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The Vacancy Collaborative Newsletter
Happy New Year! It's been a busy couple of months for the Vacancy Collaborative (VC). We are now officially convening all six working groups and two committees, and each of them is busy setting priorities and goals for 2019. 

A Brief Look Ahead
During the first few months of 2019, we'll be setting some shared goals and collectively weighing in on ideas for how best to collaborate: 
  • The Vacancy Advisory Committee has been hard at work developing overarching documents to guide our collective strategy. These documents consider the key events and milestones that led to the creation of the VC, the key issue area findings from the July 2018 VC launch event, other reports, and priorities outlined in initial committee and working group meetings. They also provide a plan for how we can remain accountable to both the strategies and each other as we build up our collective effort. 
  • The co-chairs of all the working groups will meet in February to begin editing and reviewing the draft strategies as well as to discuss overall VC goals.
  • Throughout the spring, working groups will continue to identify and work on their individual strategies while also providing input to the collective goals of the VC.
  • In the summer, we'll host a larger gathering for the entire VC community. Stay tuned!

It's inspiring to see the momentum building within the Vacancy Collaborative. The work of addressing vacancy has been going on for a long time among many dedicated neighborhoods and organizations. The VC is helping to shine a light on those efforts and build collective capacity for greater impact. This relationship building is at the core of what we're trying to achieve. None of this would have been possible without your involvement and support to-date. We're excited and hopeful to see what 2019 brings.

Read on for more detailed updates and continued ways to engage with the Vacancy Collaborative.
New Visual for our Structure
We recently updated our diagram of the VC structure and hope it better represents the way we have always meant for the working groups and committees to interact: with mutual feedback and continued dialogue, not a top down approach. We hope you think so too!

Working Groups and Website
All six working groups are up and running! We also added an events page to our website where you can see all of the upcoming working group meetings. Or see below for the full list and details. Please help us share the working group meetings more broadly. For example, CBN is also promoting them on their community calendar.

Vacancy Data
Wednesday, Feb 20 from 4:30 - 6:00 pm
T-REX, 911 Washington Ave Suite 500
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Laura Ginn at

Marketing & Engagement
Thursday, Feb 7 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


Tuesday, Feb 19 from 6:00 - 7:30 pm
Location TBD.
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Matt Ampleman at


Vacancy Prevention
Thursday, Feb 14 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, Feb 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
Wednesday, Feb 27 from 2:00 - 3:30 pm 
SLDC, 1520 Market St, Boardroom, 2nd Floor
Questions or to be added to the group email list: Austin Albert at

Community News & Events
Vacancy Collaborative in the news
The Vacancy Collaborative co-chairs responded to recent reporting by the Post-Dispatch about vacancy by publishing an editorial. You can read the full article here.

Attend the SLACO Conference this weekend
The SLACO Conference is on Saturday, February 2nd. Find out more information about the event and registration here. This day long conference focuses on "helping grassroots neighborhood leaders learn about how other neighborhoods are creating innovative solutions for common problems, how to run an effective neighborhood association, how to think about the causes of neighborhood improvement and decline, and recent plans and initiatives that offer new ways to understand the region and new hope for successful initiatives."

Equitably Redeveloping Your Community Workshops
A six-month development education series "designed to give Promise Zone residents the tools they need to pursue development opportunities within their own communities."  RSVP and learn more here.

Fair Housing Film Screening and Discussion
Feb. 16th screening of the film Owned: A Tale of Two Americas and a panel discussion about fair housing for North St. Louis. More information about the event and RSVP here

Opportunities from the Center for Community Progress

Call for Proposals- Reclaiming Vacant Properties Conference
The Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference is October 2-4 in Atlanta, GA. The RFP for session proposals is open and submittals are due March 2nd. Let's get a strong showing from St. Louis with several proposals highlighting the great work happening locally! If you have an idea for a session proposal, let us know by filling out this quick chart. If there is a way that the Vacancy Collaborative can help support your submission, let us know! You can also see what others are proposing and find opportunities to collaborate on a joint proposal.

Creative placemaking on problem properties survey
How do you or your organization use arts and culture to transform vacant properties into community assets? Fill out this CCP survey and share your unique Saint Louis story. 

Community Revitalization Fellowship
The Community Revitalization Fellowship is a new learning opportunity from CCP to help cohorts of grassroots community leaders revitalize neighborhoods that are struggling with serious challenges related to vacancy, abandonment, and disinvestment. Applications are due Feb 22nd.
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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