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Saint Louis Community Builders Exchange

March 1, 2017


Where Do St. Louis City's Mayoral Candidates Stand on Affordable Housing?

Candidate Responses from the February 22nd Mayoral Forum at the Sheldon

Q: A fourth of African-American families in the city spend more than 50 percent of their monthly income on housing. The need for affordable housing in the city is therefore overwhelming. If you become mayor, how will you address the issue of affordable housing in the city?

In their responses, candidates addressed strategies for handling properties owned by the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA), the use of inclusionary zoning, the benefits of mixed-income and mixed-use housing, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, and the need for a comprehensive plan for community development in the City of St. Louis.

To read candidate responses to this question and others, 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
Join us For CBN's Fifth Annual Awards Reception! 
Tickets are available for CBN's Fifth Annual Awards Reception! The event will be held April 27th from 6:00-8:00 pm at Washington University's Clark-Fox Forum at 6350 Forsyth Boulevard. Food and drinks will be provided! Plus: know an individual or organization who deserves an award? The deadline for nominations has been extended to today, March 1st!

Mayoral Forum Recap and Photos: Thanks For Participating!
Thanks to everyone who attended last week's 2017 Mayoral Forum at the Sheldon! Click here to take a look at some of our pictures from the event. If you missed the forum and would like to watch a video recap, check out Nine Network's broadcast here, or St. Louis Public Radio's part one and part two coverage.

St. Louis City Mayoral Election Voters' Guide
St. Louis City's mayoral primary is next Tuesday, March 7th. This Voters' Guide Candidate Questionnaire presented eight of the candidates with seven questions that span the Forward through Ferguson report, public safety, children and families, racial inequity, regional growth and opportunity, transportation infrastructure, and leadership. Download a PDF copy of the guide here.

Proposition Short-Term Loan (Prop S)
Proposition Short-Term Loan (Prop S) will ask St. Louis City voters on the March 7th ballot whether they want to approve new regulations on payday lenders, including a $5,000 permit to operate within city limits, inspections to monitor compliance with new rules, penalties for noncompliance, clear communication of interest rates and fees, and mandatory listing of alternatives to short-term lending.

New Legislation for Historic Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit Introduced at Federal Level
A bipartisan team in Congress has introduced the Historic Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2017, which proposes boosting the federal historic tax credit rebate from 20 to 30 percent for projects with rehab expenses less than $2.5 million. This act would be the first major update to the federal Historic Tax Credit since 1986. Congress has also introduced legislation to permanently extend the New Markets Tax Credit.

Introducing Adams Grove: New Mixed-income Housing Development In Forest Park Southeast
Rise Community Development (Rise) and Unify Grove Development are leading new mixed-income housing development in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. The developers were selected by Washington University Medical Center Redevelopment Corporation to develop property it assembled in the neighborhood south of Manchester. The two projects aim to spread recent revitalization from nearby areas and will produce about 150 contemporary new homes for rent and purchase. All will be complete in 2019. Adams Grove got some attention from NPR last week! Stop by this public forum on March 13th to learn more.

New Study Explores Strategies for Reducing St. Louis City's share of Vacant Properties
A new study has suggested "more organization, better communication and a bigger staff" to more effectively manage the 12,000 vacant properties that the City of St. Louis' Land Reutilization Authority owns. Proposed strategies include better public engagement, inventory analysis and categorization, and finding ways to ensure vacant properties generate revenue for the City.

Local Advocates, Practitioners, and Mayoral Candidates Weigh In On Soccer Stadium Proposal and Underfunded Affordable Housing Trust Fund
St. Louis City residents will vote April 4th on a proposal to allocate use tax revenue to build a soccer stadium west of Union Station downtown. The stadium would use the same funding source as the City's Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), which has been underfunded since 2011. Advocates argue that with the threat of funding cuts from Missouri Senate Bill 285, the AHTF is "more important than ever."

St. Louis City Minimum Wage Hike Upheld in Missouri Supreme Court
The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld St. Louis City's right to increase its minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2018. The court ruled that the St. Louis ordinance cannot be preempted by a state law that caps the Missouri minimum wage at $7.65.

Otis Williams and Molly Metzger Sound off on Tax Abatements and TIF
St. Louis on the Air interviewed Otis Williams of St. Louis Development Corporation and Molly Metzger of the Brown School at Washington University last week on the use of tax abatement and tax increment financing (TIF) as economic development tools in the St. Louis region. 

St. Louis Public Radio Explores "Where The Sidewalk Ends" In St. Louis County
This segment from St. Louis Public Radio's Curious Louis series explores walkability issues in St. Louis County, noting that "auto-centric street design has divided where people live from the rest of community life for nearly 70 years." Older communities like Maplewood, Shrewsbury, Kirkwood, and Overland are more walkable, but overall, pedestrian infrastructure is lacking in the County's 90 municipalities. Some local organizations are working to transform area streets into public places that people love.

