St. Louis Association of Community Organizations
SLACO has led numerous action campaigns during its history. Currently SLACO is kicking off its policy work and action on the topic of vacancy--meaning both vacant land and buildings, on both public and private land. If you are interested in this work, please read more about it.
Another current initiative is helping to organize new neighborhood associations when invited by residents. In some cases, this means reorganizing a previously active organization that had ceased to meet. A recent successful example is our work with Tower Grove South.
We are ready to act in 2016 to help improve racial understanding within the St. Louis metropolitan area. The prototype project is called Neighborhoods United for Change.
The most noteworthy historic action project has been the housing partnerships resulting in development of nearly 500 units of new housing in the City of St. Louis. Among past advocacy efforts, one of the most fruitful was the Community Air Project, a 2000-2002 effort to highlight air pollution issues in City neighborhoods. This project led to community-wide conversation about school bus idling, as well as a focus on the fact that air pollution impacts residential neighbors--not simply industrial areas--heavily.
SLACO led efforts to ban the sale of single 40-ounce beer bottles within the City in 1994 and 1995. The ban has saved an estimated 9 million bottles per year since 1995. Because recycling values for glass are low, especially when compared to aluminum cans, many glass containers previously ended up broken in parks or along sidewalks.
Another important campaign was the Walk with Your Neighbors initiative, funded in part by Missouri Foundation for Health. Hats and pedometers were distributed to participating neighborhoods, and in the West End, security was provided for the walking clubs.
Elsewhere in the City, SLACO picketed slumlords, fought with grocery store chains to keep stores open in underserved communities, and argued successfully in public venues to close down bars that were operating illegally or generating a public nuisance. Legislative and administrative wins have included advancing legislation to curb property speculation and an ordinance to revise the City's liquor ordinance.
SLACO members have organized aggressive efforts to reduce crime, often through close partnerships with the Police Department. SLACO also supported the siting of a police sub-station at the Etzel Place Apartments leasing office, where SLACO offices are located. This effort coordinated with the West End Neighbors' leadership in adopting the Neighborhood Ownership Model as put forth by the St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office.