Affordable Housing Trust Fund Coalition
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) Coalition convenes stakeholders from a variety of sectors—including education, development, health, housing, and human services—that actively support increased funding and a greater role for the AHTF in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.
The Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF), administered by St. Louis City’s Affordable Housing Commission (AHC), awards loans and grants to develop affordable housing projects and provide housing-related services, including accessibility modifications, home repair, and support for the homeless.
In a climate where federal funding for affordable housing and community development has continued to shrink in recent years, the AHTF is a local investment that’s both socially responsible and economically sound.
How does the AHTF work?
The AHTF is funded by the City’s Local Use Tax.
City ordinance requires that AHTF funds go to support St. Louis’ most vulnerable residents.
All AHTF funds awarded must benefit families and individuals with incomes at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Forty (40) percent of funds awarded must benefit those earning 20 percent or less than the AMI.
increased funding for the affordable housing trust fund: Something to write home about
The City of St. Louis 2020 Fiscal Year Budget includes an increase in funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. Before the budget was passed, residents wrote about 120 postcards to elected officials in support of affordable housing.
Here are a few reasons why St. Louisans wrote to elected officials who serve the areas they call home:
A chance to lead and follow: Setting an example by increasing funding for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund will lead to strong, stable neighborhoods for all. The City has an opportunity to lead both the region and the nation in equitable housing.
Housing as a human right: Everyone deserves a home. Affordable housing will improve the health and wealth of a region.
Ensuring equity: Affordable housing is a way to change patterns of racial and economic injustices such as disinvestment that have been present and continue to pervade our region.
Thank you to all who wrote postcards to their elected officials!
What about St. Louis County?
Why is the AHTF important?
It catalyzes investment that might not flow otherwise.
Every $1 the AHTF spends on home construction and major rehab is matched by $17 in public and private funds. Expanding the AHTF means a competitive St. Louis that’s more attractive for outside investment.
Most AHTF loans to developers and homebuyers are repayable, which allows these resources to be reinvested in our community over time.
It builds strong communities.
AHTF dollars replace underutilized, unsafe, and substandard buildings with safe, attractive, accessible, energy efficient, and affordable homes.
The AHTF combats vacancy by rehabilitating properties and putting them to productive use for people who need housing.
It works to solve homelessness.
Affordable housing is getting harder to access for a growing number of people. A resident earning minimum wage in the City of St. Louis would have to spend 67 percent of their income for a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent—more than twice what the federal government defines as affordable. As an example, the AHTF awarded funds to the East Fox Homes project led by Rise and Messiah Lutheran Church in 2016. The project is restoring 47 affordable and energy-efficient rental homes in the historic Fox Park and Tower Grove East neighborhoods. Messiah Lutheran Church provides social services for Bhutanese refugees that live in these homes.
The services and projects the AHTF funds helps put housing in reach for our most vulnerable neighbors.
It’s a local solution to federal disinvestment.
Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME program funds granted to the City of St. Louis have decreased from $40.2 million to $18.8 million (in 2017 dollars) since the AHTF was created, a decline of 53 percent.
How does the AHTF improve St. Louis?
Since 2003, the AHTF has funded 1,583 rental units and 184 homes for sale.
The AHTF funds services that stabilize communities, including rent, utility, and mortgage assistance andelder services that help people age in place.
The work the AHTF makes possible has real effects on our community’s health and safety. Research shows that affordable housing projects increase property values in low-income areas and reduce crime rates.
The AHTF provides funding for home repair to build wealth in areas with low access to capital.
Where are AHTF dollars invested?
The maps below illustrate the scope of the AHTF’s impact in the City of St. Louis through the rental and for-sale projects that AHC has funded since 2003. The first three maps examine data by neighborhood; the fourth breaks data down at the ward level.
This data was shared with us by the AHC team, and we’re grateful to Senior Housing Analyst Loretta Hiner for her help and guidance as we worked to explore it.
How does the AHTF compare to other Housing Trust Funds?
According to a recent survey by the Center for Community Change, there are more than 770 housing trust funds (HTFs) across the country. City HTFs collected over $385 in revenues in 2015, and 12 cities collected more than $5 million in revenue—including Chicago, Illinois; Minneapolis, Minnesota; and Boulder, Colorado.
HTFs across the U.S. fund innovative programs that support affordable and mixed-income housing, home repairand accessibility modifications, homeless services, and utility assistance.
The AHTF Coalition is advocating that 50 percent of new Use Tax revenues generated from the April 2017 passage of Proposition 1 be allocated to the AHTF.
Help spread the word about the AHTF on social media by using the hashtags #expandAHTF, #FundtheTrust, & HouseSTL!
The STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund supports #affordablehousing & services for our most vulnerable neighbors. We should expand it with 50% of new Use Tax funds from Proposition 1. #expandAHTF
Federal funds from the CDBG & HOME programs have declined 53% in STL City since 2003. Growing the STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund can fill in that gap & support critical community development programs. #expandAHTF
Every $1 the STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund spends on home construction & major rehab is matched by $17 in public & private funds. Growing it will make STL more competitive for state, federal, & private investment. #expandAHTF
Resources invested in the STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund continue to enrich our community over time: most loans the fund grants developers & homebuyers are repayable. #expandAHTF
The STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund builds strong neighborhoods, catalyzes smart investment, combats vacancy & homelessness, & advances equity. Let’s grow it in 2018. #expandAHTF
The STL Affordable Housing Trust Fund replaces vacant properties with accessible, lead safe homes. Excellent use of Proposition 1 funds for a city struggling with vacancy. #expandAHTF
CBN and the AHTF Coalition led a breakout session on the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and why it matters at the Equal Housing Opportunity Council’s Fair Housing Conference in April 2018.
Housing trust fund experts Michael Anderson and Chris Genese of the Center for Community Change visited St. Louis in June 2018. Michael and Chris led a workshop co-hosted by the AHTF Coalition, engaged in conversations with St. Louis County leaders about the possibility of establishing an AHTF in the County, and stopped by Northside Community Housing for a site visit.
In October 2018, the Coalition hosted a workshop to support organizations interested in applying for the current AHTF funding round. Special thanks to panelists Michael Burns of Northside Community Housing, Inc., David Kessel of Employment Connection Saint Louis, and Michael Powers of Habitat for Humanity Saint Louis as well as moderator Jessica Payne of Old North Saint Louis Restoration Group for helping to make the event a success.