Harvard Graduate Students Focus on How To Combat Segregation in St. Louis
Students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design spent the fall semester working on projects that could help examine and combat segregation in St. Louis. "Affirmatively Further: Fair Housing After Ferguson" students explored the history of intentional segregation and spent a week in St. Louis meeting with local practitioners and residents to brainstorm tools for inclusion. They then partnered with local groups to create proposals for their "client," Forward through Ferguson.

Why Housing Messages Backfire and What We Can Do About It
This brief from Enterprise Community Partners and The FrameWorks Institute discusses six common themes that surface when the public rejects messages about affordable housing. The report then lists ten strategies that advocates can use to ensure that their communication and outreach about housing issues is more readily heard and understood.

City of St. Louis CDA Announces Winter 2016 NOFA Awards
The City of St. Louis Community Development Administration (CDA) has published its list of funding reservations awarded through the Winter 2016 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) round. Applicants will receive a mailed letter confirming their status. Contact Matthew Sisul, CDA Residential Development Manager, with questions.


The Promise of St. Louis: Neighborhood Retail to the Next Day Economy
On March 7th, the Urban Land Institute St. Louis will host a breakfast presentation and panel discussion with local experts on the future of the retail sector and logistics in St. Louis.

Doing Business in the City Panel Discussion
This March 8th panel discussion with City License Collector Mavis Thompson, SLDC Executive Director Otis Williams, and CDA Executive Director Alana Green will discuss city contract opportunities, financing programs for small businesses, free technical assistance, and updates on NGA and other major construction projects.

Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference
The Federal Reserve System's 10th Biennial Community Development Research Conference will be held in Washington, D.C. on March 23rd and 24th. This year's topic is "The Economic Futures of Kids and Communities."

Third Speaker Series Event from UMSL's Public Policy Administration Program
On March 30th, UMSL's Public Policy Administration Program will host Pat Kelly, Executive Director of the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis, for a presentation on the Municipal League's initiative to develop a "unity of purpose" for the St. Louis region.

Hands-on Racial Equity Conference and Training from CREA
The St. Louis Civil Rights Enforcement Agency (CREA), OneSTL, City Garden Montessori School, and Forward Through Ferguson are hosting a day-long training session on April 1st at City Montessori School: "Fair Housing, Community Voice and Civic Infrastructure via a Racial Equity Lens."

OneSTL Sustainability Summit
OneSTL's inaugural Sustainability Summit will foster conversation on how organizations and individuals can help identify, set, and achieve metrics and targets for sustainability in the St. Louis region. The event will be held on April 5th on the Washington University campus.

EHOC 2017 Fair Housing Conference
The Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) will host its 2017 Fair Housing Conference on April 6th. The keynote speaker this year is Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted. Other speakers and a full agenda will be announced soon.

Missouri Workforce Housing Association Property Management Conference
The Missouri Workforce Housing Association (MOWHA) will host its First Annual Property Management Conference April 24th-25th at the Holiday Inn Executive Center in Columbia, Missouri. Please contact conference co-chair Deb Giffin to sign up to attend or help plan.

People & Places Conference
The National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) is partnering with several other organizations to host the peer-learning People & Places Conference for community development practitioners May 31st through June 2nd in Arlington, Virginia.


Neighborhood Leadership Academy
The Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA) provides hands-on leadership training that emphasizes community building strategies and principles, project planning, and organizational leadership practices. NLA 2017 will be held March 8th-May 17th. Sign up by todayMarch 1st!

Bank On, Save Up With DSCC and Midwest BankCentre
Dutchtown South Community Corporation and Midwest BankCentre are teaming up to offer financial empowerment classes through the Bank On Save Up program. Classes aim to help community members build a path to prosperity, wealth building, and homeownership. The next class is tomorrow, March 2nd.

Homebuyer Training from Lemay Housing Partnership
Lemay Housing Partnership, Inc. provides homebuyer training services for home buyers in all counties in the St. Louis metro area. Participants learn about the home purchase process, homeownership responsibilities, and affordable loan products and financial assistance. The next orientation session is March 14th.

Grace Hill Financial Empowerment Workshop
Grace Hill's next Financial Empowerment Workshop, First Time Home Buying Seminar, will be held on March 7th. Attendees can receive a certificate for attending 4 out of 6 classes. Please email Alnita Smiley to RSVP.

Legal Issues in Volunteer Management
On March 24th, UMSL's Nonprofit Management and Leadership Program will host a workshop on a variety of legal topics that affect the oversight and management of volunteers.

Leadership in Development & Give STL Day Strategy Session
The St. Louis Community Foundation and Archford Capital Strategies are hosting a free combined Leadership in Development Boot Camp and Give STL Day Strategy Session on March 29th.

Fundamentals of Economic Development
Registration is open for UMSL's Fundamentals of Economic Development Chancellor's Certificate Program. Sessions are taught by senior economic development practitioners and cover economic and community development concepts and tools. The program runs March 1st-May 3rd. Attendees can sign up for individual modules if they prefer.


