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  • 19 Nov 2021 4:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    Prosperity Indiana praises House passage of Build Back Better Act, urges speedy Senate action

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Prosperity Indiana applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for voting today to approve the Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion economic recovery package that includes historic investments in community economic development. With today’s vote, Congress is one step closer to enacting this legislation critical for an equitable recovery for Indiana’s communities. Of Indiana’s House Delegation, Representatives André D. Carson (D-IN-7) and Frank J. Mrvan (D-IN-1) joined the majority in voting for the bill, which next heads to the Senate for final approval.

    “Prosperity Indiana thanks Rep. Mrvan and Rep. Carson for voting to approve the historic investments in affordable housing and community economic development in the Build Back Better Act,” said Executive Director Jessica Love. “These investments will help strengthen Indiana’s communities by making housing more stable, affordable, and available, and reinforcing an equitable recovery by increasing economic opportunities for low-income Hoosiers as well.”

    The legislation includes robust funding for the Opportunity Starts at Home-Indiana campaign’s top priorities: $25 billion to expand rental assistance to over 300,000 households; $65 billion to preserve the nation’s deteriorating public housing infrastructure; and $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes.

    In addition, the Build Back Better Act passed by the House includes key investments to expand the stock of affordable housing, increase homeownership, and make housing more fair and affordable, including: $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program First-Generation Downpayment Assistance, $750 million in new funding for the Housing Investment Fund, part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to provide competitive grants to CDFIs and nonprofit developers. The legislation also supports low income housing tax credits through $740 million in grants to nonprofits to develop, preserve, or rehabilitate housing; $1.2 billion for Section 24 grants to improve affordable housing units’ health, safety, climate, and disaster resilience; $1.7 billion to increase the energy efficiency of units; and $1.5 billion to keep at-risk projects viable. The bill also includes the provisions of the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, originally co-authored by Senator Todd Young (R-IN).

    The Build Back Better Act also advances community economic development for Indiana with investments that increase asset-building, shrink wealth gaps, and expand equitable economic opportunities. This includes expanding the Child Tax Credit to more than 35 million households nationwide, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 million low-wage workers, and helping Hoosier families meet everyday challenges through increased childcare and universal pre-K, making college more affordable, and increasing paid leave.

    Love said, “Prosperity Indiana urges Indiana’s Senators to do everything in their power to ensure these vital affordable housing and community economic development investments are promptly passed by the Senate, so that they can quickly help strengthen Indiana’s communities and improve Hoosiers’ lives.”

    ###

    About Prosperity Indiana

    Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.


  • 18 Nov 2021 4:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    For Immediate Release

    November 18, 2021

    Contact: Natalie James, (317) 222-1221 ext.406, njames@prosperityindiana.org

    Bipartisan legislation would expand Military Lending Act protections on payday and car title loans to all veterans and consumers

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Hoosiers for Responsible Lending applauds the introduction of the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act of 2021 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would extend the 36 percent APR interest rate cap on payday and car title loans in the Military Lending Act (MLA) to cover all citizens.

    The bipartisan House bill was introduced on November 17 and would achieve a major policy goal of Hoosiers for Responsible Lending. Among those who introduced the bill, Representative André Carson is an original sponsor for the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act.

    “We thank Congressman Carson for supporting this bipartisan legislation that takes an important step toward eliminating predatory lending in Indiana and across the country,” said Andy Nielsen, Senior Policy Analyst with the Indiana Institute for Working Families and HRL member. “High-cost lending in our state traps Hoosiers in a cycle of debt that many struggle to leave, jeopardizing the economic security of individuals and families and the health of our communities. Congress already recognized the need to enact strong interest rate caps that protect our active duty military, and this protection must be extended to all consumers.”

    View the entire press release here.

  • 29 Oct 2021 3:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Prosperity Indiana joined state and national partners in submitting comments in support of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) proposal to rescind its disastrous 2020 rule for the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).

    Prosperity Indiana is a network of nearly 200 organizations and individuals committed to advancing community economic development statewide. The focus of our efforts is to ensure everyone can enjoy equal economic and social opportunities and live in thriving communities. In carrying out this work, we know how critical CRA is to ensuring that areas and/or projects that would not otherwise receive investment can secure critical capital from banks through loans and investments for affordable housing and economic development. These investments and credit services spark neighborhood revitalization and help more Hoosiers achieve and maintain economic success.

