The Overall Health, Vitality, and Success of Our Community: Affordable Housing
Date(s) - September 21, 2022
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
The Sheldon Ballroom
3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis, MO 63108
Online registration is now closed for this event. If you have any questions or need to make changes to an existing reservation, please contact Becky Rasmussen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (314) 657-4027.
A Community Needs Assessment conducted and released by United Way of Greater St. Louis in early 2020 revealed three primary challenges ranked among the highest priorities for each of the 16 counties in our region: affordable housing, jobs and transportation, and behavioral health. This year, FOCUS St. Louis and the United Way of Greater St. Louis are teaming up for an in-depth exploration of these issues, with the help of regional leaders and policy experts — and we want you to be part of the discussion.
Join us for the first session in our series addressing The Overall Health, Vitality, and Success of Our Community.
The Challenge: Affordable Housing
The impact of the pandemic — and now inflation — on people’s ability to afford and access basic needs has changed lives and put people at greater risk for poor health, especially among those already experiencing poor health outcomes.
For housing in particular, COVID-19 has clearly underscored the importance of safe, stable, and affordable housing to health and has highlighted the social and economic costs of persistent inequalities and gaps in the safety net. This has enormous impacts on health and well-being. Research consistently shows that people who are affordably housed earn more over their lifetime, they live longer, and their children do better in school.
In this forum, we’ll look at the current landscape of affordable housing in the region, the local and national policies that got us to where we are today, and what needs to change to ensure housing is accessible for all.
- Nahuel Fefer, Director of Policy & Development, City of St. Louis Mayor’s Office
- Cristina Garmendia, Founder & Principal, URBNRX
- Ch. Will Jordan, Executive Director, Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council
- Wolf Smith, Executive Director, Conflict Resolution Center – St. Louis
This event is open to all and free to attend, but registration is required. You are welcome to bring a lunch. Doors open at 11:45 a.m., and the discussion begins promptly at noon. We will be in the Sheldon Ballroom located on the third floor.
About Our Panelists
Nahuel Fefer (he/him) serves as Director of Policy and Development for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. Nahuel began his career in public service in the Slay administration, where he fought to raise the minimum wage, negotiate fair development deals, and expand funding for public transit. He joined the mayor’s office from ArchCity Defenders, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to fighting the criminalization of poverty and committed to revolutionary justice.
Nahuel is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis and New York University School of Law. He has focused his studies on tax policy and constitutional law, and spent semesters at the New York City Law Department, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Liberian Ministry of Health. Nahuel was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, grew up outside of Boston, and now resides in Tower Grove South.
Cristina Garmendia is Founder and Principal at URBNRX, where she advises governments, foundations, and nonprofits on accountability, data strategy, and data-informed decision-making. Before launching her consultancy, she had diverse work experience spanning government, technology, community development, and the academic sector. Locally, she is best known for her work as the designer of the City of St. Louis’ Equity Indicators, a series of 72 racial equity metrics based upon the priorities identified by the Ferguson Commission. Her most recent public-facing project is the St. Louis Affordable Housing Report Card on behalf of the Community Builders Network, released in November 2021. She currently serves on the International Institute of St. Louis’ Housing Fund Advisory Board. She studied architecture at Washington University in St. Louis and earned her Master’s in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Will Jordan is the Executive Director of the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council (EHOC), which works to ensure equal access to housing for all people through education, counseling, investigation, and enforcement. EHOC was recognized in 2008 with HUD’s Blue Ribbon Award and by FOCUS St. Louis in 2003 with a “What’s Right with the Region” Award. Will personally was awarded the 2012 Missouri Commission on Human Rights Fair Housing Advocate Award and the 2005 Governor’s Human Rights Award from the State of Illinois. Will received his B.S. in Psychology from Southeast Missouri State University and his J.D. from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Before coming to EHOC, he served as Program Manager for the Emerson Park Development Corporation’s YouthBuild Program in East St. Louis, as Hearing Officer for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, as Regional Trainer for the Missouri Division of Youth Services, and as Community Outreach Coordinator for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. He is a member of Stand for Children’s grassroots organizing initiative.
Wolf Smith (they/them) is the leader of CRCSTL, where they bring together their passion for non-profit governance and leadership with their entrepreneurial background to build creative and innovative solutions to resolving conflicts. An alum of Washington University School of Law and the Brown School of Social Work, Wolf aims to bring both to their leadership of CRCSTL. They are a St. Louis native with professional roots in the anti-domestic violence movement and LGBTQIA+ communities, resulting in their founding and leading the St. Louis Anti-Violence Project for six years before passing the reins to their successor.
Wolf has also worked with Pride St. Louis, where they founded PrideCenter, the region’s only LGBTQIA+ community center. They continue to serve on the Governance Committee of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, teach at the Brown School of Social Work, and provide mentorship and legal support to local LGBTQIA+ organizations, such as serving as the Legal Advisor for the St. Louis Queer+ Support Helpline (SQSH).