ST. LOUIS – The state of housing in St. Louis was the topic of discussion at the very first town hall about housing.

Board of Aldermen President Megan Green partnered with the Urban League to host the event.

“We know that safe, stable housing is critical for the well-being of our community,” Green said. “It impacts every single part of our lives, whether it’s jobs and opportunities or physical/mental health.”

Earlier this month, the FOX Files reported on seniors trapped in their apartment building because both elevators were broken for three weeks.

Green said research shows that access to high-quality, affordable housing is key to increasing economic mobility, equity, and health outcomes.

Many residents in St. Louis can’t find affordable housing. According to President Green, 60% of people living in St. Louis are renters.

There are efforts underway at the board of aldermen to improve and address access to quality housing, like the passing of Board Bill 59 earlier this summer.

“That legislation will help provide access to legal representation to tenants facing eviction,” Green said.

They will also introduce legislation establishing a rental registry, where landlords will register their information and be subject to regular inspection.

April Ford Griffin, with the Affordable Housing Commission, said their job is to provide and preserve affordable housing units and services.

“According to the ordinance that established us, we must receive at least $5 million, which is the floor, not the ceiling,” Griffin said.

Green said they are preempted by state law for rent control and cannot place a cap on renters. But she said a law was recently passed to give a tax break to seniors.