    When this rule was being considered in April of 2020, our membership was strongly concerned not only with the timing and short period of public commenting, which came during the very beginning of the COVID-19 public health emergency, but with the content of the rule which our members believed would undermine the purpose of CRA. In the eighteen months that have followed, the serious damage from the ongoing pandemic has only strengthened the weight of those comments.

    What’s at stake in Indiana?

    Every Indiana community has a stake in strengthening the CRA, from our small towns to growing suburban areas to the core urban areas. This is true from Angola, which saw $130.3 million in mortgages or loans to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods from 2009 through 2018, $0 in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and $97.2 million in loans to small businesses, to Warsaw with $277 million in mortgages to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods, $36.1 million in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and $271.4 million in loans to small businesses. And in our state’s largest metro area of Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, which itself spans a large city, a wealthy suburb, and a former industrial center now facing challenges, mortgages to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods totaled $14.2 billion from 2009 through 2018, with $3.9 billion in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and nearly $4 billion in loans to small business. Indiana’s communities from smallest to largest can’t risk a weakening of the CRA from the rule OCC is rightfully considering rescinding, that would have allowed an increase in discrimination in lending.

    Strengthening CRA is a critical component of a just recovery

    Indiana communities who have been hardest-hit and are still battling the public health, economic, and housing impacts of COVID-19 are the same who carry the ongoing scars of redlining. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) recently released a major report finding significant correlations between redlining and susceptibility to COVID, including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Gary and Lake County, Muncie, South Bend, and Terre Haute. In the 1930s, the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) commissioned the production of maps that rated neighborhoods based on the risk of lending in them. Working class and minority neighborhoods usually received the riskiest designation of hazardous. The designations subsequently facilitated redlining and discrimination against these neighborhoods, which remain starved of credit and are predominantly lower-income and minority. These neighborhoods also have the highest incidence of health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke, which make residents more susceptible to COVID-19. Life expectancy is almost four years lower in the redlined communities than the neighborhoods not designated as hazardous by HOLC.

    In Indiana, the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color in additional ways. For example, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Unemployment Claims Monitor, through October 23, 2021, Black Hoosiers continue to file 27.9% of unemployment insurance claims during the pandemic, although they make up only 9.4% of the labor force.

    While we have not seen state-level data about Indiana’s Black-owned businesses, reports from the experiences of our members throughout the state align with nationwide trends showing a disproportionate impact on these businesses. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 440,000 African American businesses (41%) have been closed nationwide, compared to just 17% of White-owned small businesses. Discrimination in lending contributes significantly to racial disparities in small business survival rates. An NCRC investigation found that African American testers applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for their small businesses during the pandemic were likely to receive less information or encouragement to apply than White testers. We do not need state-level data to confirm the impact, and we cannot afford to see the CRA watered down in the meantime. CRA must be strengthened considerably in order to combat discrimination and help our communities recover from the pandemic. 

    Read the full comments here.

  • 06 Oct 2021 11:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Natalie James | (317) 222-1221 x406 | njames@prosperityindiana.org

    Prosperity Indiana Urges Congress to Prioritize Affordable Housing Investments in the Build Back Better Act

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN –  As Congressional leaders negotiate over the size and scope of the Build Back Better Act, the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) HoUSed campaign and Prosperity Indiana urge Congress to ensure that any final economic recovery package prioritizes housing investments targeted to serve America’s lowest-income and most marginalized households who face the greatest, clearest needs. The Build Back Better Act must include investments in rental assistance, public housing, and the Housing Trust Fund at the historic levels approved by the House Financial Services Committee and drafted with the Senate Banking Committee. 

    America is in the grips of an affordable housing crisis, most severely impacting the most marginalized and lowest-income people. Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters including a gap of nearly 127,000 units in Indiana alone. While there are proven solutions that can address the affordability crisis, current funding levels from Congress leave three out of four eligible households receiving no assistance at all, which is what brought us to the brink of an eviction tsunami during a global health emergency. 

    “The spotlight that COVID has shown on the preexisting crisis - the need for better and more affordable housing - makes this long-standing issue undeniable at this point,” said Jessica Love, executive director for Prosperity Indiana. “It’s time now to not only address the immediacy of the moment but to invest into the future of our nation’s families and communities by supporting the myriad of tools available to us to build and preserve affordable housing.”

