Housing Improvement Initiative

May 1, 2024

Written and Photographed by Emily Baumann


DEFINITION: Forming the base from which everything else develops.

Taking back our town, one abandoned home at a time, is the call to arms of St. Joseph’s newest real estate movers and shakers…the Housing Improvement Initiative (HII for short.) Started in 2023 by Ashley Albers, Michelle Clark, Tara Horn, and Sarah Weaver; this entirely female led organization is on a mission to accommodate affordable housing for our workforce in the St. Joseph, Missouri region and to enhance beautification in deteriorating neighborhoods.

History is being made right in front of us as these incredible community-focused women are creating change and growth through their combined expertise in business leadership, real estate, investing, and philanthropy.

What if somebody could take houses, rehab houses, and then market them to first time home buyers…We’re somebody who can do that!

A discussion between friends about the fact that St. Joseph actually doesn’t have a housing shortage…it has a housing QUALITY shortage has turned into turning dreams into reality. With affordable inventory dwindling across the country for first time home buyers. The HII wants to create as many opportunities as they can to help people literally get their foot in the door!

The HII transformative approach to neighborhood improvement – one house at a time – is a true testament to their dedication to strengthening the long term stability of the citizens of St. Joseph. But they can’t do it without help from neighborly doers and givers who also envision a future where everyone who wants to own a house can afford to do so and has the resources to make it happen!

HII’s first renovation project located on the serene corner of A Street in the north side of St. Joseph was recently completed with much fanfare and a ribbon cutting! This once abandoned home had a tree growing through the foundation, but they saw the potential. In 2023 HII secured private funding and swooped in to save this gem of a home working in concert with public entities to utilize grants to offset rehab costs. This collaborative approach to revitalizing neighborhoods allows them to create a sustainable process to continually reinvest the proceeds from the sale of a renovated home toward the purchase of their next home project!

Sounds like a lot of work, right? But HII isn’t done there…in order to ensure that all people who want to own a home have the opportunity they have worked with local subject matter experts to develop an educational program that breaks down the overwhelming process of first time home buying.

If you see the Housing Improvement Initiative ladies walking through your neighborhood…make sure to yell HIIIII and ask them how you can get involved in helping this grassroots effort, or click the “Down to Fund?” link below!


Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978, this architectural feat, designed by esteemed local architects Eckel and Mann, is getting a second life thanks to a $20 million shot in the arm from Mosaic Life Care.


In addition to its paved walking paths, the Parkway features miles of rugged biking and hiking trails and serves as a red carpet to some of St. Joseph’s most interesting places.


There’s a lot to love about St. Joseph’s Southside. This tight-knit community is on pace for a major comeback.


Not only does the SBTDC help hundreds of small business owners capitalize on their dreams, it is a great example of how government agencies, higher education, and nonprofit organizations can work together for the greater good.


Games of chance and dining establishments have been a part of St. Joseph, Missouri’s uncommon character since the earliest settlers gathered to let off some steam and gamble on optimistic odds.