All posts by Andrea Davis

Tipton senior rentals ready for residents

Tipton Mayor Tom Dolezal cut the ribbon at HAND’s newest rental property on May 24, signifying the end of construction at Southwood Villas. Work on the five two-bedroom, one-bath homes began last fall.

Sign: There's no place like home

The development, located on Southwood Drive just east of the Tipton High School football field, made use of five vacant residential lots on a cul-de-sac.

All residents must be 55 or older and earn less than 60 percent of the area median income for Tipton County. South Bend-based Bradley Co. is processing applications; residents should be able to move in this month.

Funding for the $1.6 million project was provided by the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and Lake City Bank.

The project has been in the works since 2019, when IHCDA awarded HAND $2 million to build nine units on the site. The scope of the project was later reduced after neighbors objected and a judge ruled that the planned duplexes could not straddle plat lines.

About 30 people attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house at Southwood Villas.

The development team included Meyer Najem Construction LLC, Weihe Engineers, and Brenner Design Inc.

Many thanks to Chrissy and Rick Ramsey of RC Fine Portraits for the photos below:

The five units at Southwood Villas each have two bedrooms and one bathroom.
The kitchen and living area have vaulted ceilings
Bedrooms have ceiling fans and lots of natural light.
All appliances are included, including a washer and dryer.
All units have a patio in addition to a front porch.

Conference highlights need for range of housing options

Attendance at HAND’s 2022 Suburban Housing Conference more than doubled from the previous year, as local leaders gathered to see the latest Hamilton County housing research and explore ways to address the need for more affordable options.

Over 175 people registered for the May 4 event presented by the Hamilton County Community Foundation, including more than a dozen elected officials. In welcoming guests to the conference, County Commissioner Christine Altman stressed the importance of having a full continuum of housing options to meet the needs of the county’s growing workforce. If businesses can’t find employees they need here, eventually, they will look elsewhere.

“If we’re not growing, we’re dying,” she said.

And Hamilton County is becoming less affordable to more people, according to the results of a new housing study released at the conference. Consultant Katie Wertz of Indianapolis-based Greenstreet Ltd. walked attendees through the research, which shows that stagnant incomes and growing home prices are creating affordability problems for most income groups – especially for those households earning less than $98,000 per year (120 percent of area median income).

Hamilton County Economic Development Corp.’s Mike Thibideau led a panel discussion about creating a housing continuum, soliciting insights from Noblesville’s Director of Community Development Sarah Reed, Fishers’ Director of Planning and Zoning Megan Vukusich, and local developers Tony Bagato of Lennar Homes and Justin Moffett of Old Town Companies.

Westfield Washington Township Trustee Danielle Carey Tolan delivered a lunchtime keynote, sharing her observations from the trenches. Township trustees provide financial assistance to residents in need, and the Hamilton County Trustees Association, which Tolan leads, has been administering the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program for those impacted by COVID.

“I’m not responsible for fixing every person’s problems when they walk through my door. They have to do that work,” Tolan said. “However, if my community can’t even provide a range of opportunities to improve their lives, then I cry for my community. … We are a resource-filled county in terms of smarts and wealth  – it is time to reexamine our priorities and then act on them.”

The conference’s afternoon sessions included three workshops that explored specific strategies that could help improve the housing outlook: Community Land Trusts and Housing Trust Funds, Public-Private-Philanthropic Partnerships, and Land-use Strategies to Increase & Diversify Housing.

Tom Kilian, president of the Hamilton County Community Foundation, closed out the day.

Other conference sponsors were the Noblesville Housing Authority, Hamilton County Trustees Association, Family Promise of Hamilton County, Woda Cooper Cos., David Rausch Studio, PNC Bank, and Breathe Easy Hamilton County.

Table sponsors were the City of Carmel’s Division of Planning & Zoning, Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity, Invest Hamilton County, Kittle Property Group, Multifamily Construction Services, RealAmerica, ULI Indiana, Weihe Engineers, and Brenner Design Architects.

Study: Hamilton County becoming less affordable for more people

Given current funding and construction trends, it will take about 286 years to meet the current demand for income-based housing in Hamilton County.

That’s one of the takeaways in a new report from Indianapolis-based consultant Greenstreet, Ltd. Released at HAND’s Suburban Housing Conference on May 4, the 2022 Housing Study showed that Hamilton County is becoming less affordable to more people.

