Affordable Housing | St. Louis Public Radio

Affordable Housing

Marissanne Lewis-Thompson | St. Louis Public Radio

Families are nearly settled into 41 new three-bedroom homes recently completed in Pine Lawn.

The $10.5 million Pine Lawn Manor, developed by Beyond Housing, is bringing more affordable housing to the north St. Louis County municipality. The community development corporation also built a $7 million development that includes 31 single-family three-bedroom homes in 2017. 

Gov. Mike Parson met with Beloved Streets of America CEO Melvin White on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Hamilton Avenue to discuss ways to renew the desolate area and bring jobs and quality housing to the area on Aug. 22, 2019.
Andrea Henderson | St. Louis Public Radio

At the corner of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and Hamilton Avenue, there are vacant lots, several abandoned businesses and the construction site of the St. Louis nonprofit, Beloved Streets of America. 

The organization invited Gov. Mike Parson out on Thursday to examine the desolate areas surrounding the 5900 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. Parson walked down the block on Hamilton Avenue with the organization’s CEO, Melvin White.

(May 1, 2019) Guest host Sharon Stevens (left) disccused a new report that outlines affordable housing solutions with St. Louis County Affordable Housing Trust Fund Task Force co-chairs Adrian Bracy (center) and Chris Krehmeyer on Wednesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A new report by the St. Louis County Affordable Housing Trust Fund Task Force outlines various “place-based” and “mobility-based” strategies to create pathways for very low- and low-income families to move into neighborhoods with existing opportunity.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, guest host Sharon Stevens discussed the report in depth with Chris Krehmeyer and Adrian Bracy, co-chairs of the task force. Chris Krehmeyer is the CEO of Beyond Housing and Adrian Bracy is the CEO of the YWCA of Metro St. Louis.

The task force was established last year by then-County Executive Steve Stenger. Members of the coalition hope to continue its mission despite Stenger’s resignation on Monday.

EHOC's Will Jordan (at left) and Wash U's Hank Webber (center) and Molly Metzger joined Tuesday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, executive producer Alex Heuer led a discussion about local efforts to address segregation in neighborhoods near and far.

Joining the discussion were Washington University’s Molly Metzger and Hank Webber, who are co-editors of the new book “Facing Segregation: Housing Policy Solutions for a Stronger Society.” Will Jordan, the executive director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, or EHOC, also participated in the conversation.

Esther Shin is president of Urban Strategies, a national nonprofit that is headquartered in St. Louis.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

A 2018 study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition showed that a St. Louisan who earns minimum wage would have to work 81 hours per week in order to afford a modest apartment. That reality is part of what Esther Shin describes as a “national affordable-housing challenge” stretching from San Francisco to New York City.

Shin is president of Urban Strategies, Inc., a national nonprofit based in St. Louis that is among several organizations working to address the crisis.

Volunteers look for people experiencing homelessness at the Delmar Loop Metro stop in July 2016 during St. Louis County's summer point-in-time count.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis non-profit is creating opportunities aimed at reducing homelessness in the city.

Project Outreach St. Louis launched in early December with a goal to cut homeless rates among youth aging out of foster care, veterans and previously incarcerated people in the St. Louis area.

But the goal of Project Outreach St. Louis isn’t just to provide housing to these groups; it’s to give the individuals the resources and skills to retain and invest in their own housing.

January Harris is fully employed but relies on Section 8 housing vouchers to live in a sub-standard apartment.
Lateshia Beachum | The Center for Public Integrity

January Harris meets all the “personal responsibility requirements” the Trump administration and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson say boost people out of poverty and government-assisted housing.

She’s employed full-time as a receptionist at a local nonprofit corporation. Harris has a long work history in home health care and is a certified phlebotomist. She continued working through multiple moves around greater St. Louis— even through personal tragedy when a gunman shot and killed her eldest daughter four years ago.

Maplewood city attorney Craig Biesterfeld and City Manager Marty Corcoran look through the city code during a meeting with a reporter at Maplewood City Hall.
Jenny Simeone-Cases | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood’s thriving business district and respected schools are attractive to potential residents. But, aspiring residents must first apply and be approved for an occupancy permit. Even after such a permit is granted, the city’s public nuisance ordinance allows it to be revoked under certain conditions.

The ACLU of Missouri and the St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council on Wednesday are co-hosting what they bill as a “community discussion” about Maplewood's public nuisance ordinance. The event is intended to help residents understand the ordinance and their rights when it comes to enforcement.

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

Updated June 20 at 4:30 p.m. with additional comments from County Executive Steve Stenger and a local housing expert. - A key recommendation from the St. Louis Fair Housing Conference in April is prompting action in St. Louis County.

The county has assembled a task force to develop recommendations for promoting housing "equity, fairness and inclusion in our region," St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger announced at a news conference Wednesday morning. 

The task force will explore what kinds of affordable housing county residents need and how to finance the trust fund.
Creative Commons

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, Sept. 13, 2013 - If this article were to appear in the Ladue News or Town & Style, you might find it decorated with lots of pretty pictures of the people who turned out for the St. Louis’ Equity Fund’s 25th anniversary party Thursday (Sept. 12) at the Randall Gallery downtown. And such a handsome and stylish lot they were.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 14, 2012 - When you think about good design, do you imagine a couple of hipsters in oversize glasses and skinny jeans sipping mint-infused, simple-syrup cocktails over a table of reclaimed wood?

An exhibit opening at Washington University’s Kemper Art Museum Friday, Sept. 14 turns that image on its head. In “Design with the Other 90%: CITIES,” the smart sipping involves a wide blue straw and swamp water.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 6, 2012 - Developing innovative public-private partnerships is one of the best ways to address the nation's persistent housing problems. Or so concluded a forum sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Jack Kemp Foundation in St. Louis on Tuesday. The forum gathered national experts together to examine solutions to the nation's housing challenges.

"Too many Americans remain trapped in unaffordable or unsafe housing, yet with scarce federal resources and partisan gridlock in Washington any real solution may seem impossible," said former U.S. Sen. Christopher S. "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., a co-chair of BPC's housing commission.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 31, 2012 - WASHINGTON – Ever since the housing bubble popped four years ago, politicians and policy experts have been scrambling to find effective models – including private-public partnerships – to help low- and moderate-income Americans afford good housing.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 4, 2012 - For young professional transplants to the St. Louis area, the most perplexing question may not be “Where did you go to high school?” Instead, it may be asking themselves, “Who am I going to hang out with after work?”

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."

Smith not totally out of Missouri politics

May 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 18, 2011 - The final week of Missouri's legislative session was filled with the usual behind-the-scenes negotiations and lobbying, in many cases involving non-elected players -- aides, lobbyists and simply influential individuals.

Some of those players aren't known to the general public. But some are. They include former state Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, who has been working as a paid consultant for the Missouri Workforce Housing Association, a group that advocates for affordable housing for low-income people.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 14, 2009 - Political science professor Terry Jones and others challenged the faith community on Saturday to work harder to address educational and housing inequities that stem from race.

Jones, a professor at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, was the keynote speaker at the Living Justice Speaker Series at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church ballroom, 3628 Lindell Boulevard.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 2, 2009 - Missouri has been at the heart of the nation's story of race from the first chapter. It entered the Union as part of the Missouri Compromise; it drove abolitionist Elijah Lovejoy across the river to Illinois where he was killed, and it deepened the divisions in the Union by claiming Dred Scott for slavery. So it isn't surprising that important chapters of the history of housing segregation played out on Missouri soil.