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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

June 22, 2016


Our Responsibility To The Neighbors Of North City

By Claire Wolff, Director of Community Development at Grace Hill Settlement House

New resources, institutions and leadership will undoubtedly emerge in North St. Louis City over the next few years as a result of the National Geospatial Agency’s relocation, an application submitted for a Choice Neighborhood grant, designation as part of the Promise Zone and local elections in 2016 and 2017. Yet residents in the community indicate a deep-seated skepticism toward the potential of these developments to result in economic mobility and opportunity for their families.

Community development professionals and organizations must take on the responsibility of working across silos and alongside residents in surrounding North City communities, and especially with those on the lowest end of the income distribution, to ensure that they actually experience an increase in economic well-being, health, and quality of life as a result of the new investment.

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
Happy 4th Of July From The CBN Team
The Community Builders Exchange is taking a break on July 6th, but will return on July 20th. All of us at the Community Builders Network wish you a Happy 4th of July!
-Todd Swanstrom, Karl Guenther, Gary Newcomer, Amanda Bast, Auggie Mense, and Jenny Connelly-Bowen

HUD Proposes New Small Area Fair Market Rent Regulations for Housing Choice Voucher Program
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing a new rule that would change the way Fair Market Rent (FMR) standards are calculated for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in some areas. The program currently uses metropolitan area-wide FMRs to set voucher subsidy levels. This proposal would instead calculate FMRs at the zip code level, which could expand some recipients' opportunities to move to lower-poverty neighborhoods. Read the full announcement here.

HUD Announces First-Ever National Healthy Homes Month
HUD has declared this June the first-ever National Healthy Homes Month. The announcement is meant to help build awareness about the link between family health and housing hazards like asthma triggers, lead-based paint exposure, asbestos, infrastructure problems, and high radon gas levels. HUD Secretary Julián Castro released a video to accompany the announcement. To read the full press release from HUD, click here.

Paul McKee Plans To Develop Housing Project Near New NGA Site
By 2018, developer Paul McKee plans to complete 500 residential units north and east of the new NGA site in North St. Louis City. The project design is expected to be "urban and walkable" and will incorporate plans for currently vacant lots and historic rehab opportunities. McKee hopes the units can target both new residents and existing residents who will be relocated to make way for NGA's construction. To read the full story, click here.

Steve Stenger Announces Opposition to North-South MetroLink Extension
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger released a letter last week announcing his opposition to the North-South MetroLink expansion, stating that St. Louis County will not support the project until other potential routes are studied. Stenger's objections are linked primarily to the project's high cost and the process used to finalize the proposal. Extension supporters argue that the route will bring economic investment to impoverished areas, connect people and jobs, and reduce commute times. If you missed Mayor Slay's endorsement of the North-South MetroLink Extension last month, click here to read more.

DeSales Community Housing's Impact 2014 Building Honored With Award from Landmarks Association of St. Louis
DeSales Community Housing Corporation was recently awarded Landmarks Association of St. Louis's Most Enhanced Building Award for its work at 2829 Magnolia. The building is a part of DeSales's Impact 2014 project, which rehabilitated two vacant buildings and constructed nine new homes to create 36 new housing units total. You can read more about 2829 Magnolia here. To learn about this year's 14 Most Enhanced buildings, click here.

We Live Here from St. Louis Public Radio Takes A Look at Housing Issues
St. Louis Public Radio's project "We Live Here" will spend the next several episodes discussing housing issues. The first in this series, released June 12th, explores the problems and potential associated with the federal government's Housing Choice Voucher program. To listen to this episode, click here. To learn more about the "We Live Here" project, click here.

"A New Look At An Old Problem:" Vacancy And Abandonment in St. Louis
St. Louis's Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) owns over 11,000 parcels in St. Louis City. A new Vacant Land and Blight Task Force of public and private stakeholders has been meeting for several months to address this issue. New initiatives focused on transferring land away from LRA ownership and removing abandoned buildings include the City's Mow to Own Program, Fresh Coast Capital's Urban Tree Farm Initiative, the Metropolitan Sewer District's Project Clear, and neighborhood parcel surveys powered by the Loveland App. Read the full story here.

Park Central Development Organizes Ribbon Cutting for Completed Euclid Streetscape Project
The Euclid Streetscape project has been completed in the Central West End after over six months of work to bring lights, trees, and wider sidewalks to the east side of Euclid Avenue. To celebrate the hard work and accomplishment of all involved, Park Central Development has organized a ribbon cutting ceremony for 5:00 pm on June 22nd at the new Wild Flower patio on Euclid. All are welcome! Click here for more details.

Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis Community Arts Training Institute
The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis is now accepting applications for its next Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute. This place-based program teaches artists of all disciplines and people working in community settings how to use and partner on community-building tools and strategies. This round focuses on four clusters of St. Louis neighborhoods: the Ville and Greater Ville; Dutchtown; the West End and Visitation Park; and Berkeley, Dellwood, and Ferguson cities. Applications are due July 5th. For more information, click here.

Cost-Free Business Education For St. Louis Business Owners
Business education program Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) is accepting applications from growth-oriented businesses that have a presence in urban or economically underserved areas. Participating business owners will receive business education, marketing assistance, one-on-one coaching, and an opportunity to attend a day-long business education conference this fall. The program is being offered free of cost to participants thanks to the financial support of Regions Bank and the St. Louis Regional Chamber. For more information, click here.