    The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s (NLIHC) HoUSed campaign and Prosperity Indiana urge Congress to enact historic investments in the country’s affordable housing infrastructure, including $90 billion to expand rental assistance to 1 million more households, $80 billion to preserve public housing for more than 2.5 million residents, and $37 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build, preserve and rehabilitate 330,000 apartments affordable to the lowest-income people. Any spending cuts to the Build Back Better Act must not come at the expense of these proven solutions to America’s housing crisis.

    “There’s never been a moment where there were such transformative investments on the table and there was a real potential to achieve them,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to effectively end homelessness – if done right. Congress cannot allow this opportunity to pass us by.”

    An underlying cause of America’s housing crisis is a market failure that results in a severe shortage of rental homes affordable to people with the lowest incomes. In Indiana there are 202,171 extremely low-income households but only 75,219 affordable rental homes available to them. The result is only 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 Hoosier households with extremely low incomes, the second-lowest rate of availability among Midwest states. 

    Despite the clear and urgent need, only one in four households who qualify for housing assistance receives it due to decades of chronic underfunding by Congress. People of color – especially women of color – and other marginalized renters are most harmed by the housing crisis.

    # # #

    For more information about the HoUSed campaign, please visit www.nlihc.org/housed

    About Prosperity Indiana

    Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

  • 24 Aug 2021 5:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Thank you Chairman Holdman and Members of the Interim Study Committee. My name is Andrew Bradley, and I am Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana. My testimony today is informed by a series of regional housing convenings we’ve been conducting this month with our statewide membership of community economic development organizations and housing providers, realtors, homelessness service organizations and legislators. We’re holding our last two tomorrow in Fishers and next Tuesday in Fort Wayne and I invite all of you to join what have been some very illuminating discussions.

    Those regional discussions have uncovered new support for the evidence we’ve seen that Indiana has a pre-existing and intertwined housing affordability and stability crisis that has only been exacerbated by the pandemic and increasingly puts our state at a competitive disadvantage with our Midwestern peers when it comes to maintaining and growing our workforce. However, there are policy options and resources on the table that could close the gap and secure homes for future generations of Hoosiers.

    The stakes for housing our workforce and overall population are clear. Brand new Census data show that Indiana’s population grew 4.7% from 2010 to 2020. But our housing stock only grew 4.6% during that time, with net losses in nearly half of Indiana’s counties, mostly the smallest and most rural parts of the state. We can’t sustain or grow Indiana without sustaining and growing safe, affordable, and stable homes for Hoosiers.

    Although Indiana is a relatively affordable place to live for some, quality affordable housing is far out of reach for too many across our state, including for much of our workforce. In fact, data from the National Low Income Housing Coalition finds that Indiana has a gap of -126,952 affordable and available units for the bottom 30% of earners. Indiana has the second-lowest supply of affordable and available housing among all Midwest states for people at 30% or below of area median income, with only 37 units for every 100 households. This bottom 30% of earners are what’s known as ‘extremely low income households’ and are the same category that employers say they can’t fill jobs for – the restaurant and bar workers; hotel and hospitality workers; certified nursing assistants and all kinds of high-touch personal service jobs most likely to be held by the Black and brown Hoosiers, women, and Hoosiers with low educational attainment that were most affected by the pandemic. Without a stable foundation of housing they can afford, these Hoosiers won’t be able to compete for higher-level jobs.

    At the same time, 72% of Indiana’s extremely low-income households are severely housing cost burdened, meaning they spend more than half of their income on housing. This is the second-higest rate in the Midwest, And in 2021, it takes a renter $16.57 an hour to afford a 2BR unit at the statewide fair market rent of $862/month, the average Hoosier renter earns $14.58 per hour. That average renter wage of $14.58 is increasingly out of step with the Midwest average of $15.35, a gap of $0.77 per hour or almost $1,600 less than neighbors across the region. Meanwhile, the median wage for 10 of Indiana’s top 20 occupations pays less than the housing wage for a 2BR at fair market rent – and 6 of those top 20 occupations pays less than what’s needed for 1BR.

    That’s a competitive disadvantage.

    During our regional convenings, stakeholders who work with these issues on the ground every day told us that when Hoosiers have fewer available options and have to put a greater proportion of of a smaller income towards housing than elsewhere in the Midwest, it means they’re forced to choose rent instead of medicine, childrens’ school supplies, or savings needed to buy a home or skill up to move up the career ladder. It also means that families may be forced to accept substandard housing and live in poor conditions that affect children’s health and learning outcomes, parent’s ability to gain and maintain a job, and the overall economic viability of the community.

