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.
Goals of the Vacancy Collaborative
- Build capacity for transparent and equitable development decision-making and reinvestment that is tailored to local conditions.
- Hold private owners of vacant properties accountable through strategic code enforcement and neighborhood-based tools.
- Consistently engage with St. Louis neighborhoods and support efforts to build the capacity of residents to work collectively. Support neighborhood planning and link vacancy efforts, making sure that residents are at the center.
- Continue working toward transparent and consistent vacancy-related processes at the City level. Support continued modernization efforts.
Our Guiding Principles
- Collaborative: Create a culture of collaboration and advocate for alignment and a shared vision whenever possible. Recognize that close coordination and committed leadership across the public and private sectors are essential to address the challenge.
- Transparent: Communicate efforts and provide information in transparent and accessible ways. Evaluate whether new policies and programs might have unintended consequences due to existing structures and systems already in place.
- Data-Driven: Use verifiable data and community stories to inform and evaluate responses to vacancy. Recognize that effective decision-making and a vacancy system that continually adapts and refines policies and programs can only exist with accurate, complete, and current information.
- Community Informed: Support community engagement and community centered solutions. Empower community residents to take action.
- Policy and Systems Oriented: Work for policy and systems level change in addition to individual building and lot interventions. Recognize that the vacancy challenge harms the whole City and the region and that vacancy is often the product of larger forces (e.g., irresponsible investors, detrimental public policies, population decline, sprawl, and a lack of economic and educational opportunities).
- Racial Equity Framework: Apply a racial equity lens to the work, recognizing that the disproportionate impacts of vacancy fall on communities of color in St. Louis.
The Vacancy Collaborative structure includes two committees and cross sector working groups that coordinate closely:
Find out more about the Working Groups Here
The City of St. Louis is selected by the Community Progress Leadership Institute to learn about and share best practices for tackling vacant, abandoned, and other problem properties.
SLACO identifies vacancy as a top priority issue.
Understanding the Challenge
The Center for Community Progress works with the City of St. Louis and other stakeholders to develop and release a report, "Developing a Shared Vision and Strategies to Address Vacancy and Abandonment in the City of St. Louis."
The first Vacant Property Summit is held at Saint Louis University. More than 150 city, academic, professional, and resident representatives attend to understand strategies that Kansas City uses for dealing with privately owned vacant properties.
Asakura Robinson, a consulting firm engaged by the City, releases the St. Louis Land Bank Assessment.
SLACO, in partnership with the City, holds the second St. Louis Vacancy Summit at T-Rex. Presentations and workshops cover the impact of vacancy, recently released reports, and next steps. The results of the summit will help direct the new city-wide vacancy initiative. Then-Mayoral candidate, (now Mayor) Lyda Krewson attends.
The newly formed Vacancy Steering Committee holds its first meetings to begin crafting a shared strategy for addressing vacancy in St. Louis.
The St. Louis Development Corporation adds a new position, the Vacancy Strategy Senior Project Manager, based on the Land Bank Assessment report’s recommendation to add additional staff capacity.
A Legal Tools Workshop is held at Saint Louis University, where participants learn about the legal tools resource, “A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Vacant Property in the City of St. Louis.” Participants also learn about the Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative, a project of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, providing legal help to neighborhoods combating vacancy.
The Vacancy Steering Committee hires a Vacancy Coordinator to staff the Vacancy Collaborative full-time.
Mayor Krewson releases her City vacancy plan.
The Vacancy Collaborative officially launches at a July event at Saint Louis University. Nearly 200 participants provide feedback on vacancy priority issue areas. The new Vacant Properties Portal is also released at the event.
The newly formed VacancyStat and Vacancy Advisory Committees hold their first meetings.
A ten person St. Louis team (including seven city staff) travels to the Strategic Code Enforcement Management Academy in Memphis, TN, to learn about new vacancy tools and to share our own successes with other cities.
The Vacancy Collaborative holds a public workshop to provide updates and bring the community together to share efforts. Over 130 people attend and more than 25 speakers participate.
VC partners contribute to passage of state legislation to improve tools to hold private vacant property owners accountable (S.B. 203).
The VC grew our capacity by adding two AmeriCorps VISTA service members to help with capacity, engagement, and events for the Vacancy Collaborative.
20 people from St. Louis attend the Reclaiming Vacant Properties conference in Atlanta to learn the latest strategies and innovations to address vacant and abandoned properties.
Vacancy Collaborative Director
Need the email for a working group? Find it in Working Groups.