Housing Crisis in Indianapolis
Affordable housing is not just a matter of having a roof over one's head; it's a matter of basic human dignity and the cornerstone of a thriving and just society. Yet, despite its importance, far too many families struggle to find safe and affordable places to live. The high cost of housing, with stagnant wages and a lack of government support, has created a crisis that affects not only the individuals and families struggling to make ends meet but also the health and stability of our communities.
Here in Indianapolis, we have a two-fold problem — increasing rent from out-of-state landlords who will never know their tenants thinking only of profit over people and that of corporations buying homes at low costs and turning around to sell them at inflated prices, destroying established neighborhoods. It is no wonder that the unhomed at the largest growing population in our city.
As mayor, we will take this back. However, we must discuss what we can and cannot do as a city. The Indiana General Assembly has blocked rent regulations and the ability to tax new homes accordingly — even when tearing down older homes to accommodate out-of-state transplants. While growth is good, the people that have lived here their entire lives deserve stability first and foremost. Instead, our current mayor focuses on new residents and appeasing contracting companies willing to donate to his campaign over his residents.
This is why we must take bold and comprehensive action to address the affordable housing crisis. By supporting solutions such as increased funding for low-income housing, rent control measures, and incentives for developers to build more affordable units, we can ensure that everyone has access to safe and affordable housing. These solutions have the potential to provide stability and security to families, help build stronger communities, and boost our economy.
Recently the Department of Metropolitan Development, as run by Mayor Joe Hogsett, has voted to relax rules on affordable housing in TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) Zones designed to ensure mixed economic development remains in place in communities. You only have to know who the people are behind the $10,000 donations to his campaign to know why he did this.
To get to the long and short of it…there are many things our city cannot do beyond advocating for our residents at the statehouse. And yet, we have abandoned the things we can do due to personal political gain.
Increase housing grants. When in the hands of capable administrators, we see residents remaining in their communities and becoming good stewards of knowledge and history for our neighborhoods. In my case, I’ve lived in the same home for 20 years because of a first-homeowner grant that helped with downpayment assistance and creative financing that took a little risk from the lender.
Regardless of daily messages like this:
These text messages should be illegal, and we should work with the state to ensure that anonymous robo-texting is illegal.
Beyond this, we need to get creative. Spending time with the Kheprw organization has been one of the more refreshing takes on this. It is a community land banking solution. It is a way to ensure that the land under the home remains the property of an organization devoted to sustainable homeownership — while the home belongs to the residents. Ultimately, the homeowner has the same responsibilities within a community devoted to supporting one another. When the homeowner is ready to sell, the price is capped at around 20% of the original sale, meaning that if you buy your home for $100,000, the most you can sell it for is $120,000. This is not a ‘get-rich-from-real-estate” scheme — but unlike rent, you will take the money you’ve invested to the next home.
In the end, we will need to be creative. We will need to lean on the statehouse and our governor. And we need to follow through on the promises we’ve already made instead of abandoning them several years into the process simply because someone greased politicians’ palms. Supporting affordable housing solutions is not only the right thing to do, but it's also an investment in our collective future. So let's come together to support policies that will make a real difference in the lives of millions of families and build a more just and equitable world for us all.