For the last several years, it has been my pleasure to serve as the chairperson of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) Affordable Housing Advisory Council (AHAC). The Council recently elected new leadership and added representatives from several Prosperity Indiana member organizations.
The AHAC is comprised of housing and community development leaders throughout Michigan and Indiana. The Council helps the Bank meet its mission related to access to decent, stable, affordable housing and community investment.
Vincent Tilford and Tony Lentych were recently elected as the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Council effective January 1, 2018. Tilford is Executive Director of the Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation in Detroit, Michigan and Lentych is Executive Director of the Traverse City Housing Commission in Traverse City, Michigan. Lentych also worked in Indianapolis, Indiana for a number of years including as the Executive Director of the Indianapolis Coalition for Neighborhood Development.
In addition, the FHLBI Board of Directors selected the following Indiana representatives to three-year terms on AHAC:
The AHAC is comprised of 12 community and not-for-profit leaders actively involved in providing or promoting low- and moderate-income housing and community lending in Indiana and Michigan. "The advisory council provides specialized knowledge of affordable housing and of the unique needs of our district," said Cindy L. Konich, FHLBI President and CEO. "The council's understanding and experience with affordable housing finance, community economic development, and local lending needs truly enriches our ability to meet our affordable housing mission through our member financial institutions."
Prosperity Indiana is excited to announce the nominees for the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Awards! We had an outstanding pool of candidates from all over the state. While only one person or program will be selected for each category, we want to take a moment to recognize and honor all who were nominated. Join us at the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Summit luncheon for our awards celebration when recipients are announced!
Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award
John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award
Homeownership is the primary form of wealth for low-income and minority households. However, factors such as tight lending standards that continue to limit mortgage access for households with lower credit scores, more households feeling the burden of large amounts of student debt, and the stock of affordable housing continuing to shrink mean fewer people are able to access the wealth creation opportunities homeownership provides.
The affordable housing advocates who gathered at Prosperity Now’s 2017 I’M HOME Conference last month believe manufactured homes could be part of the affordable housing solution.
Manufactured homes and the people who live in them are often associated with negative perceptions perpetuated by stereotypes in popular culture. But since the enactment of the Federal Manufactured Housing and Construction Standards (also known as the HUD Code) in 1976, the prototypical low quality mobile homes with little insulation and an unstable foundations are no longer being constructed. The HUD Code established requirements for the design, performance, installation, and energy efficiency of manufactured homes, making today’s manufactured homes an attractive affordable housing option.
Manufactured housing is the largest unsubsidized housing stock in the United States. In 2015, about 18 million Americans lived in manufactured homes, and the manufactured housing industry is adding nearly 90,000 homes to that count annually. The factory setting construction process eliminates the risk of weather delays, reduces the incidence of unexpected cost increases associated with construction, requires less construction management, and allows for faster move-in. The average sale price of a new manufactured home is $68,000 compared to the average sale price of $360,000 for site built homes. When done right, manufactured housing can provide affordable housing opportunities to make homeownership and financial stability a reality for all families.
This year’s I’M HOME Conference focused on innovations in financing, preservation, and partnerships around affordable and manufactured housing through presentation of compelling data and powerful personal stories. Speakers included: Dr. Chris Herbert, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University; Dr. Esther Sullivan, professor of Sociology at the University of Colorado-Denver; and Andrea Levere, President of Prosperity Now. Click here to read more about the I’M HOME Conference, and access presentations and materials distributed at the Conference here.
While we are grateful to member engagement and advocacy around key priorities in the tax reform bill as several were successfully addressed in the final legislation approved this week, Prosperity Indiana spent the past month urging lawmakers to oppose this bill as it failed to include the kinds of equitable reforms we sought to increase economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income households.
Here are some of the critical highlights for Prosperity Indiana's member interests:
Prosperity Indiana’s advocacy will continue as we fight to protect critical safety net and community development programs moving forward.
Congress is currently debating tax reform proposals that will have dramatic implications for community development programs and incentives, such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, New Markets Tax Credit, Private Activity Bonds, Child Tax Credit, and Mortgage Interest Deduction.
