal Historic Tax Credit Programs and private financing options. The workshop will be held at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Avenue) from 6:30-8:30 pm. For more information, click here.


Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Competent Volunteers
On June 24th, the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program at UMSL is hosting a workshop on cultural sensitivity in volunteer management. Instructor Hannah Shanks, who holds her Master's in Social Work from St. Louis University, will discuss strategies for successful culture-crossing in service-based work. The course will be held in room #92 at the JC Penney Conference Center and counts for credit hours toward the Chancellor's Certificate in Volunteer Management. For more information, click here.

EVENTS

June 18
JeffVanderLou Neighborhood Free Outdoor Movie Night

June 24
Beyond Housing Food Truck Roundup

July 19
MSLCRA 3rd Annual Speed Networking Event

June 9 - July 21
Grace Hill Whitaker Urban Evening Concert Series

 

KNOW YOUR REGION

The Community Builders Exchange would like to highlight a map relevant to community development in each issue. Please let us know if you have a map that would be of interest to our readers.

This week, we are sharing maps that examine housing cost burdened households in the St. Louis region. To view this week's map, click here. To view maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange, click here
 

WHO WE ARE

The St. Louis Community Builders Exchange is put out by the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, with the support of the Des Lee Collaborative Vision at UMSL, to bring you quality up-to-date community development information, analysis, and opinion.

Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines Competitive Affordable Housing Program 
There's still time to apply for the 2016 Round for the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines Competitive Affordable Housing Program (AHP). Applicants can apply for up to $500,000 to fund affordable housing projects. Submissions will be accepted until June 30th at 4:30 pm CDT. Click here for AHP application materials and resources and here for scoring criteria. To apply, click here.

City of St. Louis NOFA for HOME/CDBG Funds
Last month, the City of St. Louis Community Development Administration released this Notice of Funding Availability for CDBG and HOME Investment Partnership funds. The deadline to submit an application is this Friday, June 10th at 4:00 pm. For more information, click here.

Missouri Foundation For Health: General Support For Advocacy
The Missouri Foundation for Health is accepting applications through June 23rd for its General Support for Advocacy funding. Organizations engaged in health advocacy work are invited to apply for grants of up to $75,000 per year for two years. Work must encompass projects that support the Foundation's primary health issue focus areas: infant mortality, childhood obesity, expanding health coverage, oral health, and/or health equity. For more information, click here.


U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Community Development Initiative
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Housing Service is accepting grant applications through July 22nd from intermediary organizations that provide capacity-building financial and technical assistance related to housing, community, and economic development projects in rural areas. Agencies must provide matching funds to accompany the grants. For more information, click here.

Ben & Jerry's Foundation Grants 
The Ben & Jerry's Foundation is seeking organizations to apply for year-long grants of up to $25,000. Applicants should be community-organizing groups that are working to address issues related to social and environmental justice, including sustainable and just food systems. Pre-proposals will be accepted from August 1st through October 14th. For more information, click here.

Best Buy Foundation Community Grants 
The Best Buy Foundation is awarding grants of up to $10,000 to local and regional nonprofit organizations that provide teens with opportunities to develop technology skills that support future education and career opportunities. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations or public agencies and be located within 50 miles of a Best Buy location. Applications are due July 1st. For more information, click here.


Sam's Club Community Grant Program
The Walmart Foundation's Community Grant Program is accepting applications for grants ranging from $250 to $2,500. Applicants should operate within the service area of a Walmart, Sam's Club, or other Walmart facility. Applications will be accepted through December 31st. For more information, click here.

Civil Rights Enforcement Agency RFQ: Education and Outreach
The City of St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA) is seeking to contract with a St. Louis community based nonprofit organization to provide fair housing and civil rights outreach and education services. Funds will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as available. The contract will run from July 1st, 2016 until June 30th, 2017. Request for Qualification (RFQ) submissions are due by noon on June 16th. For more information, click here.
Dutchtown South Community Corporation: Executive Director
Dutchtown South Community Corporation (DSCC) is seeking candidates for their Executive Director position. Applications will be accepted through June 30th. This position will hold strategic, operational, and development responsibility for DSCC's staff, programs, expansion, and execution of the mission and strategic plan. Applicants are asked to send a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements to info@dutchtownsouth.org. For more more information and a full job description, click here.

CityArchRiver Foundation: Annual Giving Manager
CityArchRiver Foundation is seeking an Annual Giving Manager to design, implement, and coordinate an annual giving program. This will include managing donor relations, donor stewardship, and volunteer engagement. For more information on this position, click here.

City Management Internship With City Of Arnold, Missouri
The City of Arnold, Missouri is seeking applicants for a paid city management internship. The internship can last up to one year beginning June 2016, and work hours can be between 20 to 40 hours per week. Compensation for this role is $13 per hour. Applicants should e-mail a resume to Bryan Richison, Arnold City Administrator, at brichison@arnoldmo.org.

Part-Time Community Development And Social Service Internship
The St. Louis Economic Development Partnership is seeking two students to work as part-time interns to assist in supporting the St. Louis Promise Zone designation director. Interested applicants should first apply to the Summer Jobs League here and select St. Louis County as their work site once approved. For more information about the position, please contact Alyssa Weeks at aweeks@stlpartnership.com or 314-615-8143.

Financial Housing Counselor
The Community Action Agency of St. Louis County, Inc. is looking for a HUD certified housing counselor. This position will support clients by leading financial literacy and home ownership education sessions and providing one-on-one credit counseling. For more information and to apply, click here.
New Research on The Use of Historic Tax Credits In St. Louis Neighborhoods
This chapter from Kelly L. Kinahan’s Ph.D. dissertation (Cleveland State University) examines the use of the federal and Missouri historic rehabilitation tax credit (RTC) programs between 1997 and 2010 in two St. Louis neighborhoods, Lafayette Square and Grand Center/Midtown Alley. Kinahan's research traces each neighborhood's history from 1970 to 2010 and explores the environmental and cultural factors that influence the use of RTCs and their impact on neighborhood revitalization. Kinahan shows that historic tax credit programs can be used in combination with other approaches as an effective redevelopment and reinvestment tool in various neighborhood contexts. To access Kinahan's full chapter on St. Louis, "Urban Preservation amid Stability and Distress: A Comparative Case Study of Historic Tax Credit Investments in Two St. Louis Neighborhoods," click here.
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