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  • 28 Nov 2016 4:00 PM | Anonymous

    Prosperity Indiana announces Allyson Mitchell as the organization’s Director of Sustainability. Mitchell will lead the organization’s strategies to integrate environmental sustainability into the network of nonprofit, government, and other community and business leaders committed to comprehensive community development. Andy Fraizer, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director, said “Allyson joining the team brings additional perspective and expertise to our work. Prosperous communities are socially just, environmentally sustainable, and transformed by local initiative.”

    The Director of Sustainability develops programming that engages, coordinates, and convenes members to help them integrate sustainability principles and practices into their communities and organizations. The position is a technical assistance resource on sustainability, including energy systems, green infrastructure, community resiliency, building sciences, food systems, and waste management.

    Allyson Mitchell

    Before joining the staff of Prosperity Indiana, Mitchell owned a sustainability planning and consulting company and worked with Prosperity Indiana on the development and implementation of the first phase of the Solar Uniting Neighbors Program. She has an extensive background in environmental sustainability, public policy, design, and law. Mitchell has worked in the fields of landscape architecture, commercial real estate development, nonprofit management, and higher education. Formerly, she was a founding member of the City of Indianapolis’ Office of Sustainability. 

    Mitchell graduated from Purdue University with a degree in Landscape Horticulture & Design and immediately went on to graduate studies at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources & Environment to complete a Master of Landscape Architecture degree. In 2012, she graduated from Indiana University’s McKinney School of Law with a Juris Doctor (JD) degree. In her spare time, Mitchell teaches a graduate-level course, Sustainability Assessment, at Indiana University Purdue University – Indianapolis’ (IUPUI) School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). Mitchell is from Greensburg, Ind. and lives in Indianapolis with her husband and two young sons.


  • 25 Nov 2016 5:52 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    Status of the Appointment:

    Despite a confirmation reported by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that Dr. Ben Carson had accepted the position of Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the paper issued a correction statement quoting Alonso Williams, Carson’s spokesman, as saying “President-elect Donald Trump is considering Ben Carson to be the next secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A previous version of this article incorrectly said that he was offered and accepted the post, citing Mr. Carson’s spokesman. (Nov. 23)

    The premature announcement follows a Nov. 22 tweet from President-elect Trump, “I am seriously considering Dr. Ben Carson as the head of HUD. I've gotten to know him well--he's a greatly talented person who loves people!”

    That tweet was unexpected as many earlier articles speculated that candidates for the position at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) featured well-known names in the housing field such as Pam Patenaude, the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families and Bob Woodson, the founder and president of the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise.

    One day later, Carson posted the following message on his Facebook account, fueling rumors he was likely to accept the post.

    “Winning the presidential election was only the first step for those who love traditional America and do not wish to fundamentally change it. Now the hard work begins of restoring the values that made us great. We must bring back the compassion and the unity that empowers us and banish the divisiveness that weakens us. After serious discussions with the Trump transition team, I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly to making our inner cities great for everyone. We have much work to do in strengthening every aspect of our nation and ensuring that both our physical infrastructure and our spiritual infrastructure is solid. An announcement is forthcoming about my role in helping to make America great again.”

    It now seems the candidate for the position will be taking the long Thanksgiving weekend to mull the decision, as he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto that he would be “thinking and praying over it seriously over the holiday. Our inner cities are in terrible shape. They definitely need some real attention. There have been so many promises made and nothing has been done. So it certainly is something that has been a long-term interest of mine.”

    If accepted, this would put Carson at the helm of the 50-year-old agency, charged with overseeing housing programs that affect over 5 million low-income households, through managing the Federal Housing Administration, public housing, low-income rental assistance, and homelessness programs, to name a few.  

    This offer under consideration by Carson poses a number of questions for housing and community development advocates as little is known about what the former presidential candidate’s specific positions on federal housing policies. 

