At its July 25 meeting, City Council approved Restore SGF’s $1 million request from the City’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund.
The ARPA funding, along with a $300,000 allocation from the City’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget and investments totaling $240,000 disbursed over three years from Community Foundation of the Ozarks and several banking industry partners, will allow Restore SGF to hire staff and begin programming in the second quarter of 2023 with two grant programs – the Block Challenge Program and the Homeowner Improvement Program.
These programs are based on proven models in Des Moines, Iowa (Invest DSM) and other cities and will help residents make needed repairs, updates and renovations and improve the curb appeal of their properties, while at the same time encouraging them to engage with their neighbors.
A City-led housing study, which is anticipated to begin by the end of the year and conclude in 2023, will provide Restore SGF with important data needed to tailor programming to Springfield’s needs.
Anticipated staffing needs
Once hired, Restore SGF’s staff will partner with residents to give them the power, resources and support to strengthen their neighborhoods. The team will consist of an executive director, community engagement and property development specialist and a construction specialist.
The executive director will direct the internal operations and external relationships for the organization. They will engage with the public and private partners to champion home ownership and advocate for the four designated middle neighborhoods. They will cultivate strong relationships with residents as well as be a trusted resource for local media.
The community engagement and property development specialist will coordinate marketing and communications with the four designated middle neighborhoods. They will elevate awareness for Restore SGF and its programs through grassroots programs such as attending neighborhood meetings, distribution of informational flyers, installation of yard signs, and storytelling through social media.
The construction specialist will review applications for the Block Challenge and Homeowner Improvement programs, provide coaching for interested participants, serve as a liaison for local contractors interested in providing services to applicants and monitor trends in the residential construction industry.
Community Foundation of the Ozarks has pledged $20,000 over five years ($100,000 total) in grant funding for Restore SGF, plus $500,000 for the initiative’s revolving loan fund.
OakStar Bank, Commerce Bank, Old Missouri Bank, Great Southern Bank and Legacy Bank have committed $10,000 over three years ($30,000 total) in grant funding, while Central Bank has committed $20,000 over three years ($60,000 total) in grant funding. Great Southern Bank, Legacy Bank and Central Bank have each committed $250,000 for the revolving loan fund.
In addition to these commitments, many financial institutions have agreed to commit loan and mortgage dollars to Restore SGF’s targeted neighborhoods.
Pledging support to Restore SGF is a concrete way for financial institutions to show their commitment to Springfield’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods and help improve the community.
The commitment that Restore SGF is asking from financial institutions involves:
- a multi-year pledge of grant funds matching homeowners’ funds for exterior home repairs. These funds will be deployed on five to 20 home “line of sight bundles” for maximum impact.
- a pledge of revolving loan funds for major home renovations.
- a pledge to make normal home loans in Restore SGF’s targeted neighborhoods.
Restore SGF is still seeking funding partners. Financial institution representatives are encouraged to contact Brian Fogle at CFO at 417-864-6199 if they have questions.
On July 21, the City launched the Forward SGF Comprehensive Plan for the next 20 years of growth in Springfield. We are encouraged that Chapter 7 is dedicated to housing and neighborhoods, and we feel that our efforts will helpSpringfield revitalize our neighborhoods by improving housing stock, increasing home ownership and fostering a sense of pride and quality of place.
“Neighborhood revitalization is a big part of what Springfield needs to focus on going forward. It’s not easy. It’s simple to comprehend but challenging toundertake. When you talk about place, this is it. Neighborhoods are the heart of where people live. Neighborhoods matter and it’s tough. We really have tozero in and get this right,” said John Houseal, Forward SGF planning consultant.