FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
St. Louis, Missouri, May 6, 2021 – Today the St Louis Association of Organizations (SLACO) was joined by Mayor Tishaura Jones and St Louis Board of Alderman President Louis Reed, the Saint Louis Development Corporation (SLDC) along with other area nonprofits, community leaders and lenders to announce the launch of the Gateway Neighborhood Fund (GNF) program. The GNF is a collaborative program focused on returning a functional mortgage market to parts of North St. Louis that currently lack one.
The Gateway Neighborhood Fund is initially targeting eight neighborhoods of Academy, Baden, Hamilton Heights, North Pointe, Walnut Park West, Walnut Park East, West End and Visitation Park.
"SLACO is always looking to support innovative programs and is extremely happy to support the Gateway Neighborhood Fund Collaboration as they work to increase investment into neighborhoods that currently face the negative impacts of the “appraisal gap. Our goal is to attract 100 new homeowners to North St. Louis” said SLACO Executive Director Kevin B. McKinney.
The GNF is the result of a partnership between lenders and nonprofits to fulfill one of the recommendations of the Segregation In St. Louis: Dismantling The Divide report that was released in 2018. The lack of a functional mortgage market in most of the region’s majority minority neighborhoods is driving Black homeownership rates lower and increasing the “wealth gap” between white and African-American households. The program will also help current homeowners retain and regain home values in these neighborhoods. Based on a highly successful program in Detroit, the GNF program has been developing for the past couple of years. With SLACO as the Community & Media partner, the GNF is now ready to launch and begin offering this innovative financing in the initial target areas.
“The Metropolitan St. Louis CRA Association (MSLCRA) is proud to be one of the original members of the dedicated team that created the Gateway Neighborhood Fund (GNF),” said Nikki Woelfel, Chairperson of the MSLCRA. “The MSLCRA is a professional organization of member banks that work together on initiatives related to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and Community Development. We wanted to be at the table with other members of the community to address housing challenges and make mortgage credit more available in underserved sectors of our community. GNF looks to be a game-changer for neighborhoods and homeowners who want to see real change and growth in their backyards. Today is an exciting day for GNF, the City of St. Louis and MSLCRA.”
“SLEHCRA’s member organizations are thrilled to see years of work ready to make a difference in North St Louis. Issues with appraisals are one of the biggest barriers to access to credit and homeownership in North St. Louis. We are eager to see neighborhood residents use the Gateway Neighborhood Fund to become homeowners or use it to rehab their existing home,” said Elisabeth Risch, Assistant Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) and Co-Chair of the St. Louis Equal Housing and Community Reinvestment Alliance (SLEHCRA).
To date, the effort has received close to $3,000,000.00 in commitments from investors and core supporters.
SLACO’s mission and vision is to improve the quality of life for the residents and stakeholders. of neighborhoods in the St. Louis region through community-based initiatives, citizen empowerment, neighborhood organizing, and building the resiliency of its community organization membership. The population served represents thirty-three (33) member neighborhoods throughout the St. Louis metropolitan area.
For more information about this initiative or SLACO, please contact Kevin B. McKinney, Executive Director at 314-361-9406 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Randen Click at Justine PETERSEN at 314-226-5053 or email Randen Click RClick@justinepetersen.org
Learn more about the Gateway Neighborhood Fund at www.gatewayneighborhoodfund.com.