Policy News

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  • 18 Sep 2019 3:23 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    On Tuesday, September 17, the Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee today approved its FY20 appropriations bill, laying out critical housing and community development program funding levels for our communities and member network. Last week, the full Senate Appropriations Committee determined how much each subcommittee would receive and the Senate allocated $74.3 billion for the THUD Subcommittee, which is roughly $1.5 billion less than the House proposal, but $3.2 billion above FY19 enacted levels.

    The measure will go on to be considered Thursday (September 19) by the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Click here for an updated budget chart.

    Highlights include:

    • $56 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, $2.3 billion above the FY2019 enacted level
    • $23.8 billion for tenant-based Section 8 vouchers
    • $7.5 billion for public housing
    • $12.6 billion for project-based Section 8 rental assistance (enough to renew all contracts)
    • $696 million for Section 202 Housing for the Elderly
    • $184 million for Housing for Persons with Disabilities
    • $3.3 billion for CDBG
    • $1.3 billion for HOME funds
    • $330 million for HOPWA
    • $2.8 for the Homeless Assistance Grants
    • $290 million for lead hazard reduction
  • 10 Sep 2019 4:53 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Today, the Senate Banking Committee heard testimony from Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria regarding the Administration’s proposal to overhaul the nation’s housing finance system. Secretary Mnuchin outlined the Administration’s vision for the future of two giant companies, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, that back half of the nation’s mortgages by buying mortgages from lenders, then selling packaged securities to investors. The two companies also have an affordable housing mandate to support access to affordable, 30-year mortgages. They have also been under conservatorship, or government control, for 11 years.

    The plan would make these companies private again, but require a fee for the government protection they receive and eliminate a requirement that the companies send their profits to the Treasury Department. Secretary Mnuchin noted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac currently have a combined $6 billion in capital but said they should have about $100 billion and that creates an intense reliance on Treasury support. The companies did receive nearly $200 billion in bailouts, but as the market has been working towards recovery, they have since contributed $300 billion in dividends to the Treasury Department. This dynamic complicates the reform roadmap for moving forward.

    There is bipartisan support for the need to come up with a plan to end conservatorship and move the mortgage giants move forward, but significant concerns over the proposal were raised regarding the implications for moderate-income households seeking a stable, affordable home loan. The proposal calls for eliminating the affordable housing goals in favor of having the Federal Housing Agency and Congress create “more efficient mechanisms” for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to achieve those goals with the goal for delivering tailored support to lower-income, rural and first-time home buyers. Changes to current mandates could have sweeping effects on credit access for first-time homebuyers who lack a 20 percent downpayment.

    The plan would also allow for private competitors in the market for the first time who would not have the same obligations or guarantees. This could affect efforts to address racial homeownership gaps. During the hearing, numerous Senators pointed out that the black homeownership is just over 40 percent, which is actually lower than when the Fair Housing Act was passed in 1968 while white homeownership has consistently increased over that time to 73 percent.

    Jesse Van Tol, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, noted that the plan would “open the market up to competitors for the first time and introduce private guarantors that won’t have the same obligations as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

    Numerous senators also focused on the proposal’s proposal that would release Fannie and Freddie from their “duty-to-serve” requirements that increase lending in rural communities. We will continue to update members on any further negotiations or discussions around this and other housing finance proposals.


  • 09 Aug 2019 1:49 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Indiana is widely perceived as one of the most affordable places to live in the United States, but that is not the case for far too many Hoosiers. Forty-six percent of renters are cost-burdened and three large Indiana cities are in the top 20 nationwide for evictions, including South Bend, Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. 

    To dive into the issues surrounding our affordable housing crisis, Prosperity Indiana's Executive Director, Jessica Love, joined U.S. Senator Todd Young and Matthew Desmond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City," and numerous members for a community conversation on current challenges and policy solutions to pursue.  These events took place at member-hosted sites in South Bend and Fort Wayne. 

    The Journal Gazette provided the following coverage of the event in Fort Wayne: 

    Targeting city's rate of eviction
    Young leads panel seeking affordable housing solution

    BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

    A roundtable discussion Wednesday generated plenty of ideas for shrinking Fort Wayne's home eviction rate, the 13th highest among the nation's large cities.

    Among the suggestions: Increase funding for affordable housing from the public and private sectors. Improve legal protections for tenants. Provide better support services for low-income renters. Use lower-cost manufactured housing. Persuade landlords and tenants to take advantage of available options for education and training on their rights and responsibilities.

