If you ask Molly Metzger why she is so passionate about improving racial equity in housing and economic development, she says “The inequality we have created through decades of public policy is simply unacceptable. We need justice for practices like redlining, restrictive covenants, and other forms of institutionalized discrimination.”
Dr. Metzger began her journey as an engaged scholar well before her doctoral studies, working in Chicago on low-income housing issues as a social services coordinator. An assistant professor at the Brown School, she recently joined the Gephardt Institute as a Community Engagement Faculty Fellow. She is also a faculty director in the Center for Social Development. As a Faculty Fellow, Dr. Metzger works with faculty and other stakeholders to advance Community-Engaged Teaching across the university. A high impact practice, this pedagogy connects WashU students to St. Louis through observation, service, and projects in and with the community. Molly co-leads a faculty committee in expanding and improving training, promotion, curricular integration, and faculty incentives related to Community-Engaged Teaching. “I want to ensure sustained, high-quality community partnerships with tangible outcomes and benefits, and to set up systems to train people at Washington University on best practices in working with the community.”
Dr. Metzger co-teaches “Developing Sustainable Urban Communities” with Executive Vice Chancellor and Brown School Professor of Practice Hank Webber, and makes it a point to ensure that her students interact with the local community to grapple with real-world problems. She’s particularly interested in issues surrounding tax policy, economic development, gentrification, and segregation—all key issues in today’s St. Louis landscape. “We have some tools at hand, such as the U.S. Fair Housing Act,” says Dr. Metzger. “We need to figure out how to use these tools to the fullest extent possible.”
Some of Dr. Metzger’s recent work with the St. Louis community includes:
- Helping to craft housing recommendations to support racial equity with Forward Through Ferguson that were featured in the Ferguson Commission report
- Testifying on housing discrimination to the St. Louis Board of Alderman (watch video)
- Co-founding the City Garden Montessori School’s Coalition for Neighborhood Diversity and Affordable Housing, and actively participating in South City Solidarity
- Publishing a guest column in the Louis American “City Must Meet Legal Requirement to Fund Affordable Housing”
Selected Further Reading
DeWind, C., Dickey, J., O’Neill, E., & Metzger, M. W. (2016). Tax abatement in St. Louis: Reforms could foster equitable development. (CSD Policy Brief 15-47). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.
Kantor, N. & Metzger, M. W. (2015). Evicting victims: Reforming St. Louis’s nuisance ordinance for survivor s of domestic violence. (CSD Policy Brief 15-47). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.
Metzger, M. W. (2014). Section 8 housing in the St. Louis region: Local opportunities to expand housing choice (CSD Policy Brief 14-29). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.