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Late March News and Updates
We Want to Hear From You!

The Vacancy Collaborative is participating in GiveSTL Day. Show your support by submitting a testimonial for our Give STL Day page. 
 
*Submitting a testimonial does not guarantee that we will be able to include it in our materials for Give STL day* 
Racial Equity Spotlight
How Unfair Property Taxes Keep Black Families From Gaining Wealth 

 
Bloomberg Equality + Businessweek recently published an article about how cities use inflated valuations of homes in lower-income Black neighborhoods to calculate property tax bills, while at the same time, consistently undervaluing homes in affluent areas, reducing the taxes those homeowners paid. The article found that from 2006 through 2016, inaccurate valuations gave the least expensive homes in St. Louis an effective tax rate almost four times higher than the most expensive. 

According to the article's author, "[These] unfair tax burdens lead to unpaid bills and property seizures, destroying the best chance for families to build generational wealth. Meanwhile real estate and bond investors reap windfalls from a money machine that floods local markets with foreclosed homes and securitizes the tax debts into bonds with generous yields."
Upcoming Events


 
Next Up: Property Management Services and Software. Tuesday April 27th @ 6:30pm via Zoom. Registration Link Coming Soon

These free, monthly trainings are 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. 

 
Lasts Session on March 31st. Register Here

This series seeks to explore strategies and identify specific actions to address community priorities and goals related to preventing displacement while supporting reinvestment in the West End.

The outcome will be community-driven equitable development strategies with proposed actions, contact information for potential partners, anticipated tasks and phasing, and priorities for funding for each of the community goals.   
 
Other News and Community Events  
 
St. Louis Community Development Leaders Argue Residents Need More Say After Decades Of Exclusion 
 
St. Louis Public Radio recently highlighted resident-led community development projects in North City. We're happy to see projects like Dream Builders 4 Equity, WEPOWER, and Apiary @ the Park get the recognition they deserve! The article also highlights St. Louis Development Corporation's new, more-neighborhood focused approach.
 
 
 
Policy, Practice, Process: Transforming Neighborhoods through Equitable Revitalization  
This is a free webinar series presented by the National Association of REALTORS® in partnership with the Center for Community Progress. The six-part series focuses on realizing equitable revitalization strategies for vacant properties.   

Next Up: Using Data to Identify Opportunities. April 20 @2:00pm ET.
 

 

You’re invited to join Community Builder's Network in September 2021 for a Community Development Family Reunion! Help mark CBN's 10-year anniversary with a shared celebration of shared strength, struggles, and stories.

The Family Reunion will also feature a main staple of past CBN celebrations: The Community Building Awards! Past awards have recognized community building dedication and impact in the public and nonprofit sectors, banking, business, philanthropy, the faith-based community, and resident leadership. If you know of someone who fits this description, nominate them for a Community Building Award. Nominations are due on April 2nd, 2021!
Working Group Spotlight
Strategic Code Enforcement Subgroup
The Strategic Code Enforcement Subgroup is a subgroup of The Stabilization, Maintenance, and Demolition Working Group (SMD-WG). This working group is concerned with managing vacant properties comprehensively and increasing the transparency of related processes and policies.

We can improve our maintenance of vacant properties by optimizing the ways in which the City enforces housing code. Under a strategic code enforcement system, building inspectors can help connect struggling owner-occupants with resources while also leveraging regulatory tools to hold absentee nuisance property owners accountable. 
 
Last Fall, the Vacancy Collaborative, St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, and St. Louis City’s Building Division, Neighborhood Stabilization Team, and Problem Properties Unit received an investment from the Missouri Foundation for Health to lead a collaborative code enforcement process mapping project to identify ways to make the code enforcement system more efficient, equitable, and community-driven.

As part of the grant, the Code Enforcement Subgroup brought on-board Hester Street an urban planning, design and development nonprofit, to map the process of St. Louis’ existing code enforcement system, provide technical expertise, and recommend steps towards a more strategic and equitable code enforcement system.

We're excited to have Hester Street on-board and CAN'T WAIT to get started on Process Mapping!
Vacancy Collaborative Recurring Events
The Vacancy Reading Group has continued meeting during COVID via zoom. All are welcome! Contact: dana.malkus@slu.edu for more information. 








 
Working Group Meetings 
Anti Displacement: Meets on the Fourth Thursday of the Month at 5:30pm. Contact: stldisplacementwg@gmail.com for more information. 
Data Analysis: Next Meeting TBD. Contact: tara@communitybuildersstl.org for more information. 
Marketing and Engagement: Meets on the First Thursday of the Month at 12:00pm. Contact: dana.malkus@slu.edu for more information. 
Reinvestment and Reuse: Meets on the First Tuesday of the Month at 10:00am. Contact: naimgry@yahoo.com for more information. 
Stabilization, Maintenance, and Demolition: Meets on the Fourth Wednesday of the Month at 11:00am. Contact: ginnl@stlouis-mo.gov for more information. 
Vacancy Prevention: Meets every other Third Thursday of the Month at 4:00pm. Contact pjhoffman@lsem.org for more information. 
You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed, attended a working group meeting, or another Vacancy Collaborative event.

What is the St. Louis 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 www.stlvacancy.com for more information.

Support
Funding to support coordination of the St. Louis 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. 
 
You can make a donation now if you are so inclined :)
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