    Perhaps the most frequent recommendation: Expand collaboration among stakeholders.

    “Collaboration is a big key to this on a lot of different levels,” said Justin Barker of Pathfinder Services, which assists people with disabilities.

    “One organization can't do it all,” he said. “We need each one here at the table and each one in this room to be able to push that needle forward for these low-income households in Indiana.”

    Barker was among 10 people invited to participate in the roundtable discussion at Tiffany Heights Apartments on Elmcrest Drive by U.S. Sen. Todd Young. About 40 more people crowded into the Tiffany Heights office, and Young encouraged them to weigh in, too.

    Young, R-Ind., said the nation suffers from a “housing affordability crisis.” He has introduced bills addressing it, including legislation signed into law that aims to help public housing voucher recipients relocate to lower-poverty areas.

    “Getting people into safe and stable housing saves on health care and education expenses and public safety and corrections,” Young said.

    He was accompanied by Matthew Desmond, a Princeton University sociologist and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.”

    “We are at a point in this country where we are evicting people not by the thousands or hundreds of thousands, but by the millions every year,” Desmond said. “There are more eviction filings in America every single year than there were foreclosure filings at the height of the (financial) crisis” in 2007-08.

    The odds of being evicted triples for tenants with children, he said, noting that a New York evictions court offered child-care services until recently.

    “So if we want more family stability and more community stability, we need fewer evictions,” Desmond said.

    He said a third of evictions involve tenants who owe less than a month's rent.

    “People are getting evicted for peanuts. This doesn't make any sense,” Desmond said. 

    He and others lamented state laws that allow eviction records to follow people as they seek housing elsewhere. An audience member mentioned that Indiana allows for eviction records to be stuck to adult children living with evicted parents.

    Desmond said renters have few resources at their disposal for researching and comparing landlords.

    “We don't even have the capacity in most cities to identify which landlords are awesome and which landlords are really breaking the rules, and that's strange to be in the dark in the age of the internet,” he said.

    Roundtable participants agreed that affordable housing is in great demand in Fort Wayne.

    “Our phone rings off the hook. People walk in the door all the time. ... Our tax-credit properties are full,” said Nikki Gillenwater of New Generation Management, which manages affordable-living communities.

    Roundtable participants included representatives of the Fort Wayne Housing Authority, Brightpoint, Vincent Village, Keller Development, Prosperity Indiana, the Affordable Housing Association of Indiana and the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association.

    Young and Desmond conducted a similar discussion Wednesday morning in South Bend, which has the country's 18th highest eviction rate among large cities, according to Princeton's Eviction Lab, a nationwide database of evictions. Indianapolis has the 14th highest rate.

    Eviction Lab calculates its eviction rate as the number of evictions for every 100 renters homes in an area. Fort Wayne's rate was 7.39% in 2016, the last year measured.

    Three communities in northeast Indiana – Waterloo, Grabill and Cromwell – had among the 60 highest eviction rates for small communities and rural areas nationwide in 2016. All three were in double digits, topped by Waterloo's 24.3%, ranked ninth nationally.


  • 05 Aug 2019 1:35 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Register for the Policy & Pizza event with legislators from your region below!


    Southern Region

    Friday, August 23






    Northeast Region

    Thursday, September 5






    Northwest Region

    Thursday, September 12






    Midwest Region

    Thursday, September 19






    Central Region

    Friday, October 4






    North Central Region

    Friday, October 4

  • 02 Aug 2019 11:30 AM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    As we referenced in our federal budget update in late June, increases in U.S. House-passed FY20 funding bills for housing and community development programs within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) would not have a chance of enactment unless Congress agreed to lift spending caps put in place under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Further, if no deal was reached, discretionary programs faced a 10 percent cut across-the-board.

    Fortunately, both chambers passed a budget deal before heading out for August recess that would lift the budget caps by about $50 billion this year and another $54 billion the following year and the debt for two years. The package passed by a vote of 284-189 in the House. 67-28 in the Senate. The agreement has received support from President Trump who plans to sign the bill this afternoon and averts prospects of a government shutdown prospects ahead of current funding deadline (October 1).

    Under the budget deal, domestic programs will receive a 4.5 percent increase over current FY19 spending levels. Unfortunately, that leaves funding overall at $15 billion less than the House proposed budget.