Prosperity Indiana members are urged to click today on the link below to send a pre-drafted letter to your senators and member of Congress. The letter urges them to enact equitable tax reform that increases economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income households and helps promote community prosperity.
Simply add your name and any examples applicable to your work to illustrate why these actions are important to you, enter your address, and submit! Your letter will be automatically sent to Senator Young, Senator Donnelly, and your Representative.
"As your constituent and an advocate for strong Hoosier communities, I urge you to stand up for equitable tax reform that empowers low-and middle-income households and promotes job growth and economic prosperity throughout our state.
Congress is debating tax reform proposals that will have enduring policy implications. This reform will shape how individuals access economic opportunity and how local communities respond to the needs of its citizens. As such, I urge you to ensure the following provisions are included in tax reform legislation.
Reform the Mortgage Interest Deduction: Congress must reform the mortgage interest deduction (MID) by lowering the amount of a mortgage on which a deduction can be claimed from $1 million to $500,000 and eliminate the deduction eligibility for second homes. In Indiana, only .8% of mortgages are higher than $500,000. Savings from the MID are better directed at housing supports for Hoosiers in need of access to quality affordable rental housing. In times of scarce federal resources to support the lowest income Hoosiers, the MID savings should be dedicated to addressing the urgent lack of affordable and stable housing through increased investments in the National Housing Trust Fund, rental assistance, and proven solutions to end homelessness. While housing appears affordable in our state, the reality is that renters earning minimum wage in Indiana have to work 67 hours per week to afford a one-bedroom rental home at Fair Market Rent and 84 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom, which introduces significant barriers to low-income families.
Preserve Private Activity Bonds: Tax-exempt Private Activity Bonds (PABs) are a crucial financing tool that spurs local economic development in vital housing, infrastructure, and public facilities. Multifamily and single-family mortgage revenue private activity bonds help ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable housing. Roughly half of all low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) developments utilize PABs and 4% tax credits. Any effort to eliminate PABs would mean communities throughout Indiana would have a more difficult time financing these projects; and local governments would have to borrow at higher interest rates, resulting in a drastic cut in the production and preservation of affordable housing in our state.
Protect the Low Income Housing Tax Credit: In addition to preserving PABs, I urge you to support ongoing investments in affordable housing production by implementing reforms to the LIHTC program and offsetting proposed cuts in the corporate tax rate. From 1987 through 2015, LIHTCs have financed 7,224 affordable apartments in Indiana and generated $6.13 in billion local income. In 2015 alone, they helped to finance 13 affordable housing developments with 2,023 apartments in our state. However, reductions in the corporate tax rate negatively affect the amount of LIHTC equity that can be raised. I ask you to help increase the amount of allocable LIHTCs and modernize the formula by which the annual LIHTC percentage is determined to ensure these developments remain financially feasible.
Maintain the Historic Tax Credit: The Historic Credit encourages private investment in the rehabilitation of historic buildings, attracting over $131 billion in private capital nationwide since its inception. These investments help finance the gap between development costs and what banks will lend to rehabilitate historic buildings that are often abandoned to return them to productive use.
Include a permanent extension of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC): The NMTC program incentivizes private investors to pursue businesses or economic development projects located in distressed, low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2014, $385.7 million in NMTC investments leveraged an additional $109.6 million from other sources for a total of $495.3 million in project financing to 44 projects and businesses in Indiana. There are no other federal tax incentives dedicated to promoting economic revitalization in distressed communities.
Ensure that the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit help low-income families: I ask that you work to ensure the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit programs, and any expansions or adjustments to refundability, are targeted to help boost the incomes of low- and moderate-income families. Doing so will enable them to pay for childcare, engage in the workforce, and better achieve financial stability.
Lastly, I ask that you ensure any cuts in corporate tax rates are not offset by budget cuts to critical social safety net programs that would destabilize our communities. Thank you for your consideration of these proposals to help align scarce federal resources with policies that empower individual households and promote prosperity."
November 8 is World Town Planning Day. World Town Planning Day was initiated in 1949 by the late Professor Carlos Maria della Paolera of the University of Buenos Aires to advance public and professional interest in planning, both locally and abroad. In the meantime the World Town Planning Day is celebrated in 30 countries on four continents each November 8. It is a special day to give special recognition to the ideals of community planning which bring professional planners and the general public together. World Town Planning Day presents an opportunity to look at planning from a global perspective.
