Indianapolis, Indiana – In response to the escalating housing crisis in Indianapolis, city authorities have pledged almost $6 million to solutions aimed at increasing the availability of affordable, high-quality homes. Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the commitment as part of the “Vacant to Vibrant” initiative, which is designed to redevelop underused city-owned properties within neighborhoods in need.
Englewood Community Development Executive Director Joe Bowling emphasized the significance of the initiative: “It’s a big project for us just because of the importance,”. Englewood CDC, as an award recipient, plans to create six townhouse units on vacant city lots and refurbish four rentals for refugee families, in collaboration with Exodus Refugee. This is expected to alleviate some of the struggles experienced by the recently relocated refugee families. “We’ve just seen a tremendous need for refugee families who’ve lost everything,” Bowling remarked.
Bowling also shed light on the broader implications of the current housing situation, stating that the demand for accessible, affordable housing has never been higher in the organization’s 25-year existence.
The allocated $5.86 million, partially originating from American Rescue Plan Act funds, will be distributed amongst ten proposals geared towards new home creation. According to the Indianapolis Department of Metropolitan Development Director Rusty Carr, city officials are confident about the initiative. “That comes out to about $120,000 per property,” Carr commented. “We feel really good about that.”
Carr disclosed that the city holds ownership of 100 to 150 vacant properties, with plans for this initiative to transform some of these into 49 habitable, affordable spaces. “The land has been transferred to our partners, the contracts are going through the system as we speak,” he noted, hinting at an imminent start to the construction of these projects this autumn.
Furthermore, these units will mark the first property holdings of the city’s new Community Land Trust, a move Bowling believes will ensure long-term accessibility. “That’s a big milestone in our city,” Bowling added.
Also, funding has been awarded to Martindale Brightwood CDC to construct eight new townhomes for households earning below 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In conjunction with Brown Property Development, the group has also secured a second grant to provide two additional homeownership opportunities in the Hillside neighborhood for households earning below 80% AMI.