    The work ahead for Prosperity Indiana and our members is to remain focused on Senate budget negotiations that will commence in September now that Congress passed this agreement. We will urge our Senators to pass urgently needed increases in funding for community development programs at House-passed levels. Too see a breakdown of that funding, click here for our chart of programs.


  • 09 Jul 2019 6:15 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Prosperity Indiana provided the following comments to the Department of Housing and Urban Development's proposed rule to prohibit “mixed-status” families from living in public housing and Section 8 units.

    HUD claims that the rule is necessary to prevent undocumented immigrants from benefiting from federal housing assistance. However, existing law already does this. Right now, a family’s rent subsidy is decreased (or prorated) to account for household members who are ineligible for the assistance based on immigration status.

    The truth is that this rule proposal

    • does not alleviate long waits for housing assistance.
    • promotes misinformation about immigrant communities.
    • imposes onerous documentation requirements for thousands of housing agencies and private property owners.
    • represents a tremendous cost and burden for housing authorities and private owners of Section 8-assisted properties.
    • will most certainly affect households beyond those who are mixed-status as studies show that citizens with low incomes are more likely than others to lack both proof of citizenship or other forms of identification.

    Docket No. HUD-2019-0044
    RIN 2501-AD89

    July 9, 2019

    Office of General Counsel, Rules Docket Clerk
    Department of Housing and Urban Development
    451 7th Street SW, Room 10276
    Washington, DC 20410

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Prosperity Indiana appreciates the opportunity to express our strong opposition to Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) proposed rule that would impose new burdensome, damaging changes regarding the "verification of eligible status.” Our organization represents a network of more than 170 community development organizations dedicated to helping low-income Hoosiers achieve and maintain housing and economic security in each of our state’s 92 counties.

    Our members strive to ensure all Hoosiers can access safe, stable and affordable housing. This proposal to prohibit “mixed-status" families from living in public and federally-assisted housing through Housing Choice Vouchers and Section 8 Project-Based Rental assistance, the three largest HUD housing programs, undermines those efforts. This rule would force families who receive benefits to face eviction from subsidized housing after 18 months for living with those who are ineligible for assistance.

    Secretary Carson has characterized the proposed rule as a means to help “legitimate American citizens,” so that we can “put America’s most vulnerable first.” In explaining the justification for implementing this proposal, Carson noted that “there are hundreds of thousands of children, as well as elderly and disabled, who are on the waiting list who are legal American citizens.” In our view, it is most important to note that this rule will do nothing to further achieve those aims, as current law already prohibits ineligible households from receiving assistance.

    Section 214 states that the Secretary of HUD is prohibited from making financial assistance available to persons other than United States citizens, nationals, or certain categories of eligible noncitizens in HUD's public and specified assisted housing programs. Further, United States Code defines how HUD should comply in upholding that regulation, while allowing for mixed-status households.

    42 U.S. Code § 1436a(b)(2) states:

    “If the eligibility for financial assistance of at least one member of a family has been affirmatively established under the program of financial assistance and under this section, and the ineligibility of one or more family members has not been affirmatively established under this section, any financial assistance made available to that family by the applicable Secretary shall be prorated, based on the number of individuals in the family for whom eligibility has been affirmatively established under the program of financial assistance and under this section, as compared with the total number of individuals who are members of the family.”

    As clearly outlined, housing for mixed-status households is allowed, albeit prorated to ensure the regulation is fulfilled and those who are not eligible for housing assistance do not receive a subsidy.

    Instead of providing a new protection against potential abuse, the rule promotes misinformation about immigrant communities. Mixed-status families are those that include both members who are eligible and ineligible for housing assistance based on their immigration status. Being an immigrant who is ineligible for housing assistance does not mean they are not legal residents or undocumented. Immigrants can have legal status and still not be eligible for federally assisted housing programs.

    Additionally, the proposal does not alleviate long waits for housing assistance. The proposal’s practical impact will be to force families of mixed immigration status to break up to receive housing assistance, forego the assistance altogether, or face termination from the programs. By HUD’s own analysis, this measure would force more than 55,000 children, who are U.S. citizens or legal residents, to face eviction under the proposed rule . This comes at a time when community development organizations throughout Indiana, and in other states across this country, are working harder than ever to confront an affordable housing crisis. Our communities can ill afford this misguided policy when there are already measures ensuring public funds are being used to assist only eligible individuals.

