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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

June 24, 2015

FROM THE FIELD

We Need New Sources of Funding for Community Development

By Todd Swanstrom and Karl Guenther


On June 9th the House of Representatives approved 2016 funding for Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD; H.R. 2577). The vote was 216 to 210. Six votes decided that the National Housing Trust Fund should be de-funded and barred from receiving additional funding, Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing funds should be eliminated, Choice Neighborhoods should be cut by 75%, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) cut $6 million, and enforcement of fair housing law weakened.

If this appropriations bill becomes law, Missouri and Illinois will lose out on millions of dollars from the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) that was slated to be allocated to states during 2016; St. Louis’ two Choice Neighborhoods planning efforts will have an even harder time winning implementation grants; and local HOME funds will be cut. These decreases in funding come after 10 years of cuts to CDBG and HOME funding. St. Louis County, St. Louis City, Madison County, and St. Clair County are receiving less than 50% of the CDBG and HOME funding that they received in 2003 when adjusted for inflation. Federal cuts will damage our ability to have a well-functioning community development system, unless we do something about it.

To read their full article, 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
 
House Passes FY16 THUD Bill
On June 9, the US House passed the FY16 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The bill's reductions in FY16 appropriations leaves a $1.5 billion short fall in funding for current THUD programs. The programs negatively impacted by this legislation include the Public Housing Capital Fund, Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing, Choice Neighborhoods, National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling, and Community Development Block Grants. To read more information about H.R. 2577, click here. The US Senate began considering the details of the Senate's THUD bill yesterday. For updates on the Senate's considerations, click here.


Long empty Arcade Building to get new life as apartments
The Arcade Building in downtown St. Louis has been vacant since 1978 but will soon reopen as an apartment building with 282 units. Webster University will be one of the major tenants of the building. There are also plans for amenities and affordable units to attract artists. This $118 million project is scheduled to open in December. To read more on this development, click here.


St. Louis Receives $200,000 Grant from National Initiative to Harness Data and Technology to Improve the Lives of Low-Income People - Rise to Manage Project
Rise, OpenDataSTL, and the City and County of St. Louis recently received a $200,000 grant to implement and leverage data solutions that improve government services and operations affecting low-income residents. Rise released a press release announcing this grant and explaining its impact for the St. Louis region. To read that press release, click here.


California Supreme Court Ruling Sets Precedent for Inclusionary Housing in State
The California Supreme Court released their decision on the California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose on Monday June 15. The lawsuit challenged a San Jose ordinance requiring 15% of residential developments to be dedicated for affordable housing. The state's Supreme Court ruling effectively allows California cities to enact inclusionary housing policy. To read the full article from The Daily Californian, click here.

Housing Affordability Trends Worsening for Lowest Income Renters
This blog post  from National Low Income Housing Coalition describes a recently released map on the availability of affordable housing. The map, from the Urban Institute, shows how affordable housing stock is not keeping up with the growth in extremely low income households. To view their blog post, click here. The map shows that in the City of St. Louis, the number of affordable units available for extremely low-income (ELI) renters has declined steadily since 2000. In 2000, there were 44 units for every 100 ELI renters. In 2013, there were 29 units for every 100 ELI renters. To view the map, click here.

CONFERENCES & SEMINARS

Crowdfunding for Real Estate: What Does it Mean for St. Louis?
The Urban Land Institute of St. Louis is hosting this panel discussion on the leveraging crowdfunding to generate capital for real estate developments and improvements. This discussion is set to take place June 24 at the Palladium. Fore more information, click here

More Choices for More Families
The Poverty and Race Research Action Council, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is hosting the 6th Annual National Conference on Housing Mobility. This two day conference will take place July 15 through July 16 in Chicago. For more information about this conference and to register, click here.


Fifth Annual MOWHA Conference
On Wednesday, July 8, the Missouri Workforce Housing Association will host its fifth annual conference in Kansas City. This 3 day conference will feature events for those working with or interested in Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Affordable Housing programs. For more information on this conference, click here.


12th Annual Missouri Brownfields Conference
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is hosting the 12th Annual Missouri Brownfields Conference on July 13 in the Lake of the Ozarks. The conference will share information on funding and government assistance programs related to brownfields clean up. For more information about this conference, click here.

TRAINING & WORKSHOPS
Volunteering Across the Life Span: Engaging Volunteers of All Ages
This June 26th training by UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program is part of the Chancellor's Certificate on Volunteer Management. This course will focus on issues from recruitment to training to retaining volunteers of different ages. For more information and to register, click here.

CDA Nonprofit Workshop: CDBG Proposal Best Practices
June 29th from 9:30am to 12:00pm St. Louis City CDA will cover best practices in proposals for the 2016 CDBG funding cycle. To register for the training, click here.

CDA Nonprofit Workshop: CDBG Financial Management
Join St. Louis City CDA June 30th from 1-4pm for a training on financial management of CDBG funds. CDA staff will provide government accounting updates, discuss 2016 application cost allocating methods and budgeting, and conduct an interactive session on spending and record keeping practices for agencies reimbursed on performance basis. To register for the training, click here.

EVENTS

WHO WE ARE

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!

Global Green Sustainable Planning Technical Assistance
Global Green USA is now accepting proposals for organizations interested in technical assistance for increasing the sustainability of their neighborhood. Global Green USA will award six communities during this period. The deadline to apply is July 17. For more information, click here.

Invest STL Grant
Invest STL is currently accepting grant applications through July 24. The Invest STL grant provides funding for projects that plan to improve a St. Louis community. To see the winner of the last grant cycle and for more information on the application process, click here.

Strong Local Economies
The Surdna Foundation has funding available to provide support for minority owned businesses and to reduce barriers to economic mobility. To view more information and to apply for a Strong Local Economies Grant, click here.
Student and Family Mentor
Grace Hill Settlement Housing is seeking full time student and family mentors to assist with their School Partnerships program. Mentors will work with and assist families in need in an effort to improve the home lives and environment of students in a local elementary school. For more information on this position, click here.
Worst Case Housing Needs: 2015 Report to Congress
HUD recently released a report on trends in the prevalence of worst case housing needs faced by very low-income renter households from 2011 to 2013. The report found a slight decline in the number of instances in which very low-income renter households faced worst case housing needs, from around 50% of very low-income renter households to 41.7%. Despite this decline, the report finds that from 2011 to 2013 the number of affordable units available for very low-income renters declined considerably due in part to an increase in higher-income renters. This report was posted to HUD's website last month, and can be found here. To read a summary of the report's findings, click here.
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