    What adds fuel to the fire is the current housing crisis brought on by COVID-19. Indiana has seen over 55,000 eviction filings during the pandemic, despite eviction moratoriums. Even before the pandemic, Indiana had an eviction rate of 4.07%, nearly double the national average, with three Indiana cities among the top 20 for highest eviction rates nationwide.

    And while emergency rental assistance is now beginning to reach the landlords and renters who need it, even having that eviction filing can hang like a “Scarlet E” around a renter family’s neck, making it harder for them to obtain new housing, and leaving them more susceptible to the cycle of substandard housing that drains resources from families and communities. But unlike many criminal records, there is currently no way for renters to expunge that Scarlet E from their records, or even a right to access and correct errors in a tenant screening record.

    At one convening this month, after hearing these stories from his community, one legislator remarked that “this housing issue is more complicated than rocket science”, but agreed that it’s necessary for communities to thrive and too important to neglect. However, the tools available to communities to keep their workforce stably housed has been reduced over the past few years, from preventing inclusive zoning to increase workforce housing, to disallowing communities from informing landlords and tenants of their legal rights.

    Another stakeholder remarked that communities too often try to address housing issues thinking about the $300K-$500K homes, but too often don’t have a strategy for the lower income workforce that sees the most acute gaps. Perhaps the greatest benefit of this committee would be to provide a strategy for the state to align partners and resources to target available resources in the areas of greatest need, including:

    • Using available policy levers to increase the supply of affordable, workforce housing by increasing state tax credit resources targeted for the development of housing for low-income households, and through robust land bank tools and resources.
    • Creating a Housing Stability Task Force to to inform the use of federal housing recovery resources with input from housing providers, residents, and communities with on-the-ground experience of what works and what doesn’t.
    • Assessing the effectiveness of current policies affecting housing affordability and stability with the input of those affected by them, and weeding out those that are outdated, lopsided, or counterproductive to housing Indiana’s future.

    Thank you for your dedication to addressing and finding lasting solutions to this complex issue.

    Sincerely,

    Andrew Bradley

    Policy Director, Prosperity Indiana


  • 21 Jul 2021 9:09 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    [On July 21, 2021, Andrew Bradley, Prosperity Indiana Policy Director presented these remarks to the White House Eviction Prevention Convening]

    Thank you, Mr. Sperling and Mr. Wardell and thank you to the White House for your leadership and ongoing efforts on this critical issue. I’m Andrew Bradley with Prosperity Indiana and the Indianapolis Summit working group to discuss our framework for equitable distribution of rental assistance.

    Indianapolis and Indiana have a pre-existing eviction crisis with disproportionately unequal impacts that have only been exacerbated by COVID-19. Even before the pandemic, Indianapolis had the second-highest number of evictions among all U.S. cities, and was one of three cities in Indiana in the top 20 highest eviction rates nationwide. Since the pandemic began, there have been over 51,000 evictions filed statewide in Indiana, nearly double any other state tracked by EvictionLab, and over 17,000 in Indianapolis alone. Indianapolis also has one of the strongest correlations between neighborhoods with high eviction filings and low vaccination rates. We know that low-income renter households, Black and brown Hoosiers, and renter families with children have suffered the most housing instability during the pandemic. And we know that evictions cause long-term economic damage to families that can last over a decade, and that a new wave of evictions at the end of the CDC moratorium would overburden local community services already stretched thin.

    However, Indiana communities like Indianapolis are currently limited by state legislation and policies in the proactive eviction prevention steps they can take, including notification of tenant rights or programs, eviction sealing or expungement, requiring settlement diversion programs, and other tools allowed in other states that cannot be implemented here without state action. But the stakes are too high to not make every effort to ensure Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) and American Rescue Plan Act resources reach the families, providers, and communities who need them most.

