Down Payment Assistance Program

Looking to put down more permanent roots in the neighborhood you love? We can help.

South Side Spaces tenants are eligible for flexible lease terms – that is, after renting from us for at least six months, they’ll have the ability to terminate their lease with 30 days notice and no penalties should they choose to purchase a home in the City of St. Louis. If they purchase a home in the neighborhood of Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Dutchtown, or Benton Park West, we’ll also contribute $1,000 towards their down payment.

St. Louis has suffered from population decline for decades. While population trends are complex, studies based on recent census information have specifically cited a lack of investment as a contributing cause. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs describes investment as an instrument – a powerful one capable of shaping the majority of changes that occur in cities. But like any powerful tool, its effects can be good or bad, equitable or destructive.

Recently, out-of-state investors have been attracted to the low real estate prices in St. Louis, specifically South City, as an opportunity for exploitation and profit. More often than not, their investments are to the detriment of the residents living in these areas, resulting in poorly maintained properties with absentee landlords, increased evictions, and displacement.

Saskia Sassen, a sociology professor at Columbia University, argues that “The city is a space where those without power get to make history, get to make modest economies, get to make cultures”.

To combat outside investment, we need to incentivize local investment to ensure that those wishing to put down roots and build generational wealth will be able to do so. Numerous local organizations and initiatives, like the Gravois-Jefferson Historic Neighborhoods Plan & the St. Louis Community Development Administration, are working to make this possible, and we aim to contribute to that effort with our Down Payment Assistance Program.

The majority of our properties are located in Gravois Park – one of the densest neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis. A history of disinvestment has left the area pocked with vacant and crumbling buildings in need of rehab. But in the past few years, building permits have been on the rise; developers are utilizing tax credits, grants, and other incentives to create affordable housing, efficient storefronts, and creative spaces. The St. Louis Art Place Initiative, a joint mission by the Incarnate Word Foundation, Kranzberg Arts Foundation, and Regional Arts Commission, is in the process of creating housing for low to moderate-income artists in Gravois Park; Rise Community Development has completed the majority of their 16 planned renovations in Gravois Park & Dutchtown as part of their Chippewa Park project; numerous individual homeowners and other developers have completed projects of their own; and in August 2019, we wrapped up one of our largest projects to date – 2755 Chippewa, a building that would have otherwise been demolished.

We’re proud to be a part of the equitable revitalization of corridors like Cherokee and Chippewa, but also acknowledge that one of the best ways for individuals to invest in and empower their community is to stop renting and to purchase properties of their own. Help strengthen our communities by investing in them.

Why South City?

About the Program

Purchasing a home in any city can be challenging; inspections, financing, and other contingencies can make a closing date a moving target. For first-time homebuyers leaving the rental world, that can mean expensive short-term housing and hefty lease termination fees. Launched in 2021, this program aims to make homeownership more attainable through flexible lease terms and down payment assistance.

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