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St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative October Newsletter
Read on for more detailed updates on what's happening related to vacancy in St. Louis and continued ways to engage with the Vacancy Collaborative.
St. Louis @ the CCP National Conference! 
The Center for Community Progress hosted its national conference, "Reclaiming Vacant Properties," from Oct 2-4 in Atlanta, GA. Over 20 community residents and partners from St. Louis attended, including presenters at three different sessions! See below for some highlights of our group in action. Stay tuned for a more formal share-out of what we learned. 
Vacancy Collaborative wins APA Award

We recently learned that the Vacancy Collaborative was awarded a 2019 planning champions award by the St. Louis Metro Section of the American Planning Association! 

Awardees meet certain criteria including inspiring positive action in their community; encouraging community and civic engagement; striving for strong, equitable, and vibrant communities; and establishing lasting impressions on land use and the built environment. 

Thanks St. Louis APA! We're honored to be recognized.

The following individuals received awards too: 
  • Sundy Whiteside - SLACO, Vacancy Collaborative 
  • John Cruz - Rise Development, American Planning Association St. Louis Metro Section Board Member (and Vacancy Collaborative Data Working Group member!)
  • Gary Newcomer - Community Builders Network
If you see them out and about, make sure to congratulate them!
Survey: Creative Uses for Vacant Properties

 In early 2019, CCP conducted a national survey of creative placemaking on vacant, abandoned, and underused properties to understand who leads these projects, whether they are community-centered and what hurdles are encountered. 170 people from 31 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico responded.

Also, please be sensitive when using the term placemaking as vacant properties have a history and are not made from scratch. 

Call to Organizations: Apply for Vacacy Prevention and other Senior Focused Funds

The St. Louis City Senior Fund has opened two funding opportunities. The Senior Fund distributes grants to organizations that support older adults to age in the home and neighborhood that best serves their needs and interests. All grants are directed to serve residents in the City of St. Louis who are 60 years or older.

Grants in the past have supported organizations providing home repair and weatherization, important vacancy prevention services. Learn more about all of their grant opportunities.

Informational Workshop
An informational workshop about the RFPs will be held:
October 23, 2019 | 3 - 4:30pm
St. Louis Community College - William J. Harrison Education Center
3140 Cass Ave
St. Louis, MO 63106

This workshop is optional; potential applicants are not required to attend. If you would like to attend, register online here.

Vacant Lot Stewards in the News
St. Louis Public Radio recently highlighted the City's vacant lot maintenance pilot program. The City has partnered with neighborhood-based small businesses who maintain the lots. Crews have tended to about 300 vacant properties this year, totaling 30 acres. 
Join the Vacancy Reading Group

A vacancy reading group has been meeting monthly for several months now, and you are invited to join!  The group reads and discusses vacancy-related books and articles in an informal setting.  It generally meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 4-5:30PM.  At its next meeting on November 12, the group will be discussing a recent report called “Environmental Racism in St. Louis.”  After that, the group will pick back up with the book The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America (Mallach).  For questions or to be added to the calendar invite, contact Dana Malkus ( 

Take the Pledge!

The work of the Vacancy Collaborative includes a host of 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! Head to to join our network so we can recognize your involvement.

The pledge does not require financial support; simply sign on to our shared values and commit to being part of the solution in our collective work. By taking the pledge you’re joining the diverse community that is working to address vacancy, improve our communities, and build a shared vision for the future.

Working Groups
For up-to-date details on all the working groups, you can always visit our events page for more information. 

Marketing & Engagement
Tuesday, October 22, from 9:00 - 10:30 am
SLU Law, 100 N. Tucker Blvd, Room 116
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Dana Malkus at


Thursday, October 24 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 Data
Tuesday, October 29 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: Andrea Burr at

Reinvestment and Reuse
Tuesday, November 5 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
Monday, November 18 from 11:00 - 12:30 pm
Location TBD.
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Laura Ginn at

Vacancy Prevention
Thursday, November 21 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
Other Community News & Events

Neighborhood Leadership Fellows Application
Seeking Promise Zone residents who want to create more equitable regional policies for neighborhoods! Neighborhood Leadership Fellows (NLF) is a free nine-month advanced leadership training focused on North St Louis City and North County. Click here to apply.  More info at

Fundraiser for Peace Park 

The residents of the College Hill neighborhood in North St. Louis have a vision for Peace Park. Working with Grace Hill Settlement House and Health Equity Works at Washington University, residents became determined to renovate a vacant block along North Grand, once known as Peace Park. Their community-led effort continues to grow. Watch their story, support their effort and share their vison.

Oct 18 & Nov 8: EPA Real Estate Development Academy for Communities
Join the RE-Development Academy for Communities, a series of FREE webinars where you will learn the process for redeveloping a contaminated site through the eyes of a property developer. Meant for community members, local governments, community nonprofits, other local stakeholders, technical assistance providers, etc. 

Oct 22 & Nov 19: Green City Coalition Workshops in College Hill
Green City Coalition creates and conserves ecologically rich urban green spaces that promote healthy, vibrant, and engaged communities. Join them for two community planning workshops at Grace Hill's Water Tower Hub, 2125 Bissell Street. For more information click here or contact Karla Brown: ​

Oct 25: Violence Prevention Commission Quarterly Meeting
The final VPC Quarterly Meeting of 2019 will be on October 25th from 1:00-3:00pm, (Networking 12:30-1:00pm) at United Way of Greater St. Louis, Gateway Room. 911 N. 10th Street, St. Louis, MO  63109 For new & recent members, we will hold a new member orientation session from 12:30-1:00pm in the Alexis DeToqueville Room at the United Way. Please click here to register for the orientation.

Oct 26: Operation Clean Sweep
The next Operation Clean Sweep event will be October 26th in Walnut Park. This public-private partnership includes local businesses partnering with Better Family Life, the City of St. Louis, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, and others to address blight in North St. Louis. To sign up to help and join hundreds of fellow volunteers, visit Better Family Life's website

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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