All posts by Andrea Davis

HAND wait list reopens Feb. 1

waiting list sign

Members of low-income households interested in renting one of HAND’s affordable apartments can apply to join the waiting list starting Feb. 1, 2022.

The waiting list has been closed to new applicants since 2018, when more than 200 people were waiting for an income-restricted rental home. Fewer than 100 remain on the list, and HAND is in the process of building properties in Tipton and Fishers.

HAND owns a total of 137 rental units in Hamilton and Boone counties. It is adding five units of senior housing in Fishers and 11 units for families in Fishers.

Most of the apartments are income-restricted, meaning residents can’t earn more than 60 percent of area median income. In Hamilton and Boone counties in 2021, that was $34,320 per year for a single tenant, $39,180 for a two-person household, and $48,960 for a family of four.

The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development also sets maximum rents each year. In Hamilton and Boone, those limits range from $430 per month for an efficiency apartment to about $1,575 for a 5-bedroom unit.

All HAND residents are subject to a rigorous approval process that includes criminal background and credit checks, as well as income verification. All residents must have income.

If you are interested in applying for the waiting list, please download the Quick Application here. and return it on or after Feb. 1, 2022, via email or in person at the HAND leasing office, 901 Basil Lane, Sheridan.

All qualified applicants will be placed on the waiting list(s) of their choice in the order their completed applications were received. Applications submitted before Feb. 1, 2022, will not be considered.

HAND awarded $2M for planned workforce housing development in Fishers

The Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority’s Board of Directors voted today to award HAND Inc. a $1.5 million grant from its HOME Investment Partnerships program and a $500,000 loan from its Development Fund to support construction of 11 rental cottages in Fishers.

HAND, a nonprofit community housing development organization based in Noblesville, plans to invest more than $3 million to build Cumberland Cottages. Hamilton County previously allocated $200,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to HAND for property acquisition.

HAND will continue to seek additional funding for the project, which will also utilize a loan from Citizens State Bank.

Cumberland Cottages is planned for almost 2 acres of mostly vacant land at the southwest corner of Cumberland Road and 141st Street in Fishers. Earlier this year, the Fishers City Council agreed to rezone the property to allow for the development.

Plans call for building four two-bedroom units and seven three-bedroom units in what’s known as a cottage court layout, clustered around shared green space. Six of the 11 cottages will be reserved for residents who earn no more than 60 percent of area median income.

This will be HAND’s first rental property in Fishers. It owns eight rental communities in Hamilton and Boone counties—in Carmel, Cicero, Noblesville, Sheridan, and Lebanon—leasing almost 140 affordable apartments to low-income residents. Construction of a ninth, in Tipton, is expected to start this fall.

“We know that residents throughout Hamilton County need a wide range of housing options—including some affordable ones—and HAND is thrilled to be able to help,” said Executive Director Andrea Davis.

As part of its application for HOME funding, HAND signed service agreements with more than a dozen local nonprofits that may be able to assist residents of Cumberland Cottages. Tenants will receive information about community partners’ services at move-in.

Construction is expected to begin early next year, following the completion of a federal environmental review and the city of Fishers’ approval of the final development plan.

HAND has enlisted the help of several local firms to develop Cumberland Cottages. Project partners include David Rausch Studio, Jung Design, Context Design, Weihe Engineers, and Meyer Najem Construction.

New group drafting comprehensive housing strategy for Hamilton County

Blueprint

What started as a few nonprofit and government leaders working together to keep Hamilton County residents housed during the COVID-19 pandemic has grown into a broader alliance of organizations focused on developing a countywide housing strategy.

The immediate fallout from the pandemic revealed that many Hamilton County households are living on the edge, one medical crisis, job furlough or family emergency away from disaster—in large part because housing costs are increasing more quickly than incomes.

Millions of dollars in public and private grants for emergency rental and utility assistance programs have helped many households avert disaster and start to catch up, but the federal eviction moratorium ends July 31, putting others at risk of being displaced.

And those short-term solutions don’t do anything to address the long-term problem: Hamilton County needs a wider range of housing options that are affordable to all residents, regardless of age, income, or occupation.

HAND Inc., which has been building and preserving affordable housing here since 2003, is one of the Hamilton County Housing Collaborative’s founding members, along with Family Promise of Hamilton County, the Westfield-Washington Township Trustee’s Office, and the Noblesville Housing Authority. Dozens of others have joined the alliance in the past few months as the group’s focus has shifted to the future.

Now the Housing Collaborative is soliciting proposals for a Housing Needs Assessment & Strategy Study, which members will use to make data-based recommendations about how to increase the county’s attainable housing inventory. Organizers also hope to incorporate findings from the City of Noblesville’s 2016 Housing Analysis and a pending 2021 update. The City of Fishers just selected a consultant for a housing study that’s expected to take eight months to complete.

Ultimately, the Collaborative hopes to make a case for additional public and private investment in attainable housing to meet Hamilton County’s needs, both now and in the future.

One potential source of funding: tens of millions of dollars of federal funding awarded to Hamilton County and the cities of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, and Westfield through the American Rescue Plan. The smaller towns of Arcadia, Atlanta, Cicero, and Sheridan also are slated to receive ARP funding, from the state’s allocation.

The money is intended to help communities recover from the impact of COVID-19, and affordable housing development is specifically mentioned as an eligible use in U.S. Treasury Department guidelines.

Hamilton County has not yet determined how to spend its $65 million allocation, but a committee that includes all three County Commissioners and three rotating members of the County Council are putting together an “investment plan” for the first of two expected installments. Once approved by the Board of Commissioners, the spending plan will be published on the county website.

Request for Proposals: County housing needs, strategy study

Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development, Inc. (HAND) is soliciting proposals for a Housing Needs Assessment & Strategy Study (“Study”). HAND has led this initiative every five years since 2004 on behalf of the County and eight included municipalities. This 2021 study will be part of the action plan for the Hamilton County Community Development Block Grant Program administered by the Noblesville Housing Authority, and as such, must meet those federal procurement requirements.

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HAND seeks proposals for 2021 Suburban Housing Conference sessions, panels

Tentatively titled Hot Topics in Housing, HAND’s seventh-annual Suburban Housing Conference is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, at the Embassy Suites in Noblesville.

This year, HAND Inc. is accepting session proposals and suggestions from you!

Professionals attending previous conferences included elected officials, local stakeholders, local nonprofits, for-profit housing developers, lenders, contractors and property managers.

We are seeking presenters to lead conversations on hot topics in suburban housing, such as:

  • Housing our local workforce
  • Attainable options
  • Suburban transportation
  • Quality of life
  • Suburban challenges like HOAs, aging housing stock and sprawl
  • Diversity & Equity

Criteria for presenters:

  • Presentations will be with all those in attendance (not a break-out)
  • Please state clear objectives of your presentation or panel
  • New and non-traditional ideas are encouraged!

Fill out the form here and submit it to propose speakers or topics. Submissions are due Monday, June 14, 2021.