Megan believes that all St. Louisans deserve access to safe, stable housing, no matter their background or zip code. Homelessness and housing insecurity are rampant issues, and the steps we have taken in the past have been inadequate. The 2021 Affordable Housing Report Card exposed the persistent challenges St. Louis faces in ensuring access to affordable housing, highlighting the disproportionate rent burden among Black renters and bringing to light the massive gap in available affordable housing for low-income St. Louisans. The City is rapidly building new housing, yet over 80% of new housing is considered luxury housing, making affordable housing out of reach for more and more people. St. Louis needs an innovative, community-driven approach to confronting housing affordability and homelessness and ensuring that quality housing is accessible to all. Megan is committed to realizing this approach by:
Supporting Eviction Protection and Right to Counsel: The City should protect renters from predatory landlords who fail to maintain their properties, or increase rent exponentially by adopting a Tenants’ Bill of Rights, which would include eviction protection and right to counsel for housing-related issues.
Increasing Funding to Eliminate Homelessness: Unhoused people in our region face extreme challenges, and the City must commit more resources to funding our region’s continuum of care, unhoused services, and temporary shelters (from the People’s Plan).
Adopting an Unhoused Bill of Rights: As a lifelong advocate for our unhoused community, Megan supports Unhoused Bill of Rights legislation to ensure that unhoused individuals are not criminalized for lack of housing and that they have access to quality services, as well as increased funding to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which funds unhoused services.
Creating an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance: As the local economy grows, Megan is committed to using Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) programs as a tool to achieve equitable economic development while confronting the fragmentation, discriminatory history, and racial and economic segregation that plague our region. IZ requires or encourages developers to set aside a percentage of housing units in a new residential development to be affordable. In exchange, developers can receive a variety of incentives, such as density bonuses, zoning variances, or permits that decrease construction costs. Megan is committed to leveraging IZ to keep neighborhoods accessible to all St. Louisans without hindering beneficial development.
Community Benefits Agreements: An organized effort to promote and institutionalize Community Benefits Agreements (CBA’s) in St. Louis arose in 2017. Megan introduced Board Bill 61 proposing a Community Benefits Ordinance to mandate the use of CBA’s in qualifying development projects. This effort was met with pushback from then-BOA President Lewis Reed and others, and was not passed. As St. Louis recovers from a pandemic whose fallout has disproportionately affected the City’s most vulnerable communities, equitable economic development must be a top priority. CBA’s are a powerful tool to build community power, engage citizens directly in the development of their neighborhoods, and create a more just St. Louis.