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  • 29 Jun 2018 4:13 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Please lift your voice and share key consumer issues affecting Hoosiers in rural Indiana with the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB)!

    On Thursday, July 12, from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, the CFPB invites consumer, community, and nonprofit groups to join a National Call on Rural Communities with the Bureau’s Office of Public Engagement and Community Liaison (formerly Office of Community Affairs) staff and national community leaders.

    The conversation is a opportunity for the Bureau to hear about consumer finance issues affecting consumers in rural communities and share Bureau resources. The call is closed to the press, off the record. Please forward to colleagues.   

    Prosperity Indiana will be speaking up and we hope you will join us! Click here to RSVP!


  • 21 Jun 2018 5:22 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)
    Thanks to advocacy pressure from you (

    https://www.prosperityindiana.org/Blog/6242798) and housing and community development proponents around the country, Congress rejected the Administration's effort to rescind $15 billion in previously approved federal funding. Those cuts included $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund, $40 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs. 

    These programs help ensure Hoosiers have access to safe, affordable housing and spur community development investments. While it passed the House on June 6, by a close vote of 210 - 206, the Senate voted down the measure by a vote of 48-50 on Wednesday. Senator Young (R-IN) voted to approve the measure and Senator Donnelly (D-IN) opposed it. To see how your Representative voted, click here.

    Below is our action alert text addressing the impact this bill would have had on Prosperity Indiana' members and the Hoosiers served by them:

    Dear Member,

    As a Prosperity Indiana member dedicated to expanding affordable housing access and strengthening our communities, I urge you to oppose harmful rescissions contained in H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. Contrary to the bill's title, the legislation would rescind significant resources needed to improve living conditions for low-income Hoosiers and increase investment in distressed communities.

    Specifically, H.R. 3 would rescind $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Public Housing Capital Fund Program, $40 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs.

    HUD:

    The Public Housing Capital Fund enables Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to maintain safe, sanitary living conditions for residents. These resources are used for roof repairs, maintaining heating and air conditioning systems, and removing hazards such as lead paint. Unfortunately, appropriations have not kept pace with the urgent need. A 2010 HUD study estimated the backlog on deferred maintenance on public housing was $26 billion, and was expected to grow by $3.4 billion per year. That would put the current backlog at more than $50 billion. Unobligated resources in this fund do not reflect a surplus. To the contrary, these funds are unobligated because PHAs often do not receive enough in one year's allocation to make larger repairs and have to save their annual funding for several years before signing contracts which lengthens the process. Cutting these resources only serves to further jeopardize the health and safety of public housing residents across our state.

    USDA:

    USDA's Rental Assistance Program is critical to community stability, providing funding to help low-income households in rural areas access housing stability through public-private partnerships with landlords. Without these funds, many families would be homeless. Short-term funding via continuing resolutions made it difficult to renew contracts and the funds targeted in this bill were intended to ensure there are no shortfalls in fulfilling those existing obligations that would be harmful to housing providers and low-income Hoosiers alike.

    Treasury:

    Proposed rescissions also include $151 million from the Capital Magnet Fund, resources that were only made available on May 1 of this year, and $22 million from the Bank Enterprise Award Program. These programs attract private capital to support organizations that increase the availability and affordability of housing and improve access to financial services in divested communities.

    When you consider that thirty-one percent of households in Indiana are renters and nearly half are cost-burdened already, it is clear we simply cannot afford to cut programs that provide critical housing assistance and incentivize investments in low-income communities. I urge you to oppose this measure.


  • 20 Jun 2018 5:53 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    On June 18, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018. This is the 30th anniversary of the annual report which tracks trends in the national housing market. 

    While the full report is linked here, we have included key findings related to housing affordability, housing cost burden, and homeownership that are critical to Prosperity Indiana’s members. 

    The report underlines why our advocacy for strong housing and community development policies and robust funding is so critical. Want to get more involved? Contact our Policy Director, Kathleen Lara at klara@prosperityindiana.org.

