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Spanning the Region

Monday, July 1, 2002

St. Louis Resource Fair to Link Businesses, Immigrants

Financial institutions and agencies that want to tap into the immigrant market are being sought to participate in the International Institute of St. Louis annual financial resource fair Aug. 24.

Bridges to the American Dream Financial Resource Fair for New Americans will provide businesses and agencies with a way to showcase their financial services to immigrants and refugees. Those interested in participating can pay a fee to reserve a table at the fair, which will be at the Institute, 3654 S. Grand Blvd., St. Louis.

For information, call Linda Callanan at the Institute, (314) 773-9090, ext. 131.

Illinois Offers Grants of $5,000 to Residential Developers

The Illinois Housing Development Authority will give developers $5,000 for each wheelchair-accessible, single-family home they build, with a limit of $30,000 for each developer.

The homes must have at least one exterior door with a width of 36 or more inches and no steps. Interior doors must be 32 inches wide, electrical switches must be low on the walls, electrical outlets must be at least 15 inches from the floor and bathroom walls must be reinforced for grab bars.

Grants from the $1 million Accessible Housing Demonstration Grant Program will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until December 2003. Townhouses and condominiums are eligible, but not rental units.

Builders interested in receiving application packets for the accessibility demonstration program should call (312) 836-5230.

In Memphis Area, Seedco Combats Predatory Lending

About 60 low- to moderate-income residents of Shelby County, Tenn., are expected to benefit from a new anti-predatory lending initiative started recently by Seedco, a national nonprofit organization.

Seedco has committed a loan of $250,000 to United Housing Inc., a Memphis-based nonprofit organization that offers low-interest mortgages to low- and moderate-income homebuyers, creates affordable housing and provides homebuyer and financial literacy training. The financing will help capitalize a start-up loan fund for a three-year pilot program that will focus on providing home repair loans and on refinancing mortgages.

United Housing will administer the program and provide homeownership counseling. In addition, the organization will underwrite, close, monitor and service the home improvement loans. Participating Fannie Mae lenders will directly service the refinanced loans.

Missouri Seeks Donors For Financial Literacy Study

Missouri Gov. Bob Holden signed an order in April to commission a study to improve the financial and economic literacy of Missouri's schoolchildren. The study will recommend ways to teach the principles of economics and personal finance to everyone from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The lessons would be incorporated into math, reading, writing, social studies, business, and family and consumer science courses.

The Missouri Council on Economic Education, the Missouri Bankers Association and the state treasurer will conduct the study, which must be submitted to the governor and members of the General Assembly by Jan. 1. No state money will be used for the study.

A total of $100,000 is needed for the study; so far, $33,000 has been committed. The Missouri Coalition for Economic and Financial Literacy is seeking additional donors to help pay for the study. For more information, call Stan Mengel at (816) 235-2654 or e-mail him at

Evansville Police, Firefighters Get Home-Buying Break

Police officers and firefighters interested in buying a home in downtown Evansville, Ind., are eligible for a $5,000 boost from the city.

A new mortgage program developed by the city in partnership with Fannie Mae and First Federal Savings Bank helps police and firefighters who buy an existing residence in the downtown area. The goal is to revitalize downtown and keep public servants in the city. The $5,000 "soft mortgage" can be used toward a down payment or for repairs. The forgivable loan will credit the homebuyer for 20 percent of the value of the mortgage for each year he lives in the home.

For information, contact the Department of Metropolitan Development, (812) 436-7823, and ask for Debbie Spaulding or Susan Kirk.