    In Indiana, 46 percent of renters are cost-burdened and 86 households are evicted every day. Our state has a 134,485-unit deficit of housing that is affordable and available for extremely low-income households (those earning at or below 30 percent of area median income). Only one-in-four households eligible for federal assistance receives it. Prosperity Indiana shares HUD’s concern about long waiting lists for housing assistance. However, we believe the Administration should focus on increasing budget requests to address the critical need for expanded affordable housing production and preservation, rather than destabilizing housing or forcing family separation for thousands of eligible, legal residents and citizens.

    The proposed rule imposes new, expensive and onerous documentation requirements for thousands of housing agencies and private property owners, who would have to collect documents “proving” the citizenship for the more than nine (9) million housing-assisted residents under the age of 62 to be screened through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements Program (SAVE) within the Department of Homeland Security. This added reporting is a waste of resources to require citizens, who have already attested under penalty of perjury, to “prove” that they are U.S. citizens.

    Critically, this will most certainly affect households beyond those who are mixed-status. Studies, including one from the Brennan Center for Justice, show that citizens with low incomes are more likely than others to lack both proof of citizenship or other forms of identification . The Brennan Center study found 12 percent of U.S. citizens with incomes below $25,000 lack proof of citizenship, and adults earning under $35,000 are twice as likely as others to lack a government-issued photo ID. The elderly, people of color and women are also less likely to have identifying documents. Accordingly, the proposed rule will likely affect eligible households without mixed-status, as well as those that are mixed-status.

    Compliance with these regulations represents a tremendous cost and burden for housing authorities and private owners of Section 8-assisted properties. In Indiana, no protection from source of income discrimination exists, so affordable housing organizations and shelters statewide already report challenges in helping low-income individuals and families access affordable housing, particularly because landlords do not want to accept Section 8 vouchers. This rule will further deter private housing providers from participating in Section 8 programs, worsening already substantial barriers to housing affordability for low-income Hoosiers.

    On behalf of our network striving to ensure more residents of Indiana can prosper and live in safe, secure housing, we urge HUD to withdraw this proposal and appreciate your consideration.

    Sincerely,

    Jessica Love
    Executive Director



  • 27 Jun 2019 1:11 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Thanks in part to your advocacy and response to our Action Alert, the U.S. House passed a package of FY20 funding bills on June 25 that includes critically needed increased funding for housing and community development programs within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) by a vote of 227-194.

    It is important for Prosperity Indiana members to note, however, that before any spending bill can go into effect, Congress must agree to lift spending caps put in place under the Budget Control Act of 2011. If that does not occur, these programs could face 10 percent cuts across-the-board. We urge members to continue speaking to your Representative and our Senators about the need to reach agreement on such a measure.

    As an overview, this House bill provides urgently needed increases, in funding for Housing Counseling, Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, and Homeless Assistance Grants. It also includes enough funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts.

    There were some amendments passed that found mechanisms to increase funding for Homeless Assistance Grants - one aimed at serving youth experiencing homelessness ($5 million) and another to study transitional housing grants ($1 million). Our Prosperity Indiana federal budget chart is below.

    In terms of policy amendments of importance to PI members, there was one passed that would examine alternative methods for calculating Fair Market Rents in shifting markets with rapidly rising rents. Despite amendment proposals, the bill retained language that would prevent the administration from imposing it's mixed-status rule proposal and from amending the Equal Access rule to allow homeless shelters to deny equal treatment for transgender individuals experiencing homelessness.

    Proposed Funding By Program

    (In Millions)

    Program

    FY19 Enacted

    FY20 Administration

    FY20 House

    FY20 Senate

    FY20 Enacted

    Transportation-Housing and Urban Development

    CDBG

    3,300

    0

    3,600

    HOME

    1,250

    0

    1,750

    Tenant Based Rental Assistance

    22,598

    22,244

    23,810

    Project-Based Rental Assistance

    11,747

    12,021

    12,590

    Homeless Assistance Grants

    2,636

    2,599

    2,800

    Housing Counseling Assistance

    50

    45

    60

    Public Housing Capital Fund

    2,775

    0

    2,855

    Public Housing Operating Fund

    4,653

    2,863

    4,753

    Choice Neighborhoods Initiative

    150

    0

    300

    Family Self-Sufficiency Program

    80

    75

    100

    Jobs-Plus Pilot Sufficiency Program

    15

    15

    15

    HOPWA

    393

    330

    410

    Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity

    Program

    10

    0

    55

    202 (Housing for Elderly)

