OUR WORK TO DATE

We are a local community development corporation that focuses on the institutional, attitudinal and behavioral causes of rigid housing segregation.

We are especially interested in identifying and deconstructing the interwoven systemic social and economic forces that underpin segregation. We are currently focusing on the “Delmar Divide” and the “Olive Boulevard Divide” in St Louis County.

Low-income Housing Tax Credits

One such force we are investigating is the practice of concentrating low-income
housing tax credit projects in poorer neighborhoods – with the understanding, that
doing so suppresses housing values in those submarkets and is a causal factor
in the creation of “pockets of poverty.” WITH ACTION exposed (in University
City) the practice of concentrating low-income housing tax credit projects in
poorer neighborhoods. Two Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects proposed
in the Northeast and Musick neighborhoods were blocked by WITH by informing
the community that such projects suppress housing values and is a causal factor
in the creation of “pockets of poverty.” (Link to letters sent to MHDC????)
Low Value Houses
WITH is examining the patterns and practices that result in unavailability of
mortgage funds for homes under $50,000. The absence of sources of mortgage
credit for home purchases in the lower-cost price range blocks lower-income
families’ access to homeownership and forces them to rent shelter at exorbitant
monthly rates. The St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank held a seminar on Low Value
Mortgages at our urging. WITH Action was one of the features panelist at the event.

Redlining

WITH is also committed to creating an effective counterforce to the
institutionalized redlining that is a consequence of biased real estate appraisal
and bank-lending practices.
Proposed CRA rule changes by HUD
Current CRA rules need to be reformed, but not in the way that these proposed
rules have been drafted. In St. Louis County, banks have not lived up to their
CRA obligations in predominately African American low-income neighborhoods.
In fact, in the St. Louis region, the current CRA rules have been ineffective in
dealing with the sustained redlining practices that CRA was supposed to rectify.
WITH Action believes that any reform to the CRA rules need to remain placebased, but also with a conscious understanding that low-income neighborhoods
are by definition weak real estate markets. Banks need to provide mortgage
investments for a full range of incomes, not just low income households in order
for them to become healthy mixed-income neighborhoods. In addition, CRA rules
should incentivize banks to provide low-income affordable housing outside low
income neighborhoods in higher income “opportunity” neighborhoods to undo
racial and income segregation that still persist today.
Proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule changes

WITH Action expressed opposition to HUD’s proposed changes to the 2015
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule. WITH Action strongly urge HUD to
withdraw the proposed rule and fully implement the current 2015 rule, which was
developed over several years with considerable input from a wide variety of
stakeholders.

Examination of Segregation on St. Louis County

WITH Action recently examined the outcomes of St. Louis County’s submission
under the minimal Fair Housing Act compliance process that existed from 1994
to 2015. St. Louis County did not participate in the initial round of communities
that submitted their 2016-2020 Consolidation Plan under the new 2015
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. We found that none of the
identified impediments and proposed solutions to affordable housing were
addressed. More importantly, the housing policies and programs did not reduce
segregation in the County. In fact, segregated neighborhoods were maintained
and expanded.


WITH Action contacted the County Council member whose district has been
impacted by St. Louis County use of federal housing fund. We are in the process
of guiding County staff responsible for producing the next 5 year Consolidated
Plan toward promoting AFFH outcomes.

Olive/I-170 TIF Plan Strategy


WITH Action was responsible for introducing a great economic development
opportunity that would not only redevelop a low-performing commercial portion of
the Olive Corridor at I-170, but also to provide an economic engine to address  the structural

structural decline of the adjacent residential neighborhoods of the third ward.
The primary purpose for inviting a commercial redevelopment project of the
magnitude of the Olive/I-170 project, was to support the regeneration of the Third
Ward housing market by acting as the economic engine for that provides money
for its recovery. The Olive/I-170 TIF redevelopment was approved with an
provision of
Once the funding source has been secured, the next crucial step is for the City to
develop a long- term strategic redevelopment plan for the Third Ward, ideally
involving all stakeholders, but most importantly, neighborhood residents. The
systemic practices working to ruin these neighborhoods are very real and the city
has to do something quickly to counter them with pro-active policies, strategies
and programs that are transformational. That is why a very detailed plan has to

be completed with a number of strategic stakeholders and the residents of the
three neighborhoods to realize their goals.
A Prescription for a STRATEGIC APPROACH TO THIRD WARD
REVITALIZATION
Once the funding source has been secured, the next crucial step is for the City to
develop a long-term strategic redevelopment plan for the Third Ward. This plan
ideally involves all stakeholders, but most importantly, neighborhood residents.
The outside forces working to ruin these neighborhoods are very real and require
City intervention to counter them with pro-active policies, strategies and
programs that can cause transformation.
For this reason, WITH Action, a not for profit citizen advocacy organization, is
presenting City Council with an analysis of existing damaging policies and
practices and a strategic agenda that specifically address housing and
neighborhoods issues north of Olive Boulevard. Hopefully, this insight will
influence and guide the new revitalization strategy for the 3rd Ward and have the
effect of …

 

 

 

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