Report: Indiana needs more affordable rentals, especially for poorest Hoosiers

Indiana needs more than 125,000 additional rental homes that are affordable and available to the poorest Hoosiers, according to new research from Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Their report “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes,” released in March, found that just 75,219 affordable rental homes are available for 202,171 extremely low-income Hoosier households. That means only 37 affordable rental homes are available for every 100 of those households. And almost three-quarters are severely burdened by the cost of the housing they can find, putting them at risk of homelessness.

The Indianapolis/Carmel/Indianapolis metropolitan area has just 23 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low income households.

“While Indiana likes to tout being an affordable place to live, I think two questions need to be asked: for whom and compared to what?,” Property Indiana Executive Director Jessica Love said in a news release. “In looking at the data, what we see is how Indiana continues to fail our lowest-income renters, especially when compared to our peers. Only one Midwest state is less affordable than Indiana.”

So why the shortage? Without significant public subsidies, the private housing market does not provide an adequate supply of housing affordable to the poorest renters. Indeed, even if rents fall in an economic downturn, they won’t drop enough for extremely low income households. In fact, a decline in rental income can prompt profit-minded owners to upgrade existing units in order to bring in higher-earning households—or convert properties to other uses.

That is why HAND’s work is so important. As a nonprofit Community Housing Development Organization, HAND is committed to building and preserving affordable housing for the long run. To accomplish this, it works with funding partners like the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority, Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, and the Noblesville Housing Authority to bring its developments to fruition.

HAND joins the NLIHC and Prosperity Indiana in advocating for increased production and preservation of affordable rental housing, an increase in rental assistance resources for the lowest income households, a stabilization fund to prevent evictions, and stronger legal protections for renters.

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