    Background:

    According to Carson’s autobiography, he was raised in a single-parent, low-income household in Detroit and later in life, became a renowned in the pediatric neurosurgery department at Johns Hopkins Hospital before eventually entering the political arena.  In 2015, he entered the race to become the Republican nominee for President and after failing to secure the nomination, he became a highly visible surrogate for President-elect Trump.

    Carson’s upbringing seems to have influenced a number of his social policy positions that may shed light on his views on federal programs designed to support low-income households.  A 2015 article from the Washington Post quoted Carson as saying, “I don’t want to get rid of any safety net programs. I want to create an environment where they won’t be needed.”

    A 2014 article from Politico provided additional detail on this stance, quoting Carson in a conversation surrounding education issues as saying:

     “What I prefer is to create mechanisms whereby all people can move upward. If you happen to be in an affluent community, there’s a lot more money for the schools, better facilities, everything. All that does is perpetuate the situation. Wouldn’t it make more sense to put the money in a pot and redistribute it throughout the country so that public schools are equal, whether you’re in a poor area or a wealthy area?”

    In yet another article regarding his economic policy positions from the Baltimore Sun in 2015, then candidate Carson was quoted as saying, "Most of the people that I have heard from in the political arena, they say, 'one of the big solutions to our problems is we have to remove the entitlements,'" Carson said. "And I say, no, what you have to do is fix the economy. ... When people have viable options, that's when you start pulling entitlements."

    Beyond those references to economic mobility and federal social programs, the most specific information to be gleaned regarding his stance on housing programs is from a 2015 op-ed Carson wrote for the Washington Times on the Obama Administration’s efforts to address housing discrimination through the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule.  AFFH is a federal rule stating that local governments and states that receive Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA), as well as public housing agencies (PHAs) are required to affirmatively further the purposes of the Fair Housing Act.  The regulation is aimed at strengthening local jurisdictions’ and public housing agencies’ fair housing obligations, through an improved structure and process whereby HUD provides program participants with guidance, data, and an assessment template from which they would complete an assessment of fair housing (the AFH). 

    Previous blog posts from Prosperity Indiana (formerly IACED) explaining AFFH can be found below:

    From Carson’s op-ed stance, his appointment to the HUD post would be concerning for Prosperity Indiana, as our organization advocates to uphold AFFH on the grounds it better 

    provides fair housing choice, reduces ethnic and racial concentrations of poverty, improves access to transportation, and improves quality of life for all Hoosiers regardless of race, color, religion, disability, or familial status.  

     In that op-ed, Carson characterized the AFFH effort the following way:

    “Undaunted by the failed socialist experiments of the 1980s, the Obama administration has recently implemented a new Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule designed to “desegregate” housing by withholding funds from communities that fail to demonstrate their projects “affirmatively further” fair housing.”

    He went on to compare it to other seemingly well-intended efforts to decrease desegregation, such as busing to reduce segregation in schools as exacerbating the issues instead of improving them.  Carson does point out that segregation and wealth disparity in the country’s communities were not entirely the result of forced integration, stating, “Other private and public housing policies such as redlining, restrictive covenants, discriminatory steering by real estate agents, and restricted access to private capital — all attempts at social engineering — exacerbated the suburban segregation in the 1970s and ‘80s.”  It is clear in the article, however, that he views the AFFH rule as a government overstep that will not achieve its intended aims.

    “It is true that the Fair Housing Act and other laws have greatly reduced explicit discrimination in housing, but significant disparities in housing availability and quality persist. To address them, The Obama administration’s new agency rules rely on a tortured reading of the Fair Housing laws to empower the Department of Housing and Urban Development to “affirmatively promote” fair housing, even in the absence of explicit discrimination.  The new rule would not only condition the grant of HUD funds to municipalities on building affordable housing as is the case today, but would require that such affordable housing be built primarily in wealthier neighborhoods with few current minority residents and that the new housing be aggressively marketed to minorities. In practice, the rule would fundamentally change the nature of some communities from primarily single-family to largely apartment-based areas by encouraging municipalities to strike down housing ordinances that have no overtly (or even intended) discriminatory purpose — including race-neutral zoning restrictions on lot sizes and limits on multi-unit dwellings, all in the name of promoting diversity… There are reasonable ways to use housing policy to enhance the opportunities available to lower-income citizens, but based on the history of failed socialist experiments in this country, entrusting the government to get it right can prove downright dangerous.”

