Real Estate Tax Assistance Fund (RETAF)

The initiative will provide short-term financial property tax relief to homeowners along with financial coaching, financial education and access to resource safe banking products or grants.

St. Louis, Missouri

Real Estate Tax Assistance Fund (RETAF)

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At A Glance

Location: St. Louis, Missouri

FHLB Des Moines Member: St. Louis Community Credit Union

The Impact: This project is designed to help families in owner-occupied homes receive immediate delinquent property tax assistance as a way to keep them from losing the homes they have worked hard to acquire.

The Need: Thousands of vulnerable owner-occupied homes are lost to families due to delinquent property taxes, sometimes for as little as $400. Tax foreclosure represents a critical gap in current assistance programs and disproportionately affects African American families.

The Results: This philanthropic initiative will create a property tax assistance fund to relieve the burden of homeowners struggling to pay their property taxes.

The Key Players: Prosperity Connection, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, Park Central Development, Collector of Revenue for the City of St. Louis.

The Full Story

For years, and increasingly during the pandemic, governments have provided economic assistance for rent, mortgage and utility payments. However, a critical gap remains in the form of property tax relief.

In St. Louis, thousands of vulnerable owner-occupied homes are lost to families due to delinquent property taxes. This situation disproportionately affects African American homeowners. Sadly, this devastating event sometimes happens over a payment of as little as $400. The result negatively affects families who have worked hard for generations to build equity and to create stability and creates a housing crisis that could potentially take decades to repair.

The Real Estate Tax Assistance Fund (RETAF) project will provide short-term financial relief to the affected homeowners prior to the court appearance for sale. Following the stabilization of ownership, homeowners are given financial tools that will help them find safe banking products and additional grants that will help them remain homeowners and retain their hard-earned assets.

Tax assistance programs like RETAF have been successful in other states. They work because they help fund local budgets, decrease vacant properties, support and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and protect homeowners facing economic hardships.

RETAF is comprised of two community partners: St. Louis Community Credit Union, a CDFI minority-owned financial institution that ensures access to safe, alternative financial products, and the Collector of Revenue for the city of St. Louis who provides the government infrastructure to assist homeowners. Additionally, Legal Services of Eastern Missouri offers legal assistance, Prosperity Connection provides financial education and coaching, and Park Central Development processes payments and provides access to home repair products.

This comprehensive package of immediate and longer-term assistance offers not only financial and educational support but also hope to those that find themselves facing the loss of their home.