Tag Archives: affordable housing

Report: Housing ‘out of reach’ for low-wage Hoosiers

A minimum-wage worker in Indiana needs to work a whopping 90 hours a week to be able to afford a two-bedroom rental home here, according to a report jointly released this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Prosperity Indiana.

In Hamilton and Boone counties — where housing costs more than the state average — that number rises to an even more unimaginable 100 hours per week.

The national research and advocacy organization’s annual “Out of Reach” report found that full-time workers in Indiana need to earn at least $16.52 per hour to pay rent and utilities without spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing.

That so-called “housing wage” is $18.19/hour in the two suburban counties where HAND owns 137 rental units leased to low-income residents.

“Housing is a basic human need, but millions of people in America can’t afford a safe, stable home,” said Diane Yentel, NLIHC president and CEO. “The harm and trauma of this enduring challenge is laid bare during COVID-19, when millions of people in America risk losing their homes during a pandemic.”

Data gathered before the current health emergency shows that low-income households couldn’t pay fair market rent in any of Indiana’s 92 counties without exceeding the 30-percent threshold widely considered to be affordable. The impact of COVID-related income loss only makes the situation worse.

“This pandemic has certainly highlighted the very harsh reality of living at the edge of housing stability – often just one paycheck away from homelessness – and the impact it can have on the health and well-being of us all,” said Jessica Love, executive director of Prosperity Indiana, a statewide community development network.

More: Read Prosperity Indiana’s news release.

Tipton board OKs smaller senior development

Rendering of 9-unit Southwood Villas

The Tipton Board of Zoning Appeals voted  June 25 to allow HAND to build seven affordable apartments for seniors on property the Noblesville organization acquired last year.

HAND’s original plans called for building nine units on five residential lots, which would have required a variance reducing the minimum lot size from 8,000 square feet per unit to about 4,500 square feet per unit. The board voted 3-1 to reduce the minimum lot size to 5,725 square feet per unit.

The BZA also approved a zoning variance that will allow HAND to establish a 10-foot buffer yard along its shared property lines without building a fence. Members rejected a request to reduce the required number of parking spaces from 18 to 12, but their decision to eliminate two units also reduces the on-site parking needs.

HAND has submitted its development plan to the city’s Plan Commission for review. A decision could be made as soon as its next meeting on Aug. 13.

State unveils $25M COVID rental assistance program

rental assistance program slide

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb on June 24 announced the Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program, a $25 million fund designed to help Indiana renters adversely affected by COVID-19 avoid eviction.

Qualified renters may receive up to $2,000 in assistance to help cover four months of rent payments and/or late fees.

Applications will be accepted online beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, July 13. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and officials expect demand for assistance to exceed available resources.

To be eligible, a rental household must:

  • Live outside of Marion County (which has its own rental fund)
  • Have experienced an involuntary loss of income due to COVID-19
  • Be rent burdened or at risk of eviction
  • Not be receiving rental assistance through Section 8 or USDA Rural Development programs
  • Not be receiving COVID-19 rental assistance for the same months it is seeking state help

“This has been a very challenging time for Hoosiers, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 has left some renters in a tough spot,” Holcomb said in a news release. “The Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program will support our renters, improve our state’s housing stability and help prevent evictions as the state gets back on track.”

The program will provide households with up to $500 in assistance for four months, totaling a maximum of $2,000 in assistance to eligible renters to help cover past and ongoing rent payments or late fees.

Approximately 12,000 Indiana households could be helped. Payments will be made directly to the landlord, who must agree to participate.

If they have not done so, renters should speak with their property manager if they are unable to make their payments. More resources area available in the state’s Coronavirus Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Guide.

HAND also will be administering rental assistance to households in its service area who are referred by their township trustee.

HAND enters new year building on 2018 successes

Home Place Gardens ribbon cutting

Anticipation is building along with HAND’s momentum as we work to continue growing the organization’s impact in 2019. Here are just some of the highlights from last year, which wouldn’t be possible without our many supporters:

— HAND extended its reach outside of Hamilton County, purchasing 17 duplexes in nearby Boone County. Now called Hickory Commons, the rental community includes 33 leasable units on two cul-de-sacs just north of downtown Lebanon. HAND is investing more than $2 million to acquire and renovate the apartments, which were build in the 1950s.

— HAND opened Home Place Gardens, its first rental community in Carmel. Located on 2.4 acres south of 106th Street between College Avenue and the Monon Greenway, the development includes eight one- and two-bedroom duplex apartments for seniors ages 55 and older and two three-bedroom detached homes for families. About 100 people attended a June ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house. (See photo, above.)