    678

    644

    803

    811 (Housing for Persons with Disabilities)

    184

    157

    259

    Rental Assistance Demonstration

    0

    100

    0

    Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

    65

    62

    75

    Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard

    279

    290

    290

    Policy Development and Research

    96

    87

    98

    Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration

    502 Single Family Guarantee

    24,000

    24,000

    24,000

    502 Single Family Direct

    1,000

    0

    1,000

    502 Self-Help set-aside

    5

    0

    0

    521 Rental Assistance

    1,331

    1,375

    1,375

    515 Rental Housing Direct Loans

     40

     0

     45

    504 VLI Repair Loans

     28

     0

    28

    523 Self-Help TA

     30

    0

    32 

    538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

    230 

    250 

    250 

    Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

     24.5

     0

    40 

    Rural Community Development Initiatives

    6

    0

    8

    Rental Preservation TA

    1

    0

    0


  • 24 Jun 2019 11:16 AM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    The House is set to consider amendments to H.R. 3055 today! This bill includes critical increases in funding for housing and community development programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). We urge members to expand our outreach to the Indiana delegation by:

    Sending this pre-dafted letter urging your Representative to support the bill as well as amendments that would increase investments in affordable housing for low-income households and oppose any amendments that would reduce funding for HUD and USDA programs.

    The letter also urges Representatives to support the bill’s policy provisions, including the provision that would prevent HUD from implementing the proposal that would force mixed-status immigrant families – including children who are U.S. citizens or have legal status – to either separate or face eviction and possible homelessness. 

    OR

    Call your Representative directly. See below for helpful talking points. You can easily find/confirm your representative by entering your address under the "Find Politicians" box on our Advocacy Action Center. If you already know your Representative, you can dial the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

    For more details, click here to read our summary of the budget bill, including a complete budget chart, or here to read a summary of the Appropriation's Committee's consideration of the bill. 

    Please contact Kathleen Lara at klara@prosperityindiana.org with any questions. Thank you for your advocacy!

    Talking Points:

    • I respectfully urge you to support H.R. 3055, which contains critical increases in funding for housing and community development programs at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
    • The bill provides sufficient funding to renew all existing contracts provided through Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance and increases funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, Homeless Assistance Grants, and Rural Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization. 
    • It also authorizes funding for competitive grants to public housing agencies to reduce lead-based paint and other health hazards, which is of particular concern in Indiana.
    • Our state is facing an affordable housing and eviction crisis. Prosperity Indiana recently released the 2019 Out of Reach Report for Indiana, alongside the National Low Income Housing Coalition, that found that the cost of remaining stably housed continues to rise for average Hoosier renters in most Indiana counties and is out of reach for low-wage workers in every county of the state. 
    • If you are a Hoosier earning minimum wage, data shows you have to work 88 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment, as there is a monthly deficit of over $450 to afford the state average fair market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit. 
    • Even for the typical renters in Indiana, in 82 of 92 counties, a 2-bedroom apartment is not affordable. 
    • These housing wage deficits worsen housing affordability gaps that have already been challenging communities across the state, regardless of size.
    • Currently, Indiana has a 134,485-unit deficit of affordable, available rental housing for the quarter of all renters in the state who are extremely low-income (which is a maximum of $24,600 per year for a family of four). 
    • It has also been established that, conservatively, 86 households are evicted in Indiana each day. 
    • Our state has three large cities in the top 20 nationwide for eviction rankings. 
    • Further, only one in four households that qualifies for federal housing assistance receives it. 
    • The challenges are great, but modest increases in investments to the housing and community development programs contained within H.R. 3055 will help ensure more communities receive funding to expand safe, affordable housing and more Hoosiers have an opportunity to prosper.
    • Given the scale of the challenges confronting Hoosier communities, I ask that you support amendments to increase investments in affordable housing for low-income households. Accordingly, I urge you to oppose any amendments that would reduce funding for HUD and USDA housing and community development programs.
    • I also ask that you support the bill's policy provisions, including the provision that would prevent HUD from implementing the proposal that would force mixed-status immigrant families - including children who are U.S. citizens or have legal status - to either separate or face eviction and possible homelessness. 
    • As already discussed, Indiana cannot afford to have increased evictions or more families experiencing housing instability leading to homelessness and expect to thrive.
  • 19 Jun 2019 2:33 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    On the heels of the release of the 2019 Out of Reach report, several media outlets took note and ran stories that lift up why this housing wage data is so critical and why our advocacy work to expand the supply of affordable housing is essential to ensuring more Hoosiers have the opportunity to prosper. Below are the highlights:

    Televised News: 

    Russ McQuaid - Fox59: Study shows affordable housing remains out of reach for many Hoosiers



    POSTED 4:33 PM, JUNE 18, 2019, BY RUSS MCQUAIDUPDATED AT 06:59PM, JUNE 18, 2019

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- A woman who didn’t want to give her name explained what it cost to live at the Maple Creek Apartments on West Michigan Street west of Haughville.