    This is why our Indianapolis working group that includes city ERA program officials, local and state court officials, legal aid organizations, and local housing advocates is focusing on actions to ensure equitable implementation of emergency rental assistance that can serve as a model to scale statewide. We’ve created a framework to ensure the ERA program is visible, accessible, and preventative, and that it connects with other recovery resources in the courts and throughout communities. The participants in this working group will engage community stakeholders, including housing providers, public officials, low-income tenants, and Black, indigenous, and other people of color to implement a checklist to strengthen equitable marketing and targeting of ERA and other recovery programs (such as nutrition and workforce development), exploring alignment with funds from the Community Engagement portion of the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeowner Assistance Fund to enable door-to-door outreach to the hardest hit communities. We’ve prioritized reducing barriers for tenants and landlords to apply for and receive the maximum allowed amount of ERA funds in the shortest possible amount of time. The framework also includes actions to strengthen connections and coordination between court-based eviction diversion activities and the Emergency Rental Assistance program, exploring adding ERA program access points in courts during eviction proceedings to increase awareness and fast-track applications. We plan to use outcome data to ensure that the communities most at need are being served, and so that this local effort in Indianapolis can be scaled to other ERA programs and courts statewide to help ensure no one is left out of a stronger and more equitable recovery for all Hoosiers. Thank you.

  • 14 Jul 2021 9:30 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Contact: Andrew Bradley, Policy Director, Prosperity Indiana, abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    Affordable Housing is Out of Reach in Indiana for Low-Wage Hoosier Workers

    In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Indiana, full-time Hoosier workers need to earn $16.57 per hour. This is Indiana’s 2021 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach, was jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated solely to achieving affordable and decent homes for people with the lowest incomes, and Prosperity Indiana, the statewide membership organization for the individuals and organizations strengthening Hoosier communities.

    This year, the Out of Reach report is released 16 months into a devastating pandemic, which has created enormous suffering. In addition to the lives lost, COVID-19 also created an economic crisis that pushed millions of low-wage workers out of work. The public health crisis is not over, but as the country begins to imagine life after COVID, it is imperative to also address the profound economic fallout for the lowest-income and most marginalized members of our communities. Prior to the pandemic, more than 7.6 million extremely low-income renters were already spending more than half of their limited incomes on housing costs, including more than 145,000 Hoosier households, sacrificing other necessities to do so.

    After a year of job losses, furloughs, and limited hours, many of these Hoosier households will be even worse off in 2021. Across Indiana, a renter needs to earn $16.57 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing cost, up from $16.32 in 2020; or $13.43 per hour to afford a one-bedroom home, up from $13.16 in 2020. While the Housing Wage varies by county and metropolitan area, low-wage workers everywhere throughout Indiana struggle to afford their housing, requiring no less than $14.08 and as much as $18.19 per hour for a modest two-bedroom unit.

    Jessica Love, executive director for Prosperity Indiana, said, “The cost of housing in Indiana just keeps rising, which means the state Housing Wage – what you really need to earn for your home to be affordable to you – keeps going up. Unfortunately, the average renter’s wage hasn’t risen much for Hoosiers, especially when compared to our Midwestern peers. And this only serves to widen the disparities experienced by the lowest income renters.”

    Source: Prosperity Indiana analysis of data from Out of Reach 2021

    The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, not keeping pace with the high cost of rental housing. In no state, including Indiana, can a minimum-wage renter working a 40-hour work week afford a modest one- or two-bedroom rental unit at the average fair market rent. Working at Indiana’s minimum wage at the federal floor of $7.25 in 2021, a Hoosier wage earner must have 1.9 full-time jobs or work 74 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment, up from 73 in 2020; and earn 2.3 full-time jobs or work 91 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment, up from 90 in 2020.

    Source: Prosperity Indiana analysis of data from Out of Reach 2021

    The typical Hoosier renter earns $14.58 per hour, which is $1.99 less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. Even before the additional economic pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, Indiana’s renter wages were consistently far below the state’s housing cost. Indiana’s mean renter wage is increasingly out of step with that of our Midwestern neighbors, with Hoosiers now earning $0.77 per hour less than the average of other Midwest states.

    Source: Prosperity Indiana analysis of data from Out of Reach 2021

    Despite Indiana’s reputation for having a low cost of living, working full-time does not guarantee affordable housing for many Hoosiers in Indiana’s largest occupations. The median wage for 10 of Indiana’s top 20 largest occupations is below the two-bedroom Housing Wage, with six of those occupations paying less than what is needed for even a one-bedroom unit.

    Source: Occupational wages from May 2020 Occupational Employment Statistics, BLS, adjusted to 2021 dollars. Housing wages based on HUD fair market rents.

    “Housing is a basic human need and should be regarded an unconditional human right,” said Diane Yentel NLIHC president and CEO. “With the highest levels of job losses since the Great Depression and a pandemic that continues to spread, low-income workers and communities of color are disproportionately harmed. The enduring problem of housing unaffordability ultimately calls for bold investments in housing programs that will ensure stability in the future. Without a significant federal intervention, housing will continue to be out of reach. This leaves millions susceptible to the overwhelming consequences of Congressional inaction.”

