LOVEtheLOU: A Community For Change

By Maggie McCarthy
In Culture

LOVEtheLOU, a nonprofit in North St. Louis, recognizes the need for renewal throughout the county. Since its development in 2009, the organization has actively responded to the need for love and sustainable change throughout the city. Despite the constant challenges brought about by founding and running a small nonprofit, the vision for restoration has remained constant.

Photo Courtesy of LOVEtheLOU

Photo Courtesy of LOVEtheLOU

With a vision for restoration, this locally run non-profit has slowly and steadily strengthened the community of North St. Louis. The group’s urban gardens, street paintings and mentorship programs have created belonging and pride for a community in need of hope.

Despite the potential waiting in the abandoned buildings and vacant lots of North St. Louis, these areas are often neglected by developers, leading to further deterioration. Here, LOVEtheLou is stepping in. In hopes to reverse this trend, the nonprofit is dedicating time and resources to the renovation of a donated building located at 2801 N. Kingshighway. This building, once dilapidated, has become a central focus of the group’s community work.

Over the course of the last year, several volunteers have dedicated their time and energy to the renovations of LOVEtheLOU’s new building on Kingshighway. Their efforts have made apartments available to tenants with rent $200 below the average in the Kingshighway West neighborhood.

“Because our rent is the lowest in the city, we can work with families to lift them out of circumstances, all the while without needing the government’s support … We set a goal of finishing all of them by July 2016, and we are on target to meet that goal,”  founder Lucas Rouggly says.

With the apartment renovations quickly coming to a close, the group’s efforts at Kingshighway will soon shift to the business spaces in the lower level. LOVEtheLOU will transform this area into a Market, Cafe, and open office spaces for local businesses.

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