— Ohio-based developer Woda Cooper Companies Inc. purchased the former Adams Elementary School in Sheridan, which it will transform into 32 affordable 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments. The historic gym also will be preserved, becoming community recreation space. HAND is a consultant on the project.

— HAND helped to establish the Hamilton County Home Repair Partnership, a collaboration that includes Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County, Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County, SERVE Noblesville and Christmas in Action. In its first year, about 50 low- and moderate-income homeowners—many of them seniors—received critical repairs or modifications that improve their home’s accessibility, efficiency and affordability.

— HAND engaged a consultant and solicited public feedback to complete a comprehensive housing needs assessment for Hamilton County. Conducted every five years, the data-based analysis is used to determine local housing needs and to identify a strategy for meeting them. While final report is still being fine-tuned, preliminary results released at HAND’s September housing conference found that Hamilton County has a significantly larger percentage of cost-burdened households than the Indianapolis metropolitan area as a whole.

— HAND also received several significant grants throughout the year, including $10,000 from the Rotary Club of Carmel for the playground at Home Place Gardens and $7,500 from Duke Energy Foundation for the Housing Needs Assessment.

(See our full list of 2018 sponsors and supporters here, and contact Andrea Davis if you’d like to join the list for 2019.)

Hamilton County’s Section 8 wait list to open for first time since ’14

The Noblesville Housing Authority will be accepting pre-applications online for its Housing Choice Voucher Waiting List from 9 a.m. Oct. 2, 2018, through 4 p.m. Oct. 9, 2018.

Pre-applications must be submitted online at www.waitlistcheck.com/IN2939. There is no fee to apply.

Applicants will be able to submit the required information from any computer, tablet, or smart phone with online access. Status information regarding placement on the list will be available online within 10 calendar days after the closing date. Instructions regarding obtaining status information are provided during the online application process.

No paper applications will be accepted. Applicants must apply during the period the list is open for applications.

Reasonable Accommodation: It is the policy of the Noblesville Housing Authority to provide reasonable accommodations to those persons with disabilities so they can participate equally in its housing programs. To request a reasonable accommodation, please contact the Housing Authority at (317) 773-5110 ext. 101 no later than 4 p.m. Sept. 26. Persons with Limited English Proficiency will be offered competent interpretation services free of charge upon request.

“We are excited to be opening our waiting list so that we can provide housing assistance to more families and the elderly who are in need,” said NHA Executive Director Aimee Jacobsen. “Our new process for accepting pre-applications online will allow the greatest possible access to apply and help our agency efficiently meet the high demand for applications we anticipate. We have developed an application process that affords every interested applicant the opportunity to apply.”

Due to limited funding availability, not all applicants will be placed on the waiting list. Pre-applications will be selected and ordered using a random lottery system, keeping the process equitable and fair.

The time and date the application is submitted online has no bearing on whether it will be selected for the waiting list. There is no  advantage to applying immediately after the list opens. Applicants can apply online using a computer, tablet or smart phone with internet access anytime during the time the wait list is open.

Online applications will automatically be sorted by Noblesville Housing Authority preferences. Applicants who live or work in Hamilton County, are elderly or disabled, are veterans, or who live or work in Indiana will receive a preference on the list and are therefore encouraged to apply. After the pre-applications are sorted by preference, the online system will randomly select 200 of the pre-applications using a lottery system.

Applicants may verify if they were selected by logging in with their unique code online at www.housinglistcheck.com/IN2939 within 10 calendar days after the closing date.

The Housing Choice Voucher program is the federal government’s primary program that allows very low-income families to choose and lease or purchase safe, decent, and affordable privately-owned rental housing.

The Housing Choice Voucher program covers the rent portion that exceeds approximately 30 percent of an eligible family’s monthly income. Any and all income-eligible families may submit a pre-application.

Acceptance and/or assistance are based on income verification, eligibility requirements, preference factors, and a lottery selection process. Maximum income levels, based on family size are as follows:

Family Size / Income Limit

  1. $27,050
  2. $30,900
  3. $34,750
  4. $38,600
  5. $41,700
  6. $44,800
  7. $47,900
  8. $51,000

Pre-applications will be removed from the wait list if any of the following are determined after the initial interview:

  • Drug or violent criminal activity within the last five years. If any drug activity, you may remain on the list if you have completed or are in a drug rehabilitation program at the time of the initial interview.
  • Life-time registered sex offender
  • Persons convicted of manufacturing or producing methamphetamine
  • If any family member has been evicted/terminated from a federally-assisted housing program in the past five years.
  • Criminal background checks and screening for previous tenant history in assisted housing is conducted at the time of the eligibility interview for all adult household members.

Questions? Please contact the Noblesville Housing Authority directly at (317) 773-5110.