In 2000, a group of Hamilton County residents concerned about housing needs in the county began a housing task force known as the Hamilton County Healthier Communities Housing Action Committee.
The mission of the task force was to improve the quality of life for residents of Hamilton County by promoting housing preservation and neighborhood revitalization. The task force, working with the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners, applied for and received a grant from the Indiana Housing Finance Authority (now the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority) to conduct a study on housing needs in the county.
The study, known as the Hamilton County Needs Assessment, was published in February 2002 and identified a number of key strategies to promote neighborhood revitalization and housing preservation, particularly for low- and moderate-income residents. The study also identified the need for a local nonprofit housing development corporation to lead the mission. This task force ultimately grew into what is now HAND. HAND formally became a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization in 2003.
In 2003, HAND began to serve the Hamilton County community by providing an owner- occupied home rehabilitation program. The success of this program led to the employment of HAND’s first full-time staff person in 2007. In 2008, HAND developed three single-family homes that were sold to moderate income residents. HAND provided down payment and closing cost assistance to these families. Also in 2008, the Hamilton County Needs Assessment was updated and found that while significant steps were made since 2002 to provide affordable housing for the county, there was still a growing need and challenges in providing this type of housing. During 2009, HAND developed two affordable apartment communities for seniors: Plum Tree Gardens in Noblesville, which offers six units, and Spicewood Garden Apartments in Sheridan, which offered 25. Two subsequent phases of construction brought the Spicewood total to 60 apartments.
During 2010, HAND provided down payment and closing cost assistance to 15 families purchasing foreclosed homes in Hamilton County. The following year also was a busy one for HAND. Renovation was completed on two historic buildings in Noblesville now known as Roper Lofts, located at 304 & 347 S. 8th St. Roper Lofts offers eight affordable one-bedroom apartments and is also the “home” of HAND offices, 347 S. 8th St., Suite A, Noblesville, IN 46060.
Also in 2012, HAND began construction on another affordable senior independent living community in Noblesville, known as Pebble Brook Gardens. It offers nine two-bedroom, patio-style apartments for seniors ages 55 and older.
In 2013, HAND entered a new community in Hamilton County, starting construction on five two-bedroom patio apartments at Lakeside Gardens just north of downtown Cicero. Since 2013 also was HAND’s 10th year as an organization, staff and the board of directors took the opportunity to review and update the Strategic Plan. The plan outlined new initiatives to invest in neighborhoods, continue to provide housing solutions, and build strong partnerships to improve the lives of those residing in Hamilton County.
The momentum continued in 2014, when HAND secured funding to rehabilitate another historic building on South 8th Street in Noblesville. Known as Roper Capstone, it provides six affordable one-bedroom apartment homes, one of which is ADA compliant. Also that year, HAND launched its Neighborhoods NOW initiative, which offers grants to neighborhood groups for small projects, as well as its Helping HAND home-repair program. In 2015, HAND hosted its first Neighborhoods NOW Conference, focusing on four key issues: growth, affordability, seniors and sustainability.