A Springfield nonprofit hopes to restore housing within city limits

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A nonprofit is starting a new initiative to improve housing conditions and rundown neighborhoods in Springfield. 

Brendan Griesemer, assistant director of planning and development for the city of Springfield, says a mere 40% of Springfield residents actually own their homes. Restore SGF, a nonprofit founded in 2019 and focused on improving the city’s housing conditions, would like to see those numbers improve.

Restore SGF is currently looking to hire a professional consultant to analyze housing stock data to present to the city. Once research is complete, the organization and those helping with the initiative will know which neighborhoods are on the brink of destruction and need help. 

Griesemer says the group will focus on four areas at a time, but does not yet know which neighborhoods will be first in line for renovations. Certain decaying neighborhoods can be generational in nature, he says.

“If there was a pattern of deferred maintenance, sometimes that pattern continues,” Griesemer told The Heartlander. “Neighborhoods age, and that is a natural part of the life cycle of the neighborhood. Without some injection in certain areas to increase that economic factor, they will continue to deteriorate. That’s one of the things we wanted to do with this initiative, is to provide some incentives for citizens to maintain their homes and keep them up to a minimum standard.”

Springfield leaders recently visited Des Moines, Iowa to learn about a similar project’s blueprints to restore that city’s neighborhoods.

“We’ve taken some of their great ideas, came back here and adapted them to Springfield, Missouri. We will be launching that in the coming months,” Griesemer said.

The American Rescue Plan Act awarded Restore SGF with a $1 million grant in July to help fund its efforts, along with other grants and private donations from the community. On top of that, Griesemer says six banks have agreed to provide neighborhoods with affordable interest rates in order to restore homes.

“The issue of housing has really risen in the entire country to a very high level,” Griesemer said. “Springfield is positioned really well, in the fact that we have a very good supply of housing stock. We hope this initiative will be a boost for improving those housing units and providing places to live for future Springfield citizens.”

To learn more about Restore SGF, visit its website.

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