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St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative Newsletter
Happy spring! 

Read on for more detailed updates and continued ways to engage with the Vacancy Collaborative. 
Join us on May 21st!
Vacancy Collaborative Workshop
May 21st from 8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Tegeler Hall, SLU Main Campus
3550 Lindell Blvd.

This event is an opportunity for VC participants (almost 500 strong already!) to come back together, share the goals and progress of the working groups, celebrate the growing momentum around vacancy, and share next steps about the draft action strategy being developed by the working groups and the Vacancy Advisory Committee. We will also announce the release of the updated and automated Vacant Properties Portal.

Head to the eventbrite to register for the workshop!
Participants at the Vacancy Collaborative Workshop in 2018.
Share Your Project on May 21st
Do you have a project or program that's working to address vacancy? 

Sign up to share your idea in a series of lightning rounds that will take place at the Vacancy Collaborative Workshop on the morning of May 21st. These high energy, minute-long overviews will highlight activities already happening in St. Louis. We encourage a diversity of ideas that may include a vacant lot project, a building rehab or reuse, a neighborhood program, policy efforts, and more. 

If you would like to make a lightning round presentation at the workshop, please email to submit your idea. 
Vacancy Collaborative Stories
One of the Vacancy Collaborative's goals is to share stories about groups and organizations creating positive momentum to address vacancy.

This month's story is written by Samuel Yang, a volunteer with the Vacancy Collaborative. He sat down to talk with two lawyers who are using important legal tools to help neighborhood groups and residents address vacancy in their communities. Saint Louis University School of Law and Legal Services of Eastern Missouri are supporting groups in this work. 

Read the story here.


Is your group or organization creating positive momentum to address vacancy? Reach out to Tara Aubuchon at if you want to share your story.

In case you missed Samuel's last story about new staff members at the Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) working to address vacancy, then you can check it out here.
Logo and Branding Survey
Through help from a generous volunteer, the Vacancy Collaborative is developing branding and a logo for our collective efforts. Take a minute to answer a few brief survey questions to inform the design!
Working Groups
For up-to-date details on all the working groups, you can always visit our events page for more information. 

Vacancy Data
Tuesday, Apr 23 from 4:30 - 6:00 pm
UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St, Room 104 (the Learning Studio)
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Laura Ginn at

Marketing & Engagement
Thursday, May 2 from 12:00 - 1:30 pm
SLU Law, 100 N. Tucker Blvd, Room 116
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Dana Malkus at


Thursday, Apr 25 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm
O'Fallon Park YMCA, 4343 West Florissant Ave
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Matt Ampleman at

Vacancy Prevention
Thursday, May 16 from 4:00 - 5:30 pm
Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, 4232 Forest Park Avenue
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Peter Hoffman at


Reinvestment and Reuse
Tuesday, May 7 from 10:00 - 11:30 am
UMSL at Grand Center, 3651 Olive St, Room 104 (the Learning Studio)
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Vince Schoemehl at


Stabilization, Maintenance, & Demolition
Date and Time TBD. 
SLDC, 1520 Market St, Boardroom, 2nd Floor
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Austin Albert at
Vacancy Collaborative News
St. Louis Team Travels to Memphis Code Enforcement Academy
Ten individuals from the Vacancy Collaborative (representing three different nonprofit organizations, three city departments reporting to the Mayor, and SLDC) accepted an invitation to participate in the third annual Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy in Memphis, TN, on March 28-29.  Academy curriculum consists of four courses led by experienced experts who focus on instruction as well as peer learning and facilitating collaboration among departments, organizations, and professions.  During the Academy, two members of the St. Louis team had the opportunity to present some lessons learned from the St. Louis experience:  Laura Ginn presented on the vacancy portal and data, and Dana Malkus presented on how the Vacancy Collaborative structure provides for alignment of efforts, cross-sector collaboration, and a coordinated approach.  The Memphis experience helped build and solidify relationships and sparked new ideas that will continue the vacancy momentum we have built over the past many months.

