St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay today announced that he would seek a $1 million package for home repairs to help rebuild neighborhoods damaged during a New Year's Eve tornado.
"The number of homes damaged was not enough to attract federal disaster relief," said Mayor Francis Slay. "So, we have to do this ourselves."
The Mayor will ask the Board of Estimate and Apportionment to allocate $500,000 from the Major Initiatives Fund in the federal Community Development Block Grant. About $4 million in the fund is for projects that either are not ready to be built, or don't need the money immediately.
Governor Nixon has agreed to match that from disaster relief funds available through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
Among the neighborhoods is Lewis Place, which is on the National Register for Historic Places because of its architecture and its history. Between 1910 and 1945, Lewis Place barred African-Americans from certain streets with the use of restrictive covenants. A group of determined African-Americans fought the covenants and eventually won a landmark legal case.
Only owner-occupied homes will be eligible. Over 150 buildings were damaged by the tornado; about 90 of those are owner-occupied homes. The relief fund will cover uninsured, storm-related damage. To be eligible, a home owner must make no more than 80% of median income and be current on taxes through 2009. Because of limits on funding and federal rules, the priority will be repairs that have yet to be made, or were only partially completed. There will be a limit of $30,000 per home, except under extraordinary circumstances.
The disaster relief fund will be administered by the City's Community Development Administration with assistance from the Building Division and Department of Human Services.
It will work like this:
* CDA will create the application.* Human Services will distribute it to the 90 homeowners.* To make it easier for homeowners, CDA will help them fill out the application and gather the information needed to determine eligibility.* If the homeowner is eligible, the Building Division will conduct an inspection to determine if there are covered repairs.* If there are covered repairs, a not-for-profit under contract with CDA will bid out the repairs. (No checks will be written to homeowners.)* The not-for-profit and the Building Division will make sure the repairs are done correctly.
If a homeowner thinks he or she is eligible, please call (314) 657-1651 for more information. The City's Department of Human Services will continue to link victims to resources upon request.