(KMOV.com) -- A religious organization wants to revitalize a violent north St. Louis neighborhood by installing community gardens, renovating aging homes and building new ones.
National Housing Support, part of the Lutheran Church in Missouri, plans to build 20 new homes in College Hill, beginning with construction of two residences on Wednesday.
Eddie Gamble and his wife live in College Hill. Both say the neighborhood has serious safety issues.
"I would have to say when I left Iraq a few months ago, it was safer in Iraq than it was here," said Mrs. Gamble.
In February, police responded to four College Hill shootings within two weeks by increasing patrols in the neighborhood. The effort led to more than 25 arrests within the span of a few days.
But some residents said they are hopeful the renovation and construction project could help turn the area around.
"And our goal with the college hill neighborhood is to restore it and make it an inviting, safe community," said Vicki Biggs, communications director with the LCMS.
Construction of the two homes this week was funded by a $50,000 grant from Wells Fargo, according to a LCMS release. Biggs was not sure how long the construction and renovation project will last.