    Prosperity Indiana’s policy team will continue to follow any new statements from Carson regarding this position and any revealing statements on a potential housing and community development agenda should he accept the role to lead HUD. Stay tuned next week for updates on this announcement and additional coverage of cabinet appointments likely to impact the work of Prosperity Indiana members.

    What Our Partners Are Saying:

    National partners of Prosperity Indiana have begun to weigh in on the announcement, given the President-elect’s stated strong consideration of Carson for the role.  The following press release was issued Wednesday, Nov. 23, by Diane Yentel, President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/7316. Read speculation on additional candidates for the HUD Secretary from Rooflines, blog of Shelterforce.

  • 18 Nov 2016 3:41 PM | Jessica Love (Administrator)

    The following is part of a special feature series to commemorate IACED’s 30th anniversary by highlighting past community development award winners. Mark Lindenlaub was the 2012 recipient of the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award. IACED’s 30th Anniversary Celebration was held November 16, 2016 during the Prosperity Indiana Summit. During that celebration, IACED officially launched its new brand, Prosperity Indiana. 

    Mark Lindenlaub’s career may have taken some twists and turns – from landscape architecture to affordable housing to senior services. But there’s a common thread that has lured him to all of the work he’s done: finding problems needing a solution. And over the years, managing nonprofits has provided plenty of opportunities to do just that. Armed with degrees in environmental design, landscape architecture, and an MBA, Lindenlaub thought he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his career.

    “I think everybody, when they’re in college, has a vision of what kind of change they want to make in the world and the impact that they want to have,” Lindenlaub said.

    But the realities of the field and external influences, like the economy, made him think twice about his direction. So, he ultimately “traded in wingtips for work boots” and went to work in Columbus.

    “The economy was not great in the early ’90s. It was a slow time. A lot of practitioners went into teaching. That was a turning point,” Lindenlaub said. “I really had made a decision to find something that would be personally fulfilling to me. And that was housing. It was an opportunity, I felt, to do work that would impact people in a positive way.”

    But it was landscape architecture that first brought the West Lafayette native to Columbus, where the entirety of his career in affordable housing has played out. He worked on the Mill Race Park project in Columbus, which received two landscape architecture awards for its unique design that is accommodating to the annual flooding that the area experiences. When that work was winding down, he became aware of the opportunity at Housing Partnerships, Inc.

    While he didn’t have a resume that touted experience in managing a nonprofit or affordable housing, he certainly had transferable skills that made him a good fit. He was hired as the executive director of HPI in 1993.

    “You’ve got to be organized, read in detail, follow directions, and be a good problem solver. Depending on the role, those are all business management skills that go with running a small nonprofit. I didn’t have exact training,” Lindenlaub said. “But I think the design life I had before was helpful. Design is about solving problems. I think that background has been helpful in doing the work I’ve been involved with.”

    The very first problem he had to solve when hired by HPI was to find funding. Describing the climate as being much different than today, his first order of business was to “find some grants to build some housing or you’ll be out of a job.”

    Over the years, HPI did just that – found money and built housing.

    Lindenlaub said, “Once we got good at it, we were pretty successful. At a time, we were getting $1 million in grants every year and were instrumental in Bartholomew County being really successful.”

    But even in light of the organization’s successes in that regard, Lindenlaub and his board realized as HPI was approaching its 20th anniversary that, while they had great organizational success stories and wonderful volunteer experiences, they “hadn’t really had as much community change as [they] would have liked.”

    “We wanted to orchestrate neighborhood change and improvements. But when you look at housing development funding, it doesn’t really provide the flexibility to do that. It encourages it, but it’s not providing a lot of funding to do it, which resulted in a failure to execute change in our communities,” Lindenlaub said.

