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April 2020 Newsletter
Some of the Vacancy Collaborative community on a recent zoom call.
Hello Vacancy Collaborative Community-

First, we hope you are all staying well and healthy. We know everyone is managing new needs in the community, your organizations, and your personal lives. And we've seen many of you taking action.

At the VC team level, we've been adjusting and responding to both the COVID-19 crisis and vacancy-related work in new ways:
  • Pivoting some of our work to immediate COVID-19 related needs for the VC and for our supporting organization, the Community Builders Network. This includes helping identify resources, assisting with tech needs for our new virtual realities, and organizing updates to share in these rapidly changing times. 
  • Coordinating with working group co-chairs to cancel, revise, and/or host virtual meetings.
  • Adjusting neighborhood workshops and events to postpone or move online. See below for more details on our April virtual Landlord & Rehabber Training.
  • Continuing to evaluate our work plan to determine what action steps need to adjust and what work can continue virtually. Stay tuned for more.
As the COVID-19 crisis continues to unfold, we know that immediate medical needs and access to resources at the individual level are first priorities. But as the larger economic and financial impacts grow in the coming months, we are already seeing a larger effect on communities facing disinvestment and high rates of vacancy. New policies, investment for neighborhoods, and lasting systemic change are more necessary than ever to fight the inequities that intersect at racial and economic levels in St. Louis, including vacancy. Our collective work is more important than ever.

We look forward to a time when we can meet again in person. In the meantime, we'll continue virtually. Stay well, and don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. We're here to help.

- The VC Team (Tara Aubuchon, Ronald Jones & Lilly Murphy)
COVID-19 Resources

We know that many of you are being flooded with information, but here are a few resources (if you haven't seen them already) that may be helpful in navigating all the information and resources out there.

The Invest STL Neighborhood Solidarity Fund, is a new funding opportunity in eligible neighborhoods (selected with equity metrics) for three focus areas: Neighborhood Innovations in Connectivity, CDC Stability and Neighborhood Small Business Lift.
Working Groups
Working groups are transitioning to a variety of virtual communications. If you are interested in participating in a working group but are not already on that group's email list, please connect with the appropriate working group co-chair.

We look forward to a time when we can all meet in person again soon!
Landlord & Rehabber Training Now Virtual

This month's FREE Landlord & Rehabber Training has moved online and will now be a virtual training.

Key Elements to Evaluate a Rehab Opportunity & Evaluate Costs
April 28th from 6:30 - 8:30 pm, online through Zoom

  • Key elements to consider when reviewing a residential rehab opportunity  
  • How to estimate the potential costs for completing the project
  • Led by Keith Crawford, a consultant with Management Services for Commerce, Industry, and Government LLC
Registration is required to receive the link.
Register Here
The goal of the Landlord & Rehabber Training Program is to stabilize our communities by building an ecosystem of educated landlords, rehabbers, and small developers empowered to reduce vacancy and nuisance. These FREE trainings will enlist professionals from real estate, property management, law, accounting, preservation, & finance industries to share their knowledge on acquiring and developing real estate and implementing property management best practices.

This activity is funded by a HUD Community Development Block Grant via the St. Louis Community Development Administration and coordinated by Tower Grove Neighborhoods CDC, North Newstead Association, and the Vacancy Collaborative.

Vacancy in the News
New Pilot Urban Agriculture Program, St. Louis Public Radio
A new pilot program allows residents of the 26th Ward to buy vacant land for raising crops or animals at below market value. The pilot involves property owned by the Land Reutilization Authority, and the program will be managed by Missouri Coalition for the Environment.

NVI Marks Two Years of Successes, Missouri Lawyers Media
Missouri Lawyers Media recently wrote about Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative as they mark their two year anniversary helping neighborhoods and individuals address problem properties and prevent vacancy.
Take the Pledge!

The work of the Vacancy Collaborative includes many groups and hundreds of individuals engaging in creating a shared vision for addressing vacancy in St. Louis. The power of the Vacancy Collaborative is this diverse and growing coalition of partners, and we want to recognize your involvement! Join our network (it's free!) so we can recognize your involvement.

Vacancy Resources and News

For some, now is a great time to slow down, read, and reflect. The Vacancy Collaborative's website is filled with great reading material for everyone regardless of their level of experience in dealing with vacant property.

First, checkout our news and updates page to find our newsletters and media stories about vacancy. Next, take a deeper dive and checkout the literature that informs our work.

Finally, check out the Center for Community Progress' past webinar recordings to  understand and solve tough challenges related to property vacancy and abandonment.

Other Community News & Events

April 20: FB Live: Small Business and COVID 19
Join attorneys from Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP on Monday, April 20 for a special session to help explain help available for small businesses under the CARES Act, and how new federal laws and programs can impact your business.

April 21: Connect(for) Virtual Town Hall

Join UMSL's Community Innovation and Action Center (CIAC), along with other community partners in the region, for a town hall to inform policy scholarship around local impact and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information is here and RSVP here.

April 23: Webinar: Designing A Market-Building Strategy for Middle Neighborhoods
Join the Center for Community Progress where Alan Mallach will walk participants through identifying and analyzing a neighborhood’s distinct market challenges and opportunities, using that process to design a strategy, and then zooming in on specific initiatives and programs that may be effective in rebuilding the neighborhood market.

April 27: FB Live: Wills, trusts and estate planning and how to protect yourself
Join Legal Services of Eastern Missouri and Carmody MacDonald P.C. on Monday, April 27 at 6:30 pm for this special facebook live session. Learn how simple estate planning can help protect you, your family, your home and your assets.

April 30: How to Host a Virtual Neighborhood Meeting

Learn the tips and tricks for hosting a successful neighborhood meeting on Zoom. Take the survey to inform the content and RSVP to join!

May 28: Webinar: Community Leadership: Moving from Grassroots to Scalable Community Change
Join the Center for Community Progress to understand how residents can create large-scale community success when given the power to take charge. Learn how change-makers across the US, from concerned moms to non-profit leaders, are converting the vacant, abandoned, and deteriorated (VAD) properties next door into community resources.

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 St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative (VC) is a coalition of community members, private and non-profit stakeholders, and City agencies committed to reducing vacant property in St. Louis. The VC helps to coordinate existing vacancy efforts under one umbrella and empowers the public and private sectors to work together toward solutions. We convene committees and working groups to facilitate systemic change, advance new policies, share success stories, and support neighborhood-centric solutions. 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 © 2020 Vacancy Collaborative, All rights reserved.

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