Affordable Housing | St. Louis Public Radio

Affordable Housing

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Housing experts say goals to build more moderate-cost housing to St. Louis County could founder without incentives. Developers are less likely to build properties for low-income renters without them because the cost of development could outweigh profits.

The 2018 For the Sake of All report, “Segregation in St. Louis: Dismantling the Divide,” shows how neighborhoods a few miles apart vary in unemployment, poverty, income and life expectancy rates. It identifies how a few changes in housing policies in the region could give low-income households greater access to areas with more opportunities, such as employment. Several organizations, including ArchCity Defenders, Empower Missouri and Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, helped produce the report. 

Michael and Danielle Abril pose for a portrait in front of their home in Kirkwood's Meacham Park neighborhood. April 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael and Danielle Abril are active members of the Meacham Park Neighborhood Association. They show up at meetings. They volunteer. They help inform others in the community.

“Meacham Park is a blessing to us because it allowed us to be relatively close to my work and in a great place, a great community,” Michael Abril said.

The neighborhood is a mostly black area of Kirkwood that had been segregated from the rest of the city for years. But that’s changing.

Kate Reese (left) and David Young (right) discussed housing needs in the region and the role the St. Louis Housing Partnership plays in meeting them. Bruce Dorpalen joined the conversation by phone to provide statistics on national housing efforts.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

Buying and owning a home can be daunting even for those with plenty of resources. But for low-income people, the challenges may seem insurmountable. The nonprofit St. Louis Housing Partnership provides a number of services that help those with low to moderate income obtain and keep their homes or obtain appropriate rental housing.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Kate Reese, executive director of St. Louis Housing Partnership, David Young, Director of Capacity Building of Housing Action of Illinois, and Bruce Dorpalen, executive director of National Housing Resource Center. They discussed housing needs in the region and the role the St. Louis Housing Partnership plays in meeting them.

Jason Purnell (left) and Will Jordan (right) discuss current housing inequities in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. But how far has equitable housing come in St. Louis? The Delmar Divide is among the most noticeable forms of housing segregation in the area.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked about a new report on segregation in housing in the St. Louis region. On April 25, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council and the For the Sake of All partnership will address the issue at the Fair Housing Conference held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL).

David Noble, Kimberly McKinney and Gary Newcomer discussed the state of housing affordability in the region on Monday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Homeownership is associated with a slew of positive outcomes: better health, higher likelihood of sustained employment, safer communities, self-sufficiency in families and more. And yet, the dream of homeownership is becoming further out of reach for many families in the St. Louis region.

Biddle Housing Opportunities Center. Biddle is partly run by the St. Patrick Center, a homeless service provider. Biddle is not only an emergency shelter, but also provides help for homeless, including finding housing. May 5, 2017
Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

David Perry is a tall and muscular-looking guy. He has a construction job. His appearance and circumstances might not reveal it, but Perry is homeless.

For nearly six months he has been on the waiting list for housing at the St. Patrick Center, an organization that works with the city to end homelessness. 

Landlords recruited to rent to St. Louis' homeless veterans

Apr 7, 2017
Moments after recieving the keys to his new apartment, Nicholas Palazzolo checks out the living room and balcony.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Nicholas Palazzolo has been living in his truck since late November last year. At age 73, spending the coldest months of the year in a vehicle isn’t easy — but Palazzolo keeps his situation in perspective.

“I had it easy by comparison,” said Palazzolo. “There are others that are going through some pretty horrific times for an infinite variety of reasons.”

A slide from a presentation during an April 2015  fair housing conference shows how Section 8 vouchers are concentrated in north St. Louis and north St. Louis County, and that most voucher holders are black.
courtesy Poverty & Race Research Action Council

Housing officials have spent months educating renters and landlords about a new St. Louis ordinance — one designed to protects those using government rental vouchers.

But, according to the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, some landlords are still ignoring the rule and denying homes to people who get the government's help to pay their bills.

Pruitt-Igoe, with the Vaughn Housing Complex at right
U.S. Geological Survey

A researcher with the Economic Policy Institute says the federal government needs to recognize that it played a deliberate role in creating racially segregated neighborhoods in cities like St. Louis.

At a Missouri History Museum Symposium Saturday, the think tank’s Richard Rothstein drew a direct line between today’s segregated schools and neighborhoods and two federal housing programs from the 1930s, 40s and 50s: public housing and subsidized construction.

A portrait of Will Jordan, the executive director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing Opportunity Council. February 2016.
File Photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Can access to more data and a revised funding application help the St. Louis region and the federal government fulfill the promise of the Fair Housing Act of 1968? The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development hopes so.

Affordable housing advocates gathered at the Saint Louis University law school building Friday to discuss the possible impact of a new HUD rule that requires communities that receive federal housing grants look at best practices nationwide when renewing their grant applications.

As of right now, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger effectively has a five-person coalition on the St. Louis County Council — including its two Republican members.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council could hold a final vote tomorrow on legislation requiring landlords of rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County to obtain licenses. The stated intent is to ensure proper maintenance of the buildings.

But the bill is receiving pushback from landlords and some housing advocates who contend the measure is too burdensome -- and could produce unintended consequences, including potential for discrimination.

Chris Krehmeyer
Provided by Beyond Housing

If you ask many St. Louisans what they like about the region, many will cite that its cost of living is a big plus. Housing in St. Louis is generally believed to be affordable — but not for all.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 12, 2011 - One of the goals of the Federal Housing Administration has been to have as many Americans as possible own their own homes. As President George W. Bush said in 2002, "We can put light where there's darkness, and hope where there's despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home."