James Heard

(courtesy of Housing and Urban Development department)

City officials are bullish about a comprehensive data analysis aimed at providing guidance to steer money more strategically for housing and community development programs.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently released a "market value analysis" of the city of St. Louis. It’s a snapshot that provides detailed information about foreclosures, housing prices, construction permits and commercial development around the city.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

When a Board of Aldermen committee made changes to St. Louis' community development block grant recommendations, it showed the city's legislative branch asserting itself against a power shift to the executive.

But not everybody was happy -- including the agency that gave the city the funds in the first place.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told St. Louis that it had to change the way community block grants were divided, most policymakers were generally enthusiastic about the change.

For years, block grants were divided up wards, giving aldermen more power and influence on where to direct the money. Now, St. Louis is moving toward a more centralized process, where organizations and agencies that want funding will have to apply and make a case for the money.