(Elijah Todd-Walden/BLCK Press)
St. Paul has opened applications for the Rondo Inheritance Fund, a fund dedicated to reimbursing descendants of the Rondo neighborhood that were displaced by the construction of Interstate 94.
Applicants to the Downpayment Assistance Program are eligible to receive up to $110,000 in down payment assistance While the money can be used to buy a home anywhere in St. Paul, recipients would receive an extra $10,000 for homes in the Rondo area.
Applicants for the Homeowner Rehab Program can receive up to $80,000 in no-interest loans for home repairs. Residents who live in the general St. Paul area can receive up to $55,000, while those living in the historic Rondo area are eligible for an extra $25,000.
“While we address the issues, the concerns, and the need for equity across our community, we must know that the root of equity is not a social justice word at all, it’s a money word,” St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter said in his budget proposal in August. “Some of the disparity challenges that we face are based on global headwinds, and some are based on decisions we have made right here. There is no greater legacy of the latter than the legacy of Old Rondo.”
The program is just one of the many steps taken by the city of St. Paul, private equity groups and local nonprofits to repair the harm done by the creation of I-94. Its construction is estimated to have displaced over 600 families and destroyed over $100 million of generational wealth, according to the city of St. Paul’s announcement of the program.