NextSTL Shares 17 Images From St. Louis's Peak Population Years
Earlier this month, NextSTL shared 17 images of the City of St. Louis taken between 1949 and 1952. The City's population peaked at 856,796 in 1950. Some areas seem surprisingly unchanged—click here to take a look.


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 today 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 tomorrow, 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; registration is required. For more information, click here.

Global Cities Initiative Export Plan Launch from World Trade Center St. Louis
The World Trade Center St. Louis plans to launch its Global Cities Initiative Metro Export Plan at an event on June 28th from 4:00-6:00 pm. The plan positions St. Louis for high quality growth and competitiveness in the economic environment of the 21st century. The event is free, but registration is required. For more information and to register, click here.

Stronger Women For A Better Community
On June 30th, St. Louis Public Radio and the Women's Foundation of Greater St. Louis will host a panel discussion on the economic empowerment of St. Louis women. The event will feature Dr. Barbara Gault of the Institute for Women's Policy Research. For more information and to register, click here.

2016 Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
Registration is now open for the Center for Community Progress's seventh national Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference (RVP), to be held 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. For more information, click here.


Community Development Administration Capacity-Building Workshops for CDBG Funding
The St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA) is hosting four capacity-building workshops this month to prepare organizations for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding cycle. Sessions three and four (click the links to sign up), held June 28th and 29th, cover proposal development best practices and accounting requirements for CDBG-funded organizations.

Recruiting and Retaining Culturally Competent Volunteers
This Friday, June 24th, the Nonprofit Management and Leadership program at UMSL is hosting a workshop on cultural sensitivity in volunteer management led by instructor Hannah Shanks, who holds her MSW from St. Louis University. 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.

Landlord Training: Fire Prevention and Insuring Rental Property
Each month, Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC hosts a free Landlord Training workshop for all city landlords, investors, and other interested parties. On July 12th, the training session will discuss fire prevention and insuring rental property. The workshop will be held at the Missouri Botanical Garden (4344 Shaw Avenue) from 6:30-8:30 pm. For more information, click here.

Asset Management Training From The Brown School Of Social Work, NeighborWorks America
This three-course certificate program, Affordable Housing and Mixed Income Community Management, prepares professionals with key skills and knowledge to successfully manage property and services, maximize performance, and strategize sustainable growth. Courses can be taken as stand-alone opportunities or in pursuit of NeighborWorks America's "Asset Management Specialist" designation. Click here for details.

Planning for Successful And Equitable Revitalization From Smart Growth America
Smart Growth America has added to its existing technical assistance training opportunities a new program, Planning for Successful and Equitable Revitalization. The training aims to help communities revitalize successfully and capture revitalization benefits for families of all income levels and small businesses. The program's pilot round will fund revitalization initiatives in three cities in the Eastern U.S. Click here to learn more about how a Smart Growth America workshop could be useful for your organization.


June 22
Euclid Streetscape Ribbon Cutting Event

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



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 explore food access and poverty 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


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.

Missouri Foundation For Health: General Support For Advocacy
The Missouri Foundation for Health is accepting applications through tomorrow, 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.

EPA Brownfields Area-Wide Planning Grants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will distribute approximately 20 grants of up to $200,000 each to organizations that want to develop an area-wide plan to assess, clean up, and reuse a designated brownfield area. Projects should involve research and/or technical assistance that is targeted to a specific area. The deadline to submit a proposal is August 10th. Click here for more information.

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.

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.
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 For more more information and a full job description, click here.

Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc.: Chief Financial Officer
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. is seeking a Chief Financial Officer. This position reports to the President/CEO and is responsible for program administration and coordination, record keeping and fiscal duties, and supervision and training. For more information, click here.

STAR After-School Program Program Assistant
Northside Youth and Senior Service Center is seeking a part-time Program Assistant for its Striving To Achieve Results (STAR) after-school program. This position will help the Program Coordinator implement and plan daily after-school activities; provide direct services in intervention, assessment, and referral of students; and coordinate community resources for students and families. For more information, click here.

Positions Available At Beyond Housing
Beyond Housing is hiring for several positions, including a Home Ownership Education Coordinator, a Family Engagement Liaison (three positions available), a Foreclosure Intervention Department Coordinator, and an Annual Fund Director. Click the individual links for more information, or click here to view Beyond Housing's Careers page.

Summer Volunteer Opportunities at Grace Hill
Grace Hill is seeking volunteers to help with a range of projects and initiatives this summer, including work focused on beautification, Head Start, senior services, community events, and Grace Hill's Women's Business Center. Click here for more detailed information. Interested volunteers should fill out Grace Hill's volunteer application here and return it to the volunteer office.
National Low Income Housing Coalition Releases 2016 Out Of Reach Report
The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) released its annual Out of Reach report last month, which examines housing costs and wages across the U.S. Data from Out of Reach 2016 reveals that in all 50 states, an employee working full-time at the federal minimum wage is not able to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the local fair market rent rate. Nationwide, the Housing Wage—the wage a worker would need to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment at local market rents—is $20.30 per hour. In St. Louis, the Housing Wage is $16.15, almost $1.50 higher than the 2016 estimated hourly mean renter wage of $14.73. To access the full Out of Reach report, click here. You can view data and download the report for Missouri here.
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