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2000 Best Practice Awards

Best of the Best Winners: Missouri

Best Practice: SAVE, Inc.

Program Offers Housing Assistance to HIV/AIDS Individuals

Kansas City, Missouri. For over 15 years, SAVE, Inc. has provided housing and housing-related services to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in Kansas City and surrounding counties in both Missouri and Kansas. More than 1,900 people have received assistance through the continuum of services provided by SAVE and the program’s success and growth has brought more than $3.5 million in physical improvements to the east midtown area of Kansas City. The SAVE, Inc. organization was founded in 1986 by community and business members concerned with the increasing number of homeless people in the

Photo of recipients receiving award from Secretary Cuomo & Deputy Secretary Ramirez
Recipients receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

Kansas City area who were affected by HIV/AIDS. SAVE now operates 14 programs in its continuum of care that cover the many levels of need for its clients. The comprehensive array of housing assistance includes short-term emergency housing, intermediate-term transitional housing, permanent housing, hospice care, housing referrals, and housing rental and utility assistance, and housing vouchers and subsidies.

SAVE, Inc. is the first and thus far only program in the area to address the unique housing issues that can result from the specific health and medical needs of the HIV/AIDS population. For example, a hurdle people with HIV/AIDS face when in need of emergency shelter is the need for storage and refrigeration of medications and obtaining a certain measure of daily stability to undergo these complex medication regimes. Additionally, many people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS grow progressively more disabled and are often unable to work, or face exhausted finances, and find themselves unable to afford or maintain their existing homes.

The programs run through SAVE, Inc. operate 75 units of housing in 10 facilities that assist individuals living with HIV/AIDS and their families. Developing these programs and facilities has also redeveloped and revitalized previously run-down areas of Kansas City. Many of the SAVE facilities are located in what had been a city block of abandoned buildings. In addition, SAVE purchased and restored a 100-year-old three-story mansion to serve as an administration and service center for the program. The center also provides meeting and activity space for community residents and neighborhood associations.

The ability to serve an increasing population of clients is made possible through a partnership of nonprofit organizations, private donors, foundations, federal agency programs, and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. This partnership works together to provide funding and resources for the programs of SAVE, Inc.

The success of SAVE, Inc. and its comprehensive programs resulted in the 1999 Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing.

Contact: Ellen King, Phone: (816) 531-8340 Ext.22
Tracking Number: 2043
Winning Category: Geographic

Best Practice: St. Louis HUD Sweat Equity Program

Program Exchanges Manual Labor for Down Payment Assistance

St. Louis, Missouri.
One of the most difficult components of obtaining a home is saving for the down payment and closing costs. The Sweat Equity Program developed by the St. Louis HUD office permits homebuyers who are applying for an FHA-insured loan to exchange manual labor for a percentage of their down payment and closing costs of a new home.

There was a need in the St. Louis area to creatively find a way to help first-time homebuyers with down payment and closing costs. The Program found it necessary to provide tasks for the buyers that are easy to accomplish without the need to posses any special skills. The Sweat Equity Program has contributed to a 30 percent increase in homebuyer sales to first-time home buyers.

As a result of the St. Louis Sweat Equity program, many St. Louis families who could not otherwise afford a home now have the opportunity to earn their down payment and closing costs in exchange for manual labor. Prospective homeowners can plant grass seed around their house for a 1 percent discount on their down payment and can paint the inside of their home for a 2 percent discount. In both cases, the housing contractor supplies all necessary supplies and the homebuyer provides the labor. The program allows homebuyers to earn approximately 50 percent toward the down payment and closing costs on their home.

The St. Louis Sweat Equity is a partnership between the HUD—FHA, Missouri Housing Development Corporation and the St. Louis Community Development Agency. Sweat Equity is a great way to involve homebuyers in the initial building phrase of their new home. With the cooperation of agencies at the state and local level along with area businesses, Sweat Equity is a program that can be implemented in cities across the U.S. The Sweat Equity Program has been successful in enabling low-income homebuyers to become involved in the construction of their new home and ease the financial burdens that inhibit homeownership.
Contact: Dennis Martin, Phone: (314) 539-6388
Tracking Number: 865
Winning Category: Program (Housing - Single Family)

Best Practice: Doorways Interfaith AIDS Residence Program

Program Offers Community Services to HIV/AIDS Individuals

St. Louis, Missouri. Doorways is an interfaith program in St. Louis that provides innovative residential settings where HIV-affected individuals and families can receive coordinated community resources. Doorways began providing residential services more than 10 years ago with a 10-unit project. Today the program meets the needs of persons living with HIV/AIDS through a continuum of residential services ranging from independent to significantly assisted units. Doorways is the only housing program specifically designed for people with AIDS in the St. Louis area.

Doorways operates four initiatives that help

Photo of Lynne Cooper (c) receiving award from Secretary Cuomo & Deputy Secretary Ramirez
Lynne Cooper (c) receiving Best of the Best award from Secretary Cuomo (l) and Deputy Secretary Ramirez (r)

up to 450 persons each month: a Residential Program, an Own Home Program, a Clearinghouse and a Supportive Housing Program. The Residential Program provides fully furnished apartments for low-income families and individuals. Clients pay a service fee assigned on a sliding scale. The Own Home Program subsidizes rent, a mortgage and/or utility payments for people who would otherwise be unable to stay in their own homes. The Clearinghouse lists AIDS-sensitive property managers and available units, and provides housing advocacy, placement assistance and outreach to HIV-affected individuals. The Supportive Housing Program provides housing that includes laundry and housekeeping, food, nutrition and home health services.

In addition, construction is almost complete on a new 811-unit apartment complex to be called Mama Nyumba (“My Mother’s House” in Swahili). The complex, which is being built in a secure and confidential location in St. Louis, will target families headed by single parents, mostly women, who are living with the daily challenges of HIV in their families.

One strength of the Doorways program is that it provides a range of housing options that allow clients to live as independently as practical, while meeting health care and other service needs. Although a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS can often mean the loss of a job, insurance, support networks and sometimes a home, the Doorways program helps prevent homelessness in people living with the disease. In addition, Doorways strives to work as a positive force in the various St. Louis neighborhoods where it operates, contributing to revitalization by redeveloping run-down and vacant buildings and building them into community assets.

Doorways began as one response by the St. Louis AIDS Interfaith Network to the growing HIV/AIDS crisis in the metropolitan area. In 1998, religious and community leaders concerned about housing issues for people living with AIDS founded Doorways as a separate 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation. Board members include representatives from eight religious groups of different denominations in St. Louis. Other partners include the City of St. Louis, Missouri Housing Development Commission and HUD. Financial support comes from religious sponsors, the United Way, the AIDS Foundation, corporate and foundation grants, and federal, state, and local grants. The Supportive Housing facility uses City CDBG Funds, HUD Supportive Housing Funds, private donations and state of Missouri Housing Development Funds. The other projects use HUD Section 811 capital advances for supportive housing.

The program is fortunate for the strong base of support that it receives from the St. Louis community. Doorways is able to call upon the community at large to help match these financial resources to produce a quality project. For more information visit the Doorways website (http://members.aol.com/DoorwaysMO/index.html).

Contact: Lynne Cooper, Phone: (314) 535-1919 Ext. 3030
Tracking Number: 453
Winning Category: Program (Community Builder)

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Content Archived: April 20, 2011

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