March 1
DSCC So Fresh, So Clean, So Creative Stakeholder Meeting #4

March 6
St. Louis Food Park Truck Opening Day

March 11
Trailnet's Beans, Bikes, & Brews

March 13
Public Forum on Adams Grove Development

March 25
Rise 20th Anniversary Gala

April 27
Community Builders Network 5th Annual Awards Reception

April 29
Park Central Development 4th Annual Gala

May 11
Give STL Day 2017



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're sharing maps that examine the spread of vacancy in St. Louis since 1970. 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.

Grants for Community Organizing from the Sparkplug Foundation
The Sparkplug Foundation funds start-up organizations and new projects focused on community organizing, education, or music. The Foundation focuses on small organizations and small, one-time grants that can have a big impact, generally by funding materials or activities that can help an organization become more sustainable. Answers to preliminary questions for the spring 2017 cycle are due April 10th.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program
This program is seeking teams of three (two researchers, one community member) to conduct community-engaged, action-oriented, and equity-focused health research to drive community health improvements. Applicant organizations selected will receive up to $350,000 to complete their projects over the three-year program period. Applications are due March 8th.

CommunityWINS Grant Program
The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) and the Wells Fargo Foundation have partnered to sponsor the CommunityWINS (Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) Grant Program. USCM-member cities may nominate up to three IRS-qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofits for programs focused on neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and/or job creation. Six awardees will be selected across three population categories. Applications are due March 17th.

Improve Your Ability to Access Affordable Housing Program Funding
The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Des Moines' pre-application period (March 1st-31st) offers organizations applying for Affordable Housing Program awards with one-on-one technical assistance from FHLB's community investment staff. FHLB will provide feedback regarding your project's eligibility, feasibility, and scoring. More than $40 million in grants is available for 2017.

Karma for Cara Foundation Youth Microgrants
The Karma for Cara Foundation provides youth 18 and under with microgrants of $250-$1,000 to fund service projects in their communities. Application deadlines are seasonal; the next round is due April 1st.

Activating Community Opportunities Using Museums and Libraries As Assets
This grant opportunity invites libraries, museums, community entities, and higher education institutions to complete projects that will help libraries, archives, and museums (LAMs) work alongside communities to achieve positive change. Projects should exemplify how LAMs can provide trusted spaces for ongoing community dialogue and should use and adapt approaches drawn from the collective impact, social well-being, and community development arenas. Applications are due April 3rd.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Community Economic Development Projects
This grant opportunity from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides funding for 501(c)(3) CDCs to implement well-planned, financially viable, and innovative projects to enhance job creation and business development for low-income individuals. Projects that align with the Promise Zones Initiative or Choice Neighborhoods Program are encouraged. Applications are due May 16th.

Calvert Foundation Loan Program
The Calvert Foundation supplies loans to community organizations that act as financial intermediaries, including community development financial institutions (CDFIs), loan funds, microfinance institutions, affordable housing developers, and social enterprises. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis; the Foundation's Investment Committee makes investment decisions on a quarterly basis.
Bevo Mill Neighborhood: RFP For Branding and Logo Design
The Bevo Mill Neighborhood has issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for branding strategy and logo/letterhead design services for the Bevo Community Improvement District (CID). Proposals are due Monday, March 6th.

Jobs Available at Great Rivers Greenway
Great Rivers Greenway is currently hiring for several internship opportunities, a Part-Time Administrative Assistant, and Seasonal Field Staff to perform greenway maintenance and operations work full-time from May through August. Visit Great Rivers Greenway's careers page here.

Internship Opportunity: University City Department Of Community Development
The University City Department of Community Development is hiring an intern to perform a variety of tasks, including community outreach, volunteer organizing, coordinating special events, and marketing. Day-to-day tasks will vary and include field work, office work, and some clerical work. Applications are due March 10th. The internship will start in April.

Internship Opportunity: Hamilton Heights Neighborhood Organization
The Hamilton Heights Neighborhood Organization is seeking an intern to research grant opportunities, assist in creating social media strategy and content, and assist in creating promotional material for the organization. Preferred applicants will be able to attend committee and Board of Director meetings in the evening.

STL Youth Jobs Application Open for 2017
The STL Youth Jobs Summer 2017 application is open! STL Youth Jobs employs St. Louis youth between the ages of 16 and 24 and provides job readiness and financial literacy training, career and mentoring support, and connection to a job coach. Once trained, youth are placed in jobs at employer businesses and organizations, and the STL Youth Jobs program pays their salary. Flyers for employers and participant youth are available here. Youth can apply to the program here.
School Choices Among Housing Choice Voucher Recipients in St. Louis
This paper, co-authored by Molly Metzger of the Brown School at Washington University, explores how Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) renters in the St. Louis area take school options into account when deciding where to live. Previous research has shown that HCV renters are less likely than others below the poverty line to live in neighborhoods with high-performing schools. This study, which included 17 interviews with area urban and suburban families, reveals a complex relationship between HCV recipients and school choice. Not all renters chose to send their children to neighborhood schools after moving.
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