    “It's $628 a month,” she said. “I make about $900 gross a month.”

    That's two-thirds of her money going to rent. How does she pay for clothes, electricity and food?

    “It's very hard. I’m a single mother,” she said. “I get my bills aside and I calculate them all up and pay what’s important and what’s not important I leave to the side and pay’s over.”

    The anonymous mom is one of tens of thousands of Hoosiers that a new study finds can’t afford to live in suitable housing at a reasonable rate.

    Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing," a study released jointly by Prosperity Indiana and The National Low Income Housing Coalition, reported a worker must earn $16.02 an hour to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment or a minimum wage employee must work 88 hours a week to pay the rent in a comparable unit.

    “Data shows that the typical renter income is insufficient to afford rental housing in 82 of Indiana’s 92 counties,” said Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director.  “For Hoosiers working full-time at minimum wage, there is a monthly deficit of over $450 to afford the state average fair market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit.”

    A Prosperity Indiana statement quotes Love as calling for “an urgent need for action in implementing common-sense solutions at the federal and state level to address our affordable housing crisis.”

    Derrick Maxwell is a former leasing agent at Maple Creek who stayed on a resident.

    “Some of the residents are on Social Security, most retired vets and things like that, they don’t have the means because they’re set on a steady income and I feel like they should not be ostracized because they are on a fixed income,” said Maxwell who estimates he pays a quarter of his monthly income in rent. “There’s not a lot of jobs here in Indianapolis that are…or maybe these people don’t have the type of skill settings and training to make those type of jobs and make that money so it's kind of hard and you’re forced to live in areas where you would prefer not to be in because you only meet their income limit.”

    Back east along West Michigan Street at White River Parkway, work continues on the Riverview Apartments, a complex developed by Goodwill and Strategic Capital Partners.

    “It's targeted to families with incomes of $40-60,000 and really those that focus in that area,” said Goodwill Vice President Cindy Graham. “When we started to take a look at what was happening in the Indianapolis rental market and seeing that some of those people that are in those mid-level jobs like nursing, teachers, firemen, policemen, are really getting priced out of the fair market pricing market in the downtown area, yet their services are still needed.”

    The one- and two-bedroom apartments will rent for an average of $1.35 per square foot, about ten percent less than the average rental costs in downtown.

    “You would be surprised to know that Goodwill has teachers,” said Graham. “We operate 14 adult high schools and a traditional school right here on this property and we have nurses who work for us, too, so we actually have employees who would qualify for workforce housing.”

    Market analysts report downtown Indianapolis’ residential rental occupancy rate is 93%, down three percent from a couple years ago, as the Mile Square is set to absorb another 1300 new rental units coming on line in 2019.

    Back at Maple Creek, the woman who feared that revealing her name would anger the landlord said she had good reasons to cut corners in order to keep a roof over her family’s heads.

    “If you don’t have a house, your kids gonna go to the State and you’re gonna be homeless,” she said, “and I don’t want to be homeless.”

    Print Media/ Radio:

    Study: SEI Renters' Incomes Not Enough To Afford Decent Place

    By Mike Perleberg

    A new report found the cost of remaining stably housed continues to rise for average Hoosier renters in most Indiana counties. Decent housing is out of reach for low-wage workers in every county of the state.

    (Lawrenceburg, Ind.) - A new study says rents are unaffordable for low-wage workers in southeastern Indiana, as well as most of the state.

    The report - Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing - from Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition says that in order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent on $834 in Indiana, a household must earn $2,779 monthly – or about $33,346 annually. The needed pay figure is up from last year’s study.

    With almost a third of households statewide being rented, data shows that typical renter income is insufficient to afford rental housing in 82 of the state’s 92 counties. Included in that list are Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio and Ripley counties, where estimated average renter wages are among the lowest in the state.