    JCHS' State of the Nation's Housing 2018:

    • Since 1988, the number of households burdened by housing costs in America has risen by nearly 14 million.
    • Nearly a third of U.S. households (38.1 million) paid more than 30% of their incomes for housing in 2016. More than half (20.8 million) are renters, and fully 80% of renters and 63% of owners making less than $30,000 are cost burdened.
    • Increases in the median sales price of existing homes have outstripped growth in median household income for six straight years. The price of a typical existing home sold in 2017 was more than four times the median income.
    • The homeownership rate between black and white Americans is widening. Between 1994 and 2016, black homeownership rates increased just 0.3% while white rates rose 2.2%, widening the black-white gap to 29.2%.

    Some challenges identified in the first 1988 report persist today:
    • Homeownership rates among young adults are even lower than in 1988, and the share of cost-burdened renters is significantly higher with soaring housing costs to blame.
    • The national median rent rose 20 percent faster than overall inflation between 1990 and 2016 and the median home price rose 41 percent faster.
    • Comparing rent-to-income: Since 1960, median earnings increased 5% while rents rose 61%.
    • The number of low income families increased by 6 million nationally since 1988, while the number of apartments renting below $800, affordable to households making $32,000 or less, declined by more than 2.5 million between 1990 and 2016.
    • In 2016, only 35 available rental units were affordable for every 100 extremely low income (ELI) renter households, those earning less than the poverty level or 30% of the area median income (AMI). 
    • There is a nationwide shortage of more than 7.2 million rental homes affordable and available to ELI renter households.
    • For these cost-burdened renter households, an emergency expense or unexpected loss of income could result in eviction and homelessness. After a decline of 14% between 2010 and 2016, the homeless population increased by 3,800 people in 2017.
    • Despite the increasing need, federal rental assistance is grossly insufficient. Only one out of every four very low income (VLI) renter households, those at or below 50% AMI, receives housing assistance.
    • From 1987 to 2015, the number of VLI households grew by 6 million, while the number receiving housing assistance increased by only 950,000.
    • The share of these households receiving assistance declined from 29% to 25%.


  • 13 Jun 2018 10:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    INDIANAPOLIS – Popular opinion is that Indiana has a low cost of living, but it is clear that is simply not the case for low-wage workers across the Hoosier state, according to a national report released today. In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Indiana, renters need to earn $15.56 per hour. The report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, was jointly released by Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated solely to achieving affordable and decent homes for the lowest income people.

    Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs) for all states, counties, metropolitan areas, and ZIP codes in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford a home at Fair Market Rent.

    “Increasingly, data shows that even working full-time, thousands of Hoosiers cannot meet basic housing costs,” said Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director. ”The average renter wage is insufficient to afford a two-bedroom apartment in 84 of Indiana’s 92 counties.  We also know that 86 households are being evicted every day in Indiana, which is further evidence that the needs are critical.  It is clear we need common-sense solutions to address these challenges and support investments in affordable housing development and preservation.”

    Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Indiana, a worker must have 1.7 full-time jobs or work 69 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment; or have 2.1 full-time jobs or work 86 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

     “The housing crisis has reached historic heights, most negatively impacting the lowest income renters,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The struggle to afford modest rental homes is not limited to minimum wage workers; seven out of 10 of the jobs projected for the greatest growth over the next decade have wages lower that the one-bedroom Housing Wage. Too often, a low wage worker must choose between paying for rent, healthcare, childcare, and other basic necessities. Congress must invest in expanding housing solutions that provide stable homes for the lowest income people in our country.”

    For additional information, visit: http://nlihc.org/oor/indiana.


  • 11 Jun 2018 5:47 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    As we posted in May, Congress is moving forward with FY19 budget bills, including key votes in House and Senate Committees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills that affect spending for housing and many community development programs.