In the United States, National Planning Month is celebrated in October. During this time the American Planning Association (APA) celebrates great places in the country and hosts/participated in activities to raise awareness of the impact planning policies and decisions have on every day life. Information about the 2017 National Planning Month are available here. Prosperity Indiana has been involved in the Planners4Health initiative throughout 2017 that connects the planning and public health professions in ways that advance health in all plans and strengthen the connection between the built environment and health. More information about P4H is available here.
Did you know Prosperity Indiana has a professional, certified planner on staff to help you with a variety of planning initiatives?
Rose Scovel, AICP is an alumna of the urban planning and public administration programs at Ball State University and has nearly 20 years professional experience working with communities in Indiana and around the country. She has worked in community economic development for half her career, and spent eight years as a private planning consultant in large multidisciplinary and small planning specialty firms. She has been a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) since 2002. As Director of Planning Services for Prosperity Indiana, Rose works with members on a fee-for-service basis to develop housing needs assessments, HUD required plans, neighborhood/QoL plans, and a variety of other plans. She also provides training on planning related topics.
Recent projects include:
The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) seeks a full-time Fair Housing Test Coordinator. Responsibilities include recruitment, training, and coordination of FHCCI part-time testers; investigation of discrimination in housing in violation of fair housing laws; outreach and public education; and preparation of reports.
Attention to detail, accuracy, and organization skills a must. Must have ability to work successfully with others. Must be able to work independently as well as know when to seek guidance. Must be able to complete detailed report analysis and provide positive mentoring to fair housing testers. Must have the capacity to speak in public to conduct effective trainings for testers. Spanish speaking a plus. Must have reliable transportation. Due to federal grant requirements, this position requires a criminal background check and assurance of no conflicts related to litigation based needs.
To learn more about the position, view the detailed job description [PDF].
To apply for this position:
Applications will ONLY be considered if all the above items are received. Email your completed application with the subject title "Fair Housing Test Coordinator" to the attention of Amy Nelson, Executive Director, at email@example.com.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis needs the expertise and perspectives of Prosperity Indiana members and partners to help shape the 2017 edition of the Community Development Outlook Survey of low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.
The Bank is looking for a strong response from Indiana to ensure good data representing our state. Prosperity Indiana members and partners are on the frontline working with low and moderate income communities. Your expertise is necessary for perspective. Please share 5-10 minutes to help enrich the data for this online survey?
The information you provide will help inform the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank and its branches in Little Rock, Louisville and Memphis about the current conditions of LMI communities across Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. In addition, survey results are shared with other community development practitioners and stakeholders like yourself, as well as policymakers in your communities and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.
Individual or organizational identification will be scrubbed for anonymity. Collectively, responses will be published as data for the entire Bank district, state-level data, sector-level data, and sample/abbreviated answers to open-ended responses. Results will be posted online at the St. Louis Fed's Community Development website and shared in communities across the region. To view the 2016 report, click here.
Take the survey now.
The City of Greencastle is seeking a City Planning Director to serve as staff person to the Greencastle Plan Commission, Board of Zoning Appeals, and Technical Review Committee; code enforcement official for the City of Greencastle in regards to property maintenance complaints and unsafe buildings; liaison between developers/contractors/design professionals and the City of Greencastle in matters of site development and building; and representative of the City Planning Department at various board meetings.
A bachelor’s degree in urban planning, engineering, geography, public policy or related field is required and a minimum 3-5 years of experience in urban planning is preferred. Experience in preparing and presenting reports and proposals as well as administering public meetings is also desirable.
See the full job description and qualifications here: https://www.indianaplanning.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Planner-JobDesc.-lrh-102017.doc
Interested applicants should send a resume and cover letter to Mayor William A. Dory, Jr., City of Greencastle, P.O. Box 607, Greencastle, IN, 46135; or email to Linda Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to 765-653-8707
Applications due no later than Friday, November 3, 2017.