    The study suggests renters in southeastern Indiana have to work more than one 40-hour week job at the average renter wage in order to have enough money to afford a decent two-bedroom unit. For those making the state minimum wage of $7.25, paying the monthly rent is almost impossible.

    In the Cincinnati area, the annual income needed to afford such an apartment is higher at $35,360 than Indiana. About 21 percent of homes in the area are rentals.

    “For Hoosiers working full-time at minimum wage, there is a monthly deficit of over $450 to afford the state average fair market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit,” said Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana’s executive director.  

    Conservative figures cited in the study show that nearly 32,000 households statewide are evicted each year. With an affordable housing deficit of 134,485 units in Indiana, low-income earners have few options.

    Love believes there is “an urgent need for action in implementing common-sense solutions at the federal and state level to address our affordable housing crisis.”

    Indiana U.S. Senator Todd Young and others in the Senate last week introduced the HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act of 2019. The federal legislation is aimed at improving access to safe and stable housing would provide new support for state and local governments wishing to include manufactured homes as a solution.

    “Solving the housing affordability crisis for Hoosiers of all income levels is going to require bold and innovative changes to our nation’s housing policies,” said Young. “With over 2.5 million Hoosiers already living in manufactured homes — and with Hoosier workers leading the way in construction of manufactured housing — I know it’s time to put greater emphasis on manufactured housing as a housing affordability solution.”

    Another bill by Young, S. 1772, would establish a task force to assess the impact of the affordable housing crisis and identify possible solutions.

    Rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years since Out of Reach was first released. Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, says that although housing is out of reach for millions of low-wage workers, members of Congress are starting to take note.

    “Big, robust housing bills have been introduced by key policymakers. The topic of affordable housing is becoming increasingly prevalent on the 2020 presidential campaign trails. We now have a tremendous opportunity to implement bold federal housing policy solutions that will fund affordable housing programs at the scale necessary,” said Yentel.

  • 18 Jun 2019 11:19 AM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    AFFORDABLE HOUSING OUT OF REACH FOR AVERAGE RENTERS IN 82 OF 92 INDIANA COUNTIES, IN ALL 92 FOR LOW-INCOME RENTERS

    The cost of remaining stably housed continues to rise for average Hoosier renters in most Indiana counties and is out of reach for low-wage workers in every county of the state, according to a national report released today. The report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, is jointly released by Prosperity Indiana, a statewide community development network, 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.

    In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Indiana, renters need to earn $16.03 per hour. That figure is up from $15.56 in 2018, further exacerbating gaps in housing affordability in communities across the state. Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Indiana, a worker must have 1.8 full-time jobs or work 71 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment; or have 2.2 full-time jobs or work 88 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.

    “Data shows that the typical renter income is insufficient to afford rental housing in 82 of Indiana’s 92 counties,” said Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director.  “For Hoosiers working full-time at minimum wage, there is a monthly deficit of over $450 to afford the state average fair market rate for a modest two-bedroom unit.” Noting that conservative figures show 31,767 renter households statewide are evicted each year, Love believes there is ”an urgent need for action in implementing common-sense solutions at the federal and state level to address our affordable housing crisis.”

    Indiana has a 134,485-unit deficit of affordable, available rental housing for the 27 percent of Indiana renters who earn 30 percent of Area Median Income, a maximum of $24,600 per year for a family of four.  The Out of Reach report also highlights, for example, that rent that would be considered affordable for this income threshold is $527, well below the fair market rents for both one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments in Indiana.

    Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.), who has introduced legislation aimed at addressing barriers to safe, stable housing, 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. As part of my Fair Shot Agenda, I’ve made solving this crisis a top priority.”

    Young added that one such bill, S. 1772, is a bipartisan measure that “would assemble a group of experts to better understand the housing affordability crisis, so that we can take legislative action and end the cycle of poverty for millions of struggling Americans.”

    Rental housing needs have worsened considerably over the past 30 years since Out of Reachwas first released, but the time is right to reverse that trend according to Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

    Yentel said, “Housing is out of reach for millions of low-wage workers. But members of Congress are starting to take note. Big, robust housing bills have been introduced by key policymakers. The topic of affordable housing is becoming increasingly prevalent on the 2020 presidential campaign trails. We now have a tremendous opportunity to implement bold federal housing policy solutions that will fund affordable housing programs at the scale necessary.”

    For additional details, a copy of the Out of Reach 2019 report is available at: https://reports.nlihc.org/oor/indiana


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