    For HPI, the solution for addressing their concerns around funding for small housing projects and the desire to address the needs of the community beyond their housing concerns led to the merger of HPI with Aging and Community Services of South Central Indiana, Inc. to become Thrive Alliance. Lindenlaub said that several broader external factors also made the merger essential – the country’s economic collapse in 2008, growth of the federal debt, and an aging society, especially the ratio of retirees versus those in the workforce.

    “It really impacts our industry and community that we may not have good solutions to address those issues. It gets back to the problem solving aspect. We have to reinvent how we do our work because there is not going to be enough money to do our work how we’ve been doing it.” He said, “How are we going to facilitate that change to make our mission more successful in the community?”

    The combined services of the two groups Lindenlaub merged in Columbus address both the individual services and housing needs of their respective clients. In fact, Lindenlaub said that one-third to one-half of Thrive’s housing clients are also aging clients. So, although the consolidation of 12 HPI employees with the 115 staff of the area agency on aging took a couple of years and involved a steep learning curve, and Lindenlaub now “know[s] a lot more about Medicaid than [he] ever wanted to know,” he said it was the right decision.

    “We had some overlap. But in terms of being intentional with connecting those services, we weren’t doing any of that previous to coming together. The main thing driving us now is: how do we integrate even more fully?”

    Part of that integration plan is to determine what housing projects best line up with the organization’s primary client-base. Thrive is specifically looking to do more senior housing projects, but Lindenlaub knows they will face a funding challenge because the projects are generally too small for tax credits but too large to be entirely grant-funded. Lindenlaub said the organization is also working with clients now who seem to have additional barriers to improving their lives.

    Thinking about concerns like the Cliff Effect, Lindenlaub said, “It seems like there is a systemically rooted set of barriers that make it really hard for families to move up the socioeconomic ladder. We’re seeing more families that are two or three generations stuck in poverty.”

    And while Lindenlaub does not believe that housing is enough to create the community- or even family-level change they are seeking, two housing projects are what stand out to Lindenlaub as being some of his proudest moments of his career. One was a four-house infill project in the downtown Columbus area. He said, “It was pretty exciting to see something of that scale. For an organization that took 18 months to build its first house, that was a pretty big leap forward for the organization.”

    Another project that gave HPI “some prominence and more respect in the community” was the adaptive reuse of an old armory, which is a project with only 25 units but made a big difference in the community and to its residents.

    “In today’s world, we wouldn’t do tax credits for that project. We were too dumb to know it wouldn’t work. We actually found the investors ourselves and syndicated to local banks and general contracted it ourselves to make the budget work. We turned it into housing instead of a parking lot. It is a highlight and feather in our cap – we actually won an award for that. That was a neat project for us,” Lindenlaub said. “In terms of career high points, those are definitely two that helped set the foundation for achieving bigger impact and reaching more families.”

    And at the end of the day, it’s going deep with families to address all of their needs that means the most to Lindenlaub. In fact, that’s exactly why he received the Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Organization in 2012. His personal reflection around HPI’s level of impact in Columbus had led him and his board to change the organization’s mission. Then through his role as a member, and past president, of IACED’s board, HPI’s local discussion ultimately fed into a larger conversation about addressing community development work more comprehensively across the state.

    Similarly, his personal fight against losing property tax exemption for HPI’s affordable housing properties in Bartholomew County has led him to testify time and again on behalf of IACED’s membership to see that a single interpretation affirming the charitable purpose of affordable housing created by nonprofits is prescribed statewide. Still an issue to deal with during the upcoming legislative session, Lindenlaub said that what “started out of economic self-interest” is now “a community moral issue.” But for a problem solver by nature, it’s just another aspect of the work.

    Lindenlaub said, “There are always new and growing challenges to address. It has always been what drives me. It’s kind of how my brain is wired. I like finding solutions.”