Prosperity Indiana's policy team joined faith-based, veterans and consumer advocates as well as a former payday lending client for a press call on the release of the new CFPB rule. Representatives spoke in favor of the rule, but noted that the CFPB did not have the authority to change the cost of payday loans. They called on Indiana lawmakers to take further action to lower the interest rate.
10/6/2017: On October 5, 2017 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced a finalized new rule aimed at reducing predatory lending through regulations that protect consumers from payday debt traps. The CFPB came to its decision after five years of research and outreach to organizations across the country. The rule was first proposed in June of 2016 and Prosperity Indiana subsequently submitted comments to the CFPB after receiving feedback from state and national partners.
The new rule seeks to put in place protections that cover payday, auto title, and balloon pay-day loans. These loans are typically for two to four weeks, and endanger the financial well-being of consumers because of their high interest rates and tendency to be lent to individuals who are not able to pay back the loan in the allotted time. Prosperity Indiana commented in 2016 that:
“Payday lenders already charge Hoosiers rates as high as 382% on a $300, two-week loan. This is especially problematic for low-income households, amongst whom these loans have become pervasive in their use in Indiana. Nationally, the payday lending usage rate is 5.5%, compared to Indiana, which has a significantly higher usage rate of 9%.”
The rule issued by the CFPB includes the following provisions:
Full - payment test: Requirement that lenders must determine if the consumer can afford the loan. Prosperity Indiana commented in 2016 that the full-payment test is the most crucial component of the rule, especially the cooling-off period. The new rule will cap the amount of subsequent loans at 3. Prosperity Indiana previously noted that over 80% of payday loans are followed by repeat loans, and 15% of payday loans are a part of a sequence of loans that is at least ten loans long.
Principal payoff option for short term loans: Allows consumers to take out a loan of up to $500 without the full payment test if the loan allows the borrower to get out of debt in a more efficient way. Debt traps are prevented under this provision by not allowing loans to be distributed to borrowers with outstanding recent short-term loans or balloon payment-loans. The cooling off period still applies.
Debit attempt cutoff: Prosperity Indiana commented in 2016 that withdrawal limits and notification requirements are essential to protect consumers. A debit cutoff will be implemented for loans with an annual percentage rate of over 36 percent. Lenders must give consumers notice before making a debit attempt at an irregular interval or amount after two unsuccessful attempts. This provision will protect consumers from unanticipated payments, or fees incurred from returned payments for insufficient funds.
The new CFPB rule will take effect 21 months after it is published in the Federal Register. Although the current rule does not address all of Prosperity Indiana’s concerns, it is a step in the right direction which will mitigate the burden that predatory loans have on Hoosiers, including the reduction of the $70.6 million in interest payments on payday lending spent in 2011 alone.
If you are interested in viewing Prosperity Indiana’s comments on the then proposed CFPB rule in 2016 please visit: http://iaced.sitepotion.com/2016/10/iaced-submits-comments-on-cfpb-proposed-payday-lending-rule, and https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/cfpb-finalizes-rule-stop-payday-debt-traps/ to view the CFPB’s ruling.
Prosperity Indiana is seeking to fill two positions: an AmeriCorps Program Coordinator and a part-time Administrative Assistant.
The AmeriCorps Program Coordinator is responsible for managing all of the program components necessary for carrying out the objectives, policies and procedures of the Indiana Financial Capability Corps program and working with the Training Director to facilitate professional development opportunities for the AmeriCorps members. The position requires statewide travel and reports to the Associate Executive Director.
The position of Administrative Assistant also reports to the Associate Executive Director and supports the Prosperity Indiana staff with tasks that build the capacity of Prosperity Indiana, its members, and partners. The position will provide administrative support for the organization and Prosperity Indiana’s training program. The successful candidate will be customer service-oriented, write well and communicate effectively, and understand bookkeeping. Attention to detail and accuracy are a must in order to successfully juggle and accomplish multiple tasks.
For more details, click to see the full job descriptions:
AMERICORPS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
Interested in joining our team?
E-mail and/or mail resume, cover letter, and references to:
Jessica Love, Associate Executive Director, email@example.comProsperity Indiana
202 East Market Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204