Doctor of Humane Letters
Since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in urban studies in Arts & Sciences, Chris Krehmeyer has been instrumental in making communities better places to live.
As president and CEO since 1993 of Beyond Housing, a Neighborworks America organization based in St. Louis, Mr. Krehmeyer works to build and support thriving communities by helping provide affordable housing and create economic development.
Beyond Housing and its affiliates have more than 130 full-time employees and a budget of almost $20 million and control assets worth more than $110 million.
The organization delivers its mission by leading a comprehensive community building initiative called 24:1, producing and managing service-enriched affordable rental housing, operating a Homeownership Center and leading the region’s foreclosure intervention work.
The 24:1 Initiative of Beyond Housing is taking on multiple challenges formed over decades in north St. Louis County. The name 24:1 was chosen by the community and represents the 24 municipalities in the Normandy School District with one vision for successful children, engaged families and strong community.
Beyond Housing aims to meet communities where they are. Through its “Ask, Align, Act” approach, the voice of the people drives the organization’s efforts.
“While I’m proud of our accomplishments, I don’t claim to be an expert,” Mr. Krehmeyer has said. “At Beyond Housing, the experts we listen to are the voices of the community members we serve.”
The strategic vision of Beyond Housing is to go beyond simple tolerance and fully embrace the things that make each person unique. The organization recognizes that employees’ differences support its ability to advance equity for the communities it serves.
Beyond Housing embraces equity as critical to the fulfillment of its mission to help entire communities become better places to live.
“Like all across the country, there is a great lack of decent, safe and affordable housing for families and individuals in the St. Louis region,” Mr. Krehmeyer told St. Louis Public Radio in 2015. “In its 2015 Out of Reach Report, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said that someone earning minimum wage would have to work 82 hours a week to afford the typical two-bedroom rent and a staggering 107 hours a week to afford the typical three-bedroom rent.
“These are families, single-wage earners who are working, paying taxes — doing all the right things and they cannot find a place to call home that allows for them to be successful. Families are faced with either paying a financially unsound proportion of their income on housing, many paying over 50 percent of income, or living in an unsafe neighborhood or unsafe house or both,” he said.
Mr. Krehmeyer, who grew up in University City, Missouri, has or currently sits on a variety of boards, including Midwest BankCentre and Midwest BankCentre Holding Company; Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis; and University of Missouri’s nonprofit programs.
He is board chair of the national Home Matters movement, whose mission is to build awareness and raise funds for more affordable homes and better communities across the nation, and is the former chair of the National NeighborWorks Association board.
He has been an adjunct faculty member at Washington University, teaching a class in social entrepreneurship, and recently taught at Webster University, teaching a class on not-for-profit mergers, alliances and collaborations.
The Ethical Society of St. Louis named Mr. Krehmeyer its 2003 Ethical Humanist of the Year and he received the 2005 Open Door Award from the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council.
The National NeighborWorks Association named him the Practitioner of the Year in 2007.
In both 2011 and 2012, the St. Louis Business Journal named Mr. Krehmeyer one of the Most Influential St. Louisans and the NAACP named him one of St. Louis’ Most Inspiring.
In 2013, Mr. Krehmeyer received the Lighting the Way Award from United 4 Children and in 2014, FOCUS St. Louis presented him with its highest honor, the Leadership Award, during its What’s Right with the Region! awards ceremony.
Mr. Krehmeyer and his wife, Christine, have three children. The family lives in Richmond Heights, Missouri.