Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council | St. Louis Public Radio

Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council

Glenn Burleigh joined Friday's show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ relatively low cost of living is an oft-touted point of pride for the region. But a newly released report by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council suggests that life in the Gateway City isn’t so affordable for everyone — especially when it comes to paying rent.

Compiled by the organization’s community engagement specialist, the report aims to fill an information gap when it comes to understanding local rent costs. And one of the key takeaways from Glenn Burleigh’s ZIP-code-level analysis is that perceptions of gentrification are rooted in reality: Across the city of St. Louis, rents are rising faster than in the metropolitan region as a whole, and twice as fast in the central corridor and south St. Louis.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Burleigh joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss the implications of EHOC’s recent findings as well as related topics.

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.

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.

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

Nuisance ordinances have been commonplace across the U.S. for at least a century. They are used to crack down on everything from overgrown grass to large-scale drug dealing. In the city of Maplewood, that extends to excessive calls to the police.

Maplewood's nuisance ordinance, last updated in October 2006, is the subject of two lawsuits, which allege the policy and its enforcement are discriminatory. How the city handles nuisance complaints is hailed by some as a way to keep the community safe, and reviled by others who believe it’s a way to regulate residents’ behavior and push out people of color, people with disabilities and survivors of domestic violence.

Matthew Desmond and Kalila Jackson discussed the prevalence of evictions across the United States and in St. Louis on Monday's St. Louis on the Air.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Evictions used to be rare enough in the United States that the government never made an effort to track them on a federal level. That’s changing.

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.

The St. Louis County Council rejected legislation aimed at regulating rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council delivered a major blow to a bid to tighten regulations over rental properties in unincorporated St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Council spent nearly an hour hearing criticism about legislation requiring a license for rental property.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with comments from County Executive Steve Stenger - The St. Louis County Council held off on voting on legislation that requires owners of certain rental property to obtain licenses.

But even without a vote, the bill was the subject of immense criticism from a coalition of people who feel the bill is too broad and could have unintended consequences that would adversely affect victims of domestic violence.

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.

Dan Moyle | Flickr

The roots of the important housing discrimination victory won by civil rights groups in the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday reach back 45 years to the creation of the little town of Black Jack, Mo.

On Thursday, the court ruled 5-4 that housing discrimination can be proven by “disparate impact.” That means that if government policies have a disparate effect on minorities they may violate federal law even if there is no proof of overt discriminatory intent.

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

Almost 45 percent of St. Louis-area children living in Section 8 housing go to schools ranked in the bottom 10th percentile of the state. That’s almost 20 percent worse than the national average, according to a report compiled by the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.

“The way we’ve organized our schools is keeping low-income kids and kids of color separate from white kids in the region. And they’re being separated in a way that exposes them to lower-performing, lower-resource schools. And that’s just not fair,” said Phil Tegeler, executive director of the council.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 1, 2012 - St. Louis banks have taken positive steps to invest and improve access to financial services in minority and low-income communities, but much work is left to be done, says a recent report by an alliance of local nonprofits that advocate for fair lending.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 24, 2011 - Citing gaps in Midwest BankCentre's lending to low- and moderate-income borrowers, federal regulators have given the St. Louis institution an overall "needs to improve" rating in its Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) performance evaluation that was made public this week.

The bank scored a "low satisfactory" rating in two of three areas of its fair lending review -- the investment test and the service test -- and a "needs to improve" in the lending test, which is weighted more heavily by regulators. The full report is available on the Federal Reserve's website.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 21, 2010 - First National Bank of St. Louis plans to invest $2.75 million over the next four years in an expanded service area that includes north St. Louis County, the city of St. Louis and northwest St. Clair County.

The bank plans to open a branch location within the designated area within 18 months, though the site has yet to be determined.