Restore SGF, a grassroots community initiative to improve housing conditions and raise residential property values in Springfield’s historic neighborhoods, is gaining momentum with a $300,000 funding allocation from the City of Springfield’s 2022-2023 fiscal year budget, which became available July 1. This funding is in addition to investments totaling $240,000 disbursed over three years from Community Foundation of the Ozarks and several banking industry partners.
Restore SGF has also applied for $1 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding from both the City and Greene County to formally launch, with staffing and 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.
“We’re pleased with all the initial progress we’ve made and funding received. This effort is being embraced by many in our community,” said Councilman Richard Ollis. “In May, we applied for non-profit status with the state and will apply for 501 (c)(3) status with the IRS in June. We also expect to hear about our requested ARPA funding this summer. We’re ready and excited to begin restoring neighborhoods and housing.”
Once funded and hired, Restore SGF’s staff will partner with residents to give them the power, resources and support to strengthen their neighborhoods.
Anticipated staffing needs
Based on the experience of Invest DSM in Des Moines, the Restore SGF staff 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 specialistwill 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.
Restore SGF is still seeking funding partners. 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.
Financial institution representatives are encouraged to contact Brian Fogle at CFO at 417-864-6199 if they have questions.
“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 to undertake. 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 to zero in and get this right,” said John Houseal, community planning consultant for the Forward SGF Comprehensive Plan.