    By Jessica Love, Associate Executive Director

    Jessica Love is the Associate Executive Director for Prosperity Indiana, formerly known as the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development. She works with the Executive Director to provide team leadership for staff and is responsible for developing and managing organizational systems for Prosperity Indiana to ensure effective management and control. She also provides one-on-one technical assistance to Prosperity Indiana members, informed by her media and grants management background. With nearly 15 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector, Jessica’s consulting work focuses primarily on resource development and creating processes and tools for effective management and program compliance. 

  • 16 Nov 2016 3:21 PM | Jessica Love (Administrator)

    INDIANAPOLIS – On November 16, the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED) hosted the Prosperity Indiana Summit and its 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing. In celebration of IACED’s 30th anniversary, the organization revealed its new brand, Prosperity Indiana. Additionally, during the summit’s luncheon, an annual award presentation took place to honor community and organization leadership and program excellence.

    “For 30 years, IACED’s work has meant focusing on the key assets of local people mobilizing collective action to advance local places and our state. The new brand embodies a more authentic and approachable way to convey our vision and work,” said Executive Director Andy Fraizer.pin-logo-horizontal-lockup-rgb-fnl

    The new brand, Prosperity Indiana, better embodies the comprehensive work IACED delivers to strengthen Indiana communities. The rebranding was generously supported in part by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. Visit the new website at http://www.prosperityindiana.org.

    The summit was made possible in part from the generous support of the premier sponsor the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, platinum sponsor PNC Bank and track sponsors Merchants Bank of Indiana and Vectren. PNC Bank, an IACED member and funder lent support in the re-branding effort.

    “Community economic development is and always has been about prosperity development that focuses on people, places, and opportunity. Prosperity Indiana’s work champions this convergence. The new brand calls all Hoosier neighbors to engage in creating vibrant places and resilient families,” said Rachel McIntosh, Vice President of PNC Community Development Banking and chairperson for the Communications Committee who led the re-branding efforts.

    During the 30th Anniversary luncheon, IACED celebrated people and organizations that are strengthening Indiana’s communities with its annual award ceremony.

    • John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award
      Charles Heintzelman, Milestone Ventures
    • Michael Carroll Community Economic Development Leadership Award
      James Taylor, John Boner Neighborhood Center
    • Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award
      Gladys Muhammad, South Bend Heritage Foundation
    • Key Award for Services Program of the Year
      Back Home in Indiana Alliance, Indianapolis

    The summit featured a number of expert panelists to discuss matters within its two tracks of content: policymaking and placemaking for building resilient families and vital communities. Panelists for the policymaking track included John Ketzenberger, president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute and Ed Feigenbaum, leader of INGroup, State senators, Ron Grooms (R-Jeffersonville) and Doug Eckerty (R-Muncie). Other panelists included IACED, Ice Miller, LLP, the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, Brightpoint, Indiana Legal Services, and Jewish Community Relations Council.

    The second track, placemaking, featured national and state expertise. Mayor Brooks Fetters of Huntington discussed the community’s strategies for activation and economic development. Other panelists were featured from the Harrison Center for the Arts, Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, IU School of Public and Environmental Affairs, IU Public Policy Institute, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Eyedart Creative Studio, Rundell Ernstberger Associates and Big Car Collaborative.

    prosperity-indiana-brand-launch

    IACED launches its new brand, Prosperity Indiana, during its 30th Anniversary Celebration luncheon.

     
    About Indiana Association for Community Economic Development D/B/A Prosperity Indiana

    Community economic development is any local action that creates economic opportunities and improves social conditions, particularly for those who are most disadvantaged. Founded in 1986, the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development (IACED) is a statewide organization that supports a network of organizations that builds vital communities and resilient families. We advocate for public policies and assist the network in developing comprehensive solutions that engage local leadership to generate private and public investment.

    For more information, please contact:

    Jessica Love
    Prosperity Indiana
    317-454-8537
    jlove@prosperityindiana.org

    Amber Medwetz
    Three Sixty Group
    317-633-1456
    amber@360grouponline.com

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Prosperity Indiana
1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 170
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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