Stagnant incomes and growing home prices create affordability problems for most income groups, but especially for those households earning less than $98,000 (120 percent of area median income).

To address the issue of decreasing attainability, the study recommended Hamilton County stakeholders work together to reduce the cost of development, remove the social stigma attached to attainable housing, stabilize and support at-risk individuals and families, and increase funding for affordable homes.

The study was commissioned by the Noblesville Housing Authority on behalf of the Hamilton County Housing Collaborative, a coalition of 50-plus individuals representing dozens of organizations working to address the community’s housing needs.

As a group, the Collaborative believes that housing should be attainable for those who want to call Hamilton County home – during every stage of their lives – to uphold the economic well-being of Hamilton County. For that to be possible, the county needs a full continuum of housing products and prices.

This year, the study also included information about four specific strategies that could help improve the outlook for accomplishing that.

Click the highlighted text to read the 2022 Hamilton County Housing Study (and its Data Supplement) and learn more about Community Land Trusts, Housing Trust Funds, Public-Private-Philanthropic Partnerships, and Strategies to Increase & Diversify Housing.

County housing study, strategies to be unveiled at HAND Housing Conference

Hamilton County housing is becoming less affordable to more people, and without some real changes, businesses here will find it increasingly difficult to find and keep employees. 

These findings and more from Greenstreet, Ltd., will be released at HAND’s 2022 Suburban Housing Conference on Wednesday, May 4, beginning at 8 a.m.  The daylong event, presented by the Hamilton County Community Foundation, will be held at the Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center in Noblesville. 

This year’s conference will unveil the results of a Hamilton County housing study commissioned by the Hamilton County Housing Collaborative (HCHC).  For example, the data shows that 18,735 low- and moderate-income households here are spending more than the recommended 30 percent of their income on housing, reducing funds available for other necessities. And rising housing costs also impact households earning more than the area median income. A family earning $97,920 annually, for example, can afford just 28 percent of new homes here and only 12 percent of current listings.

In addition to being the first to see study results, conference attendees will hear from local developers and urban planners about efforts to create a housing continuum in Hamilton County, and they’ll explore some specific strategies during interactive afternoon workshops.

“The Housing Collaborative believes that Hamilton County should have a full range of housing attainable for anyone who wants to call Hamilton County home—during every stage of their lives,” said Andrea Davis, HAND’s executive director. “Without a diverse housing inventory, the county risks its ability to expand its workforce, attract young adults looking for a place to settle, and keep seniors in their community of choice.”

At the conference, more than a dozen local leaders in the housing and economic development fields will dig into specific parts of the study. Every participant will leave the day understanding the need for more diverse and attainable housing, as well as actions they can take.

“Housing is one of the keys to the county’s economic well-being,” Davis said.

HAND’s Southwood Villas senior housing taking shape in Tipton

Construction crews have been racing Mother Nature on Southwood Drive in Tipton, where HAND Inc. is building five rental homes for low-income seniors. Work on the two-bedroom, one-bath units began in November and is expected to be complete this spring.

The project has been in the works since 2019, when the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority awarded HAND $2 million to build nine units on five residential lots just east of the Tipton High School football field. The scope of the project was later reduced after neighbors objected and a judge ruled that the planned duplexes could not straddle plat lines.

Construction on five rental homes for low-income seniors in Tipton started in November.

HAND still plans to spend more than $1.5 million on the development, but the changes delayed construction until this fall.

Fishers-based Meyer Najem is the Construction Manager, working to bring to life the plans laid out by architect Brenner Design and Weihe Engineers, both of Indianapolis.

Residents must be at least 55 years old and earn no more than 60 percent of Tipton County’s area median income: about $30,840 per year for a single tenant or $35,280 for a couple. All HAND tenants are subjected to a rigorous approval process that includes criminal background and credit checks as well as income verification. Tenants must have income.

Rents will range from about $560 to $750 per month, depending on household size and income. The Department of Housing & Urban Development sets rent and income limits each year.

HAND’s property manager Bradley Co. will begin accepting applications from potential residents on Feb. 1, 2022. Applicants can download a Quick Application here and submit it via email or at the leasing office, 901 Basil Lane, Sheridan. Completed applications received on or after Feb. 1 will be processed in the order they are received, and all qualified applicants will be placed on a waiting list.

Applications received prior to Feb. 1 will not be accepted.

If you already are on HAND’s waiting list, please note: You will need to submit another Quick Application expressing interest in Southwood Villas on or after Feb. 1.