    For additional information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor and contact Prosperity Indiana for additional Indiana county- and metro-area data.

    ###

    About Prosperity Indiana

    Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

  • 02 Jul 2021 12:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    July 2, 2021

    Contact: Natalie James | (317) 222-1221 x406| njames@prosperityindiana.org

    Prosperity Indiana and the Opportunity Starts at Home – Indiana Coalition Thank Senator Young for Introducing Key Housing Stability and Affordability Legislation

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Prosperity Indiana and the Opportunity Starts at Home – Indiana Coalition are thanking Senator Todd Young for introducing three key pieces of legislation that would help address Indiana’s eviction and housing affordability crisis. The three bills, including the Eviction Crisis Act of 2021, the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act, and the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act strongly align with the agenda of the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign and Prosperity Indiana’s policy priorities for Indiana’s community economic development sector.

    Jessica Love, Executive Director for Prosperity Indiana, said, “We are thankful to see that Senator Young has not relented in his pursuit of addressing the affordable housing challenges that Indiana communities continue to face. Our work at Prosperity Indiana, in conjunction with our partners, is broadly focused on strengthening our communities but zeroes in on solving housing stability concerns that our lowest-income neighbors continue to face in the state. Senator Young’s solution-oriented bills – that are both proactive and responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable Hoosier families – are critical next steps to moving the needle on these escalating issues.”

    Indiana had a pre-existing eviction and housing affordability crisis that has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are only 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes in Indiana, which is tied for the second-lowest rate among 12 Midwest states. As a result, approximately 72 percent of Hoosier renters with extremely low incomes are severely cost burdened and at risk of homelessness, which is the second-highest rate in the Midwest. This severe cost burden contributes to a statewide eviction rate far higher than the U.S. average, with Indianapolis, South Bend, and Fort Wayne among the 20 cities with the highest eviction rates nationwide.

    In the midst of COVID-19, and despite eviction moratoria, Indiana has seen over 47,000 evictions filed during the pandemic, with the greatest increases occurring in the state’s small and rural counties. But what could exacerbate the dangers of evictions in our cities during the lingering pandemic is the fact that neighborhoods with the highest eviction filing rates have the lowest levels of COVID-19 vaccination.

    Love said, “Just as seriously as our nation has pursued vaccines and ‘getting shots in arms’ to eliminate this deadly virus plaguing our state and country, we must attack our affordable housing and eviction crises head-on. If we operate under the same assumption – that addressing the needs of the most vulnerable ultimately benefits us all – and attack the frailty of housing stability for so many with the same level of resources and dedication, Hoosier families and communities will become stronger. And Senator Young’s bills will help us do just that.”

    On June 23, 2021, Senator Todd Young (R-IN), along with Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH), reintroduced the Eviction Crisis Act, which creates new tools to help end the nation’s continuing eviction epidemic. Among various other promising provisions, the legislation includes the creation of an Emergency Assistance Fund to test, evaluate, and expand proven interventions to help low-income households facing housing instability due to an unexpected economic shock. This policy solution was developed and championed by the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, which worked closely with the bill’s sponsors. The reintroduction of this legislation marks a significant milestone for the campaign in advancing its policy agenda.

    Leading national organizations from the housing, education, health, civil rights, anti-hunger, anti-poverty, criminal justice, child welfare, and faith-based sectors have come together through the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign to advocate for more robust and equitable federal housing policies, such as those included in the Eviction Crisis Act.

    “Improving housing stability is not just about keeping people in their homes, but it’s also about providing them with the foundation they need for success in many other areas of life. Stable, affordable homes are linked with better educational outcomes, better health outcomes across the lifespan, greater food security, upward economic mobility, and reduced costs to the taxpayer,” said Mike Koprowski, National Director of the Opportunity Starts at Home Campaign.

    Also on June 23, Senator Young, along with Angus King (I-Maine), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Jon Tester (D-MT), reintroduced the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act, which would create a bipartisan housing task force to understand and respond to America’s housing affordability crisis. If enacted, the task force would evaluate and quantify the impact of housing costs on other government programs and provide recommendations to Congress on how to increase affordable housing options to improve life outcomes.