    House of Representatives

    On May 23, the House Appropriations Committee advanced their THUD bill (details on our earlier blog post (click here)), only voting to adopt one amendment to increase funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program to the FY18 funding level. The FY19 funding bill provides $632 million to the program, compared to $678 million in the FY18 omnibus bill. 

    There were also amendments offered increase funding for several programs (homeless assistance grants, public housing capital repairs and the HOME program), as well as amendments aimed at preventing HUD from implementing the Administration’s rent increase proposal, and an effort to limits HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, but those were all defeated. The bill will now proceed to the full House for consideration.

    U.S. Senate

    On Thursday, June 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance its FY19 THUD bill. The bill is stronger for housing programs than the House bill, providing $1.8 billion in additional funding – that works out to $12 billion above the president’s FY19 request and more than $1 billion above the House proposal.

    The Senate bill:

    • rejects any harmful rent increases
    • does not impose work requirements or time limits
    • Unlike the House bill that does not include sufficient funding to renew all vouchers, the Senate bill fully funds existing rental assistance contracts and provides new funding for 7,600 new vouchers aimed at veterans and youth aging out of foster care.

    Programs that would maintain the Omnibus funding levels:

    • The bill would renew all Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities ($154 million)
    • Section 202 Housing for the Elderly ($678 million) and provides enough funding for new construction under Section 202.
    • HOME Investment Partnerships program ($1.36 billion)
    • Community Development Block Grants ($3.37 billion)

    Programs receiving increases include:

    • Public Housing ($2.78 billion for capital repairs and $4.76 billion for operating)
    • Homeless Assistance Grants ($2.6 billion), Family Self-Sufficiency ($80 million),
    • Healthy Homes & Lead Hazard Control ($260 million),
    • The Office of Policy Development and Research ($100 million).

    The only significant cut is to the Choice Neighborhoods program, which was cut by $50 million

    We are urging Indiana’s Congressional delegation to support the Senate figures as the bills advance. Stay tuned for an action alert to join us in advocating in support of these critical programs.

    For an updated chart of all of the spending bills, click here: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NLIHC_HUD-USDA_Budget-Chart.pdf

    For questions or more information, contact our Policy Director, Kathleen Lara at klara@prosperityindiana.org.


  • 08 Jun 2018 10:46 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    On March 6, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed wide-ranging changes to the regulations governing the Federal Home Loan Banks’ Affordable Housing Program (AHP). The proposed amendments would allow the Banks to establish special competitive funds that target specific affordable housing needs in their districts and design and implement their own project selection scoring criteria, among many other provisions. Many affordable rental projects receive AHP gap financing to expand affordable housing. FHFA provided an advance copy of its proposed rule changes on March 6. The formal Federal Register version is yet to be posted.

    There are 11 Federal Home Loan Banks whose members are local lending institutions. Both Indiana and Michigan AHP projects fall under the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. FHLBanks must annually contribute to its AHP 10% of its net income from the preceding year, subject to a minimum annual combined contribution by all of the Banks of $100 million. The current AHP regulation authorizes two programs: a mandatory Competitive Application Program and optional Homeownership Set-Aside Programs. 

    With this rule, the FHFA proposes to eliminate the Competitive Application Program and its required 65% minimum annual allocation to AHP. In its place, FHFA proposes a three-program scheme:

    • Requiring Banks to allocate at least 50% of their annual AHP obligation to a new General Fund;
    • Allowing Banks to annually allocate the greater of 40% or $4.5 million to Homeowner Set-Aside Programs; and
    • Allowing Banks to annually allocate up to 40% to a maximum of three Targeted Funds. 
    We have reviewed the proposed changes with members and while we agree with the goals behind these changes, we have concerns about the practical impact of these changes and believe they could negatively impact AHP projects across Indiana. 
    Click here to review the comments we provided to the FHFA addressing specific requirements. 

  • 08 Jun 2018 11:05 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In 2015-2016, Prosperity Indiana facilitated a Quality of Life planning process for the North Anthony Corridor Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The North Anthony Corridor is a commercial corridor surrounded by residential neighborhoods and book-ended by educational institutions. Funding for the Quality of Life plan was provided by Prosperity Indiana member Brightpoint.

