A source of accessible, affordable, home improvement financing in St. Louis could mean great things for the revitalization of St. Louis neighborhoods.
Loans from $25,000 - $50,000 would go a long way towards building a strategy for preservation and improvement of the city's historic homes and neighborhoods.
Targeting the investment at homes at least fifty years would help in a lot of ways:
** Older homes are the ones in the greatest need of updating and repairs
** Most of the city's original housing stock would qualify
** More, smaller projects would be happen
** Small businesses would create jobs
** Homeowners would be able to target improvements
** Smaller projects with less government involvement are attractive to homeowners
** Neighborhood improvement efforts would expand across the city
** Financing would be available to households in a wide range of incomes, strengthening economic diversity
The challenge is to structure the program with competitive terms attractive to both homeowners and lenders.
In the past, gaming revenue has been used for this purpose. In today's tight economic climate, with government revenues shrinking, public funding for such an effort is difficult to obtain.
But the need is there. Inquiries for such loans are common, but resources are scarce. Perhaps starting small, and building up over time is a way to create such an initiative?