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Rebuilding the Community in Ferguson, Missouri

Anyone who watched the news over the past six weeks has seen the images of rioting and looting in the streets of Ferguson after a police officer shot and killed an 18 year old boy. Many of the pictures portrayed by the media showed downtrodden neighborhoods in complete disarray and in need of dire help, leaving many viewers wondering - how distressed was Ferguson before the tragedy occurred first place?

The unfortunate reality is that many Ferguson residents live below the poverty line. In fact, approximately 1 in 5 people are considered impoverished, with a median household income around $37k.  Yet despite the areas economic difficulties, Ferguson’s housing market has surprisingly remained in stable condition in comparison to other troubled cities in America who have much higher vacancy rates.

Part of the reason for the improved housing market is related to the areas recent investment towards rehabilitating the business district.  According to Rebecca Zoll, CEO of North County Inc., "Ferguson's downtown area has actually become a model for redevelopment in older downtowns,"  Zoll went on to express, "I think the entire community leadership is concerned. Our hearts are broken, but I think that once the community begins to heal, we have confidence that the customer base will return."

A large complimentary factor for Ferguson's growth is their proximity to the airport, which has helped spawn an industrial sector, in turn creating jobs for those who live in the nearby and surrounding areas. A prime example is Emerson Electric, a Fortune 500 company, which has its headquarters located on the south side of the city. Emerson helps employ over 1,000 people at its facility and has become the city’s biggest employer next to St. Louis Community College. In addition, companies like Express Scripts’ and Boeing have set up shop as well, helping to provide work for the cities patrons who so desperately need it.

There have also been dramatic signs of improvement in relation to the city's foreclosure rates.  According to RealtyTrac, back in 2008 the rate was a dreadful 1 out of every 118 homes! Today the rate is much closer to the nation's average, as 1 out of every 1,283 homes is in foreclosure.

For now, the recent looting and riots have sadly stunted the growth of the community.  As a society, we sincerely hope the leaders, government officials, and citizens of Ferguson are able to work together towards a common cause and find a solution to help turn this negative event into something positive.

In the past, we've seen how crowdfunding can be used to help rebuild and revitalize communities.  Perhaps it could be a viable option here as well.  We'd love to know how you feel.  Leave us a comment and let us know what you think can be done to help?

If you want to learn more, take a look at some of the most commonly asked questions we receive about real estate crowdfunding on a daily basis and find out why so many people are crowdfunding real estate projects across the country with Patch of Land.
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