    "Quality of Life plans are great tools for creating a shared community vision and understanding how the public, private, and philanthropic sectors will come alongside residents to implement the goals that will result in the vision. The plans are implemented in big and small ways every day in the neighborhoods that have engaged in Quality of Life planning," said Rose Scovel, Director of Planning Services at Prosperity Indiana.

    Throughout the planning process, residents emphasized the importance of placemaking and beautification to attract people to the area. Since there were a number of bare concrete walls, residents identified murals as a strategy to realize this goal. After meeting their fundraising goal, the North Anthony Corridor Group is now ready to roll out the murals project, designed by artists Jerrod Tobias and Paul Demaree.

    "Murals ... have an intangible quality that draws people together to consider and redefine their sense of place. These particular designs are meant to encourage us as viewers to nurture our connections with our urban and natural environments while offering us all a public safe space to reconcile the ongoing questions of what it means to be a community," writes Allison Demaree-Coale, North Anthony Corridor Board Member, in a Patronicity blog. North Anthony Corridor is joining communities worldwide using public art to engage residents, attract visitors, and strengthen sense of place.

    "I had the pleasure of working with the North Anthony Corridor Group in 2015-2016 to facilitate a Quality of Life planning process. Placemaking and beautification were key strategies for realizing their vision of the Corridor as a 'vibrant hub connecting thriving neighborhoods, diverse businesses, exceptional schools, and nearby destinations,' and I'm thrilled to see this work coming to life as they prepare to add new murals," said Rachel Mattingly, Director of Training Services at Prosperity Indiana.

    Learn more and see the mural designs here.

    If your neighborhood is interested in Quality of Life planning, please contact Director of Planning Services, Rose Scovel, AICP at rscovel@prosperityindiana.org to learn more.

  • 21 May 2018 9:41 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Executive Director – Westside Community Development Corporation

    The Westside CDC has played a key role in revitalizing the Near Westside and bringing stability to its families. Since its inception in 1985, WCDC has laid the foundation for the neighborhoods of Haughville, Hawthorne, Stringtown, and We Care to prosper via housing and commercial development, property management, and community planning. Bordered by White River Parkway to the East, Lynhurst Drive to the West, and extending North to 21st from the CSX Railroad line, the WCDC has close proximity to some of Indy’s premiere attractions including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IUPUI’s dynamic campus across the river, and 16 Tech’s 60-acre hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. Further propelled by affordable housing and a 10-minute commute to Indy’s downtown, WCDC is poised for future business and economic development , and the Westside area is becoming a “First Choice” community where people want to live and developers want to invest.

    The WCDC is searching for a highly engaged Executive Director who will be a change agent in transforming the Westside into a vibrant destination with quality housing, sustainable living wages and abundant lifestyle amenities. The Executive Director will identify and implement development strategies that will serve the varied economic interests of the community and optimize housing and business/workforce opportunities for all income levels and generations.

    The successful candidate will exhibit a high degree of understanding and performance in areas that include economic development, job creation, personnel management, municipal operations, innovative leadership, and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external partners. He/She must have effective outward facing communication skills with sales and/or public relations experience a plus, and experience working with governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal levels. This individual has direct oversight of five staff members. Compensation is $90,000 plus health insurance and vacation benefits. More information about WCDC at http://wcdcindy.org/. More about the role and apply at: https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/138702.html.

    Executive Director - Drug & Alcohol Consortium of Allen County

    Are you excited about building a better Fort Wayne? Are you a committed collaborator who enjoys making connections and marshaling resources for the good of the community? This could be the perfect opportunity for you. DAC oversees and energizes a broad-based network of community leaders from the educational, law enforcement, business, healthcare, government, and justice sectors who are focused on reducing the impacts of drug and alcohol use and abuse in Allen County through both prevention and intervention strategies. The Executive Director is a difference-maker who leads a small team delivering big impact. In addition to being the public face of the organization, the Executive Director functions as a catalyst and community architect, moving Allen County toward a more positive future and advocating for the community on a regional and state level.