    In a statement on the bill’s introduction, Senator Young said, “I’ve seen firsthand in Indiana how a lack of affordable housing has negative and lasting consequences. The inability to access safe and affordable homes leaves Hoosier families with fewer dollars to spend on important expenses like health care and groceries, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this problem. Our bipartisan bill would assemble a group of experts to better understand the housing affordability crisis so that we might take legislative action to end the cycle of poverty for millions of struggling Americans while decreasing overall taxpayer expenditures.”

    On June 9, Senator Young and Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) reintroduced the Family Stability and Opportunity Vouchers Act, which would create an additional 500,000 housing vouchers – specifically designed for low-income families with young children – to expand their access to neighborhoods of opportunity with high-performing schools, strong job prospects, and other resources. This legislation could largely eliminate homelessness among families with young children, as well as substantially reduce the number of children growing up in areas of concentrated poverty. This policy solution has been championed by the Opportunity Starts at Home campaign, which worked with the bill’s sponsors to get the concept introduced into legislation.

    The legislation prioritizes these new vouchers for low-income pregnant women and families with children under age 6, who either have a recent history of homelessness or housing instability, or live in an area of concentrated poverty (or are at risk of being displaced from an opportunity area). These new vouchers would be coupled with counseling and services that have a proven track record of supporting parents and helping families move out of neighborhoods of concentrated poverty. The half-million new vouchers created through this legislation would be phased in over five years at 100,000 per year.

    “At its root, housing affordability is a basic needs issue. For the most vulnerable Hoosiers, lack of access to affordable housing means an increased likelihood of evictions and impeded access to economic opportunity, and the Opportunity Starts at Home Indiana Coalition is working to ensure that economic opportunity is available to all Hoosiers,” said Natalie James, Prosperity Indiana Coalition Builder.

    Research shows that when children in poor families grow up in neighborhoods with low poverty, quality schools, and low crime, they are significantly more likely to attend college, less likely to become single parents, and more likely to earn dramatically more as adults over the course of their lifetimes. This helps break cycles of generational poverty and produces a positive taxpayer return. Research also shows that low-income students perform better academically and close achievement gaps faster when housing assistance enables them to live stably in opportunity neighborhoods with lower-poverty schools.

    James added, “Eviction is expensive, not just for renters, but also for cities and municipalities that deal with the consequences of eviction. To remedy the issues of eviction and housing affordability, we must create opportunities for vulnerable renters to have access to the resources they need. Solving this problem supports not just the renters but the Hoosier state as a whole. Thank you to Senator Young for leading efforts to make Indiana a more equitable place to live for everyone."

    ###

    Opportunity Starts at Home – Indiana Coalition

    The goal of the Opportunity Starts at Home - Indiana Coalition (OSAH-IN) is to achieve ambitious increases in affordable housing — through existing and new housing infrastructure; and direct support to organizations that assist those who are unstably housed or homeless. The Indiana coalition will also seek to expand voucher supports that fund deeply targeted housing assistance for extremely low-income households, including vulnerable populations, such as youth, seniors and those with disabilities. The coalition will also seek to implement policy change to reduce federal and state barriers to housing stability.

    About Prosperity Indiana

    Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.


  • 04 Jun 2021 11:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    June 4, 2021

    Contact: Jessica Fraser, Indiana Institute for Working Families, jfraser@incap.org; Jan Kruse, National Consumer Law Center, jkruse@nclc.org

    New 50-State Survey Finds Losses for Indiana Consumers in Larger, Longer High-Cost Predatory Loans

    INDIANAPOLIS – A high-cost predatory loan is only made worse when the loan is larger and longer. But while residents in some states are gaining protections from these larger, longer-term products, Hoosiers are now paying more than before the COVID-19 crisis, according to a new report from the National Consumer Law Center. This report builds on NCLC’s extensive work on predatory lending.

    “The Institute and Prosperity Indiana have been working to educate policymakers and the public about how harmful these high-cost loans are to financially vulnerable Hoosiers. This research will help us advance the 36 percent rate cap Hoosiers desperately need,” said Jessica Fraser, Director of the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

    “This new report shows how Indiana stacks up against other states when it comes to rate caps, and it’s not pretty. Despite Hoosiers asking for more responsible lending policies, the state allows some of the highest rate caps in the Midwest. This is now pitting Hoosiers who are working to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic against the growing predatory lending industry – a result of policies that have been moving in the wrong direction for years,” said Jessica Love, Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana.

