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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

May 13, 2015


A Prescription for Adequate Housing and Community Development in Ferguson, St. Louis

By Jim Roos

We need systemic change in strategy for adequate Housing and Community Development. The current process of gut rehab or new construction, fueled by tax credits, produces expensive units, at high subsidy, and often concentrates rental units in large complexes like Canfield Green in Ferguson. 

In St. Louis the average cost per unit of gut rehab/new construction is about $185,000.  Two years ago Neighborhood Enterprise, Inc. participated in rehabbing four, large, 3-bedroom, 2-bath units for owner occupants where the average cost was $330,000 and average subsidy was $240,000. Not only are many of these projects expensive per unit, but the tax credits are inefficient.

To read his suggestions for a better process, 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
Video of Community Builders Network Awards Reception
This past March, the Community Builders Network hosted their 3rd Annual Awards Reception at the Cortex Building in the Central West End. CBN partnered with STL-TV to record this year's event so people who could not make it could experience the atmosphere and hear from leaders in the region on the importance of community development. To view the online video of this year's event, click here.

'For the Sake of All' Project urges community action
St. Louis Public Radio's Don Marsh interviewed Washington University Professor Jason Purnell about his work with the 'For the Sake of All' project. In the interview, Professor Purnell described the second phase of the project, which includes implementing some of the project's recommendations. To read St. Louis Public Radio's summary or to hear the interview, click here.

'Get to Know M.E.' Campaign Celebrates Metro East Community
A new collaborative effort of 23 businesses and organizations is working to improve the image of communities in the Metro East by raising awareness of its assets. St. Louis Public Radio's Don Marsh interviewed Carol Bartle of "Get to Know M.E." and Professor Andrew Theising of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. To read about this new collaborative or to listen to the interview, click here

Early 20th Century St. Louis  Structures May Be Nominated for National Historic Register
Two St. Louis communities and two buildings are currently being evaluated to be nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. The two neighborhoods are Claverach Park of Clayton and the Dutchtown South Historic District of the City of St. Louis. To read about each of these neighborhoods and their potential designation, click here.

HUD Announces Changes to Distressed Asset Stabilization Program
HUD recently announced changes to its Distressed Asset Stabilization Program (DASP). The new changes would delay the foreclosure process for a year and give nonprofits more opportunities to purchase vacant properties. To read more about this announcement, click here.

St. Louis and St. Louis County Promise Zone Map
At the end of April, HUD Secretary Julian Castro visited the Metropolitan Education and Training Center in Wellston to hold a press conference on St. Louis' designation as a Promise Zone. The St. Louis Business Journal published an article summarizing that press conference. To read that article, click here. HUD also released a map displaying the designated parts of St. Louis within the Promise Zone. To view that map, click here


Rise YP and ULI Healthy Communities Panel Discussion
On May 20, Rise Young Professionals and the Urban Land Institute of St. Louis are presenting a panel discussion on the efforts of the Jefferson Collaborative to strengthen the overall health of the South Jefferson community. For more information and to register for this free event, click here.

Community Action Forum: Investing in Coordinated School Health
On May 28, the For the Sake of All project is presenting this forum on improving health outcomes for K-12 students in area communities. This forum is free to attend, but registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.

St. Louis Earth Day Symposium
The St. Louis Earth Day Symposium is slated for June 3rd at St. Louis University's Il Monastero from 8am - 5:30pm. For more information and to see the call for poster, click here.



Credit Building Training
On May 21, the Credit Builders Alliance, JPMorgan Chase and Justine Petersen are hosting a Credit Building Training for nonprofits seeking to develop an asset building strategy. To attend this workshop, please RSVP by May 15. For more information, click here.

America Walks Take Action Webinar Series
The last of the America Walks free webinar series of free webinars is set to take place May 22 at 1pm Central Time. This last webinar will discuss US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx's Mayor's Challenge for "Safer People, Safer Streets." For more information on these opportunities, click here.

Meet the Donor - Funder Strategies: Updates and Information
On Wednesday May 27, the Gateway Center for Giving is featuring this panel discussion with local funders on ways to improve their community impact. This discussion will take place at the Missouri History Museum from 3:30 to 5pm. For more information and to sign up, click here.



The St. Louis Community Builders Exchange is a partnership between the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis, the St. Louis Home Repair Network, and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to bring you quality up-to-date community development information. Look for the St. Louis Community Builders Exchange every other Wednesday morning!

Competitive Affordable Housing Program Subsidy
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines has announced plans to open the application process for its Competitive Affordable Housing Program on May 15. For more information about this competitive subsidy, click here.

Come Together Ferguson Fund
The Come Together Ferguson Fund is offering small grants between $2,000 and $5,000 for organizations working with youth in summer enrichment programs. Proposal submissions for this grant are due by May 22. For more information, click here.

Safe Places To Play Grant
The U.S. Soccer Foundation is accepting applications for its Safe Places to Play grant. This grant is awarded to programs that support soccer programs and soccer fields in urban areas. Letters of intent are due by May 29 and the deadline to apply is June 5. For more information on this grant, click here.

Major Gifts Manager
Habitat for Humanity St. Louis is seeking a Major Gifts Manager to assist with revenue development efforts with private, nonprofit, and individual donors. The deadline to apply is this Friday, May 15 at 4pm. For more information on this position, click here.
Resource Development Administrative Assistant
Habitat for Humanity is seeking a Resource Development Administrative Assistant to assist Resource Development staff in receiving gifts and donations and to manage the donor and volunteer database. The deadline to apply for this position is Friday, May 29 at 5pm. For more information, click here.

Capacity Building VISTA
St. Vincent Greenway, Inc. and Great Rivers Greenway are seeking a full-time Americorp VISTA to build capacity for community development projects and programs along the St. Vincent Greenway. For more information about this position, click here.

DeSales Community Housing Corporation is seeking a financial manager to manage the organization's accounting, budgeting and financial oversight. For more information about this position, click here.


The Impacts of Neighborhoods On Intergenerational Mobility
Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard University recently released a study on the impact of several neighborhood characteristics on adult income and life outcomes. Their research shows that communities with greater racial integration, income equality, better schools and safety, and more intact families have higher economic mobility. Their research also shows a strong correlation between the number of years a child lives in a low opportunity neighborhood and poor outcomes later in life. To read the executive summary of their research, click here. The New York Times has also released  a map highlighting their research. To view their map, click here.
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