    The ideal candidate will be a coalition builder and facilitator, adept at connecting with a variety of audiences and bringing together people with different viewpoints to achieve common goals. He or she must be a confident business manager, able to oversee DAC finances, planning and personnel matters, but also not afraid to dig in and tackle the day-to-day work of the organization. The Executive Director must also be a top-notch networker and compelling communicator, comfortable in front of audiences or in one-on-one meetings, who effectively articulates DAC’s important mission. Expertise in drug and alcohol issues is not a requirement, but a passion for learning about those issues and putting best practices to work is. More information about DAC at http://www.dacac.org/. More about the role and apply at: https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/138234.html.


  • 18 May 2018 3:24 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)
    null

    Greetings Kathleen,

    The U.S. House may vote as early as next week on a rescissions package (H.R. 3) that would cut funds previously approved for certain vital affordable housing and community development programs. Prosperity Indiana members are urged to click on the link below to send a pre-drafted letter to your Representative urging them to oppose this measure. 

    H.R. 3 would cut $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund, $40 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs.

    These programs help ensure Hoosiers have access to safe, affordable housing and spur community development investments. Please take action today by sending your Representative a letter opposing this bill. Simply add your name, enter your address, and submit! 

    null


  • 16 May 2018 2:43 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Prosperity Indiana's Rose Scovel, AICP and Rachel Mattingly recently completed a Quality of Life plan in the Sweet 16 neighborhoods of Anderson, with investment from the Vectren Foundation and backbone support from the Anderson Impact Center. In 2016, the Vectren Foundation was interested in investing in quality of life planning for an area on the near west side of Anderson and worked with Prosperity Indiana to convene a community conversation  to share the need, the possibilities such plans can bring, and identify neighborhood boundaries and a local backbone organization. From that community conversation emerged the boundaries of what would become known as the Sweet 16 neighborhoods and the Anderson Impact Center, in the heart of the area, stepped up to be the backbone organization.

    A local steering committee of residents and stakeholders was formed to guide the process with support from Prosperity Indiana. The committee was responsible for conducting one-on-one interviews, presenting the report of the interview findings, and tracking the plan’s progress. Following the report back a visioning session was held in the neighborhood. From that session emerged a shared vision for Sweet 16:

    Anderson’s Sweet 16 neighborhood is a community of choice for people of all ages. It’s a beautiful area to live and work, with well-maintained homes and green spaces. Bike and walking paths encourage residents to enjoy the area parks, and residents and visitors feel safe and enjoy the neighborly atmosphere. Children and youth have access to educational and recreational opportunities that prepare them for their futures, and people of all ages have access to healthcare services. Education extends through job training programs, creating a prepared workforce ready to take advantage of neighborhood and surrounding jobs. Entrepreneurs and business owners in Sweet 16 also have the resources to grow and expand local businesses, particularly along the Nichol Avenue corridor, adding new restaurants, shops, and a grocery store that serve the neighborhood. Strong infrastructure and transportation options make it easy to access jobs, education, and recreation. Residents take pride in their community and work together to create a thriving Sweet 16.

    Interested residents and stakeholder began meeting in working groups to develop goals and action plans. Once these were drafted, supporting data for performance measures were added by Prosperity Indiana and the draft quality of life plan was born. Anderson Impact Center Executive Director Sherry Peak-David exclaimed “the baby is being born!”  when the draft report was delivered. The draft plan was refined with the assistance of key stakeholders and organizations that would be responsible for implementation. On April 7th the plan was rolled out to the Sweet 16 neighborhood and community in a grand event at the Anderson Impact Center. The Anderson Impact Center is ready to move the plan forward to implementation with assistance from public, private, and philanthropic partners across the community.

    Photos courtesy of The Herald Bulletin


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Prosperity Indiana
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Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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