    In 2020, Indiana enacted a law (SEA 395) that increases the already excessive fees that lenders can charge and distorts the interest rate. The result is that non-bank lenders in the state can now charge an APR of 89 percent for a $500 six-month loan, an increase from 71 percent. For a two-year, $2,000 loan, the increased fee pushes the APR cap up from 39 percent to 40 percent.

    Source: National Consumer Law Center, State Rate Caps for $500 and $2,000 Loans, March 2021

    “Since the pandemic, Indiana has failed to assist struggling families by decreasing rates on consumer loans and instead welcomed predatory lenders by increasing already excessive fees,” said National Consumer Law Center Deputy Director Carolyn Carter, author of the report. “To avoid trapping residents in long-term debt, we encourage a 36 percent interest rate, including all fees.”

    Key Recommendations

    • Cap APRs at 36 percent for smaller loans, such as those of $1,000 or less, with lower rates for larger loans.
    • Prohibit loan fees or strictly limit them to prevent fees from being used to undermine the interest rate cap and acting as an incentive for loan flipping.
    • Prevent loopholes for open-end credit. Rate caps on installment loans will be ineffective if lenders can evade them through open-end lines of credit with low interest rates but high fees.
    • Ban the sale of credit insurance and other add-on products, which primarily benefit the lender and increase the cost of credit, or require their cost to be included in the APR cap, as the Military Lending Act does for loans made to servicemembers.
    • Examine consumer lending bills carefully. Predatory lenders often propose bills that obscure the true interest rate. For example, they may present a rate as being 24 percent per year plus 7/10ths of a percent per day, instead of acknowledging the rate as being 279 percent. Or the bill may list the per-month rate rather than the annual rate. To protect consumers, legislators should get a calculation of the full APR, including all interest, all fees, and all other charges, and reject the bill if it is over 36 percent.

    ###

    About the Indiana Institute for Working Families

    The Indiana Institute for Working Families promotes public policies to help Hoosier families achieve financial well-being. We value, gather, and translate quantitative and qualitative data to communicate the opportunities and challenges that Hoosiers experience. We advance well-being by promoting evidence-based solutions and building coalitions to engage in direct and strategic conversations with policymakers and the public.

    About the National Consumer Law Center

    Since 1969, the nonprofit National Consumer Law Center® (NCLC®) has worked for consumer justice and economic security for low-income and other disadvantaged people in the U.S. through its expertise in policy analysis and advocacy, publications, litigation, expert witness services, and training.

    About Prosperity Indiana

    Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.

  • 26 May 2021 11:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Prosperity Indiana is pleased to co-release with the Indiana Institute for Working Families and Indiana Youth InstitutePolicy Brief: A Year in Review: Housing Instability Trends for Hoosier Families and Counties Most Affected by COVID-19The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing housing stability crisis in Indiana, with effects particularly concentrated among renter households, families with children, Black and brown Hoosiers, and low-income households. Throughout the first year of the pandemic, these Hoosier households were most likely to be affected by job and income loss and least likely to be able to stay current on housing payments. Therefore, they were most at risk of eviction or foreclosure.

    After a year of economic disruptions, Indiana has experienced over 41,000 eviction filings at an average rate of over 750 per week, despite two eviction moratoria and two rounds of federally-funded emergency rental assistance. With the addition of a new state law that increases eviction powers and reduces local control over landlord-tenant relations, nearly one third of the state’s counties are now above pre-pandemic eviction filing rates, with the highest increases concentrated in Indiana’s smaller and more rural counties.

    The report considers data from the weekly U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Unemployment Claims Monitor, and EvictionLab’s Eviction Tracking System to analyze the economic and social demographics and geographies of COVID-19 housing instability. Recognizing the significant federal resources becoming available to address COVID-related housing instability for renters concurrently with state and federal law and policies making eviction an increasingly available option for landlords, the brief also provides policy recommendations designed to inform Indiana’s state and federal policymakers regarding measures needed to rebuild housing stability and move towards long-term housing security.

    Read the Joint Policy Brief

    Additionally, Prosperity Indiana published “Indiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance: Program Outlines and Recommendations for Equitable Outcomes.” Currently, there are seven emergency rental assistance programs across Indiana, including six local programs and one statewide program that serves Hoosiers that are not covered by the local programs. This overview reviews the requirements of each program and includes recommendations on maximizing the equity and efficiency of ERA programs.

    Read about Indiana’s Emergency Rental Assistance Programs

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