Faith-based program to rehab homes near St. Mary’s High School

ST. LOUIS —  Archbishop Robert Carlson joined other Catholic charity leaders at St. Mary's High School to announce a new initiative. Its called the St. Joseph Housing Initiative. The goal is to increase the number of families who own homes near the St. Mary's High School.

"We also have the responsibility to the city, in which we exist, and anything we can do to help people to their full potential.  It is something we're very interested in," said Archbishop Robert Carlson.

This is a faith-based nonprofit start-up entity led by the Incarnate Word Foundation. Several organizations, volunteers, banks and even students from St. Mary's High School, are helping the initiative to buy properties, rehab them, and make it as easy as possible to make families homeowners.

"Initially we'll be targeting the Dutchtown and Carondelet neighborhoods around St. Mary's high school. Eventually, we'll be expanding in a very short order to north St. Louis," said Incarnate Word Foundation Executive Director Bridget Flood.

The St. Joseph Initiative will start by purchasing bank-owned properties like vacant homes that have been on the market for a long time. The homes in the program are projected to range in price from $40,000 to $80,000. The charity will fix them up and a company using HUD regulations will locate and sign up homeowners

"At the same time, help them to create new wealth. It is important for all of us to have a place to feel proud of, where they can have their family," said Archbishop Robert Carlson.

This initiative will address the Ferguson report, which showed a great disparity in white and black home ownership and the value of the homes they own in St. Louis.