The team in Memphis. Seated L to R: Sundy Whiteside (SLACO), Matt Moak (City Counselor's Office), Deborah Williams (Building Division). Standing L to R: Daniel Schaffzin (University of Memphis, one of the faculty leaders for the event), Dotti McDowell (Neighborhood Stabilization), Tom Wahl (City Counselor's Office), Dana Malkus (SLU Law), Peter Hoffman (Legal Services of Eastern Missouri), Laura Ginn (SLDC), Phil Landwehr (Building Division), Randy Ulrich (Building Division). 

Vacancy Collaborative featured on HEC-TV
Check out this great video on the Vacancy Collaborative from HEC-TV featuring several people actively involved in our work!
Other Community News & Events
Proposition NS (Neighborhood Stabilization) Update
Prop NS funding represents an exciting opportunity for St. Louis to leverage up to $40M to stabilize vacant buildings owned by LRA, and market those buildings for sale and rehab. This is the first time the City has ever had dedicated funding resources to better manage potentially dangerous vacant buildings within the neighborhoods experiencing the most vacancy and abandonment. On Tuesday (4/16), the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passed Board Bill #222, which uses the authorization provided by the voters who passed Proposition NS to issue the bonds necessary for the work. In addition, the LRA commission approved the cooperation agreement and formally adopted the Prop NS Building Stabilization Program on Wednesday (4/17). The Mayor's Office, SLDC, the original Prop NS petitioners, and members of SLACO, worked together over the last several weeks to craft a process for building selection that includes community input and participation. Implementation will occur over the coming months with additional updates to come. Congratulations to all involved in moving this forward! 

Finest 15 in the News
Eltoreon Hawkins was recently featured by St. Louis Public Radio about his work with Finest 15, a program to highlight quality LRA housing for potential home buyers. Check it out!

April 23: Training on Purchasing LRA and Tax Sale Property
On Tuesday, April 23, learn about buying LRA and tax sale property at the MO Botanical Garden. Hear from the city’s Real Estate Director, Laura Costello, about buying property from the city’s land bank, referred to as LRA. Sheriff Vernon Betts will discuss their role in city land tax sales, and Real Estate Attorney, Dale Sweet, will share specifics about acquiring tax sale property. The 2019 Landlord Training is a Northside-Southside Collaboration between North Newstead Association and Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC. This FREE training is open to all landlords, property managers, developers, and interested parties. For more information and to register, click here

May 23: Landmarks' Annual Most Enhanced Awards
Join Landmarks Association of St. Louis as they celebrate the outstanding work that St. Louis rehabbers and developers have been doing to rehabilitate our city's architectural heritage. Enjoy a chance to explore the newly renovated Soldiers Memorial and then witness the transformative power of adaptive reuse as we honor the best of the best historic rehabilitation projects completed during the past year. For more information and to purchase a ticket, click here

April 25: Webinar on Violence Prevention and Vacancy
Register for the Center for Community Progress' April webinar: "Planting Refuge: Violence Prevention Through Vacant Property Greening." Read more and register here to participate.

Submit your Events!
Have community news or events related to vacancy that you want to share with the Vacancy Collaborative community? Email to share your information for this newsletter. 
What is the Vacancy Collaborative?
The Vacancy Collaborative (VC) is a coalition of partners committed to the reduction of vacant property as a top priority in St. Louis. The VC is not a stand-alone entity, but a coalition of community representatives, private and non-profit stakeholders, and City agencies. The VC helps to coordinate existing vacancy efforts under one umbrella and encourages the public and private sectors to work together toward solutions in a comprehensive and coordinated way. Head to for more information.

Funding to support coordination of the Vacancy Collaborative was provided, in part, by Missouri Foundation for Health, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis.
Copyright © 2019 Vacancy Collaborative, All rights reserved.

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