FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 14, 2023
Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | firstname.lastname@example.org
"It feels like we are being set up to fail" - Affordable Housing is Out of Reach in Indiana for Low-Wage Hoosiers
by Erica Boswell and Andrew Bradley
Full-time Hoosier workers need to earn $19.00 per hour to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. This is Indiana’s 2023 “Housing Wage,” according to a report published today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Prosperity Indiana. The report finds that inflated rent in Indiana has fueled the increase in the state’s Housing Wage needed to afford housing costs, erasing any gains in Hoosier renters’ wages which remain persistently far below the Midwest average.
Released annually, the Out of Reach report calls attention to the gulf between wages and what people need to earn to afford their rents. The report shows that affordable rental homes are out of reach for millions of low-wage workers and other families. The report’s “Housing Wage” is an estimate of the hourly wage full time workers must earn to afford a rental home at fair market rent without spending more than 30% of their incomes. Nationally, the 2023 Housing Wage is $28.58 per hour for a modest two-bedroom rental home and $23.67 for a modest one-bedroom rental home.
While the Housing Wage varies by state and metropolitan area, low-wage workers everywhere – including in all 92 Indiana counties - struggle to afford their housing. “Indiana has twin crises of a shortage of affordable homes and too few good-paying jobs to afford them. This is a symptom of a lack of economic opportunity which prevents too many Hoosiers from achieving their true potential and leaves Indiana behind the curve of the Midwest,” said Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana and board member of NLIHC.
“The new Out of Reach 2023 report finds that while the Housing Wage needed to afford a modest two-bedroom home in Indiana increased by 12% over the past year, the average Hoosier renter’s wage increased by only 7.5%. The report also finds that 10 of Indiana’s top 20 largest occupations now don’t pay the state’s Housing Wage, up from nine just a year ago. This double squeeze of low pay and out-of-reach housing disproportionately harms Black and brown Hoosiers, families with children, and the state’s most vulnerable populations in urban, rural, and suburban communities alike.”
“To break out of this cycle of jobs that pay too little for housing that costs too much, Indiana needs to articulate a community development and economic development policy strategy that boosts the pay and quality of Indiana’s current jobs, builds pathways to better careers statewide, and increases the supply, access, and habitability standards for affordable housing in the places Hoosiers live,” Bradley said.
Even before the pandemic, low-income renters were facing a housing crisis, with rents increasing much more quickly than wages and federal assistance programs remaining underfunded. With the arrival of the pandemic, widespread job and wage losses followed by skyrocketing rents exacerbated the situation, putting new pressures on renters throughout the country. Though rent inflation has moderated in most markets and is now at pre-pandemic or even lower levels, rents remain too high for low-wage workers and other low-income renters. At the same time, pandemic-era benefit programs – like emergency rental assistance (ERA), additional allocations from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and childcare tax benefits – have ended. In consequence, the lowest-income renters are facing high rents without the support of those safety net programs that kept them stably housed during the pandemic, with the result that eviction filings are returning to or surpassing pre-pandemic levels in some communities.
Affordable Housing is Out of Reach in all 92 Counties while Indiana Remains Behind Midwest in Renter Wages
The new Out of Reach report finds that increases in rent have occurred in all parts of Indiana, but wages have not increased to keep up with housing costs or average wages in the Midwest. While the Housing Wage needed to afford a two-bedroom unit rose from $16.97 in 2022 to $19.00 in 2023, representing a 12% increase, Indiana’s average renter wage increased only 7.5%, from $16.61 in 2022 to $17.86 in 2023. The median renter wage in Indiana has consistently trailed the state’s Housing Wage in recent years, suggesting that policy efforts to date have been inadequate to fulfill the demand for affordable housing that remains out of reach for Hoosiers.
Throughout Indiana, a renter needs to earn on average $15.88 to $21.62 per hour, depending on their county of residence, to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs.
Despite a reputation of being a low-cost state, the Housing Wage in Indiana has worsened from 43rd-least affordable in the nation in 2021 to 38th in 2023. Among Midwest states, Hoosier renter wages remain persistently behind the average of the region. In 2023, the mean Hoosier renter wage of $17.86 is now $0.91 an hour lower than the $18.77 mean renter wage across all 12 Midwest states. This means the typical Hoosier renter working full time makes $1,893 less each year than their average Midwest counterpart. Policies that fill that wage discrepancy for Hoosiers would pay nearly 2 months of the state’s fair-market rent for a two-bedroom unit at $988/month.
The report also finds that in 2023, 10 of Indiana’s top 20 largest occupations pay a lower median wage than a full-time Hoosier worker needs for the state’s Housing Wage for a modest two-bedroom apartment at the state’s fair market rent. By contrast, just a year ago only 9 of the state’s top 20 occupations fell short of Indiana’s Housing Wage. These 10 occupations paying less than Indiana’s Housing Wage account for nearly 625,000 working Hoosiers, 57% of the total employed in the state’s 20 largest occupations, and more than a fifth of the state’s workforce. These occupations are frequently held by women, Hoosiers of color, and others making up Indiana’s extremely low-income renter households. Concentrating policy solutions on these key large occupations could unlock affordable housing and economic opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Hoosier households.
The increased cost of housing is also causing inflation in the number of hours Hoosiers working minimum wage must work to afford rent. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour, and $2.13 an hour for tipped jobs, without an increase since 2009, and Indiana has chosen to remain tied to that national wage floor. In no Indiana county or metro area can a minimum-wage renter working a 40-hour workweek afford even a modest studio rental unit at the average fair market rent. Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Indiana, a Hoosier wage earner must have 2.2 full-time jobs over work 86 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment (up from 1.9 jobs over 76 hours in 2022); or work 2.6 full-time jobs over 105 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment (up from 2.3 jobs and 94 hours in 2022. The hours necessary to work at the minimum wage to afford housing in most Indiana communities are higher than the hours necessary in many Midwest states and even some of the nation’s largest metro areas. But many Hoosiers making higher than minimum wage have seen the rising number of hours required per week to afford housing, taking time away from raising families and eroding quality of life without greater net compensation.
The Gulf Between Housing Costs and Wages – Voices of Hoosiers
Prosperity Indiana, its members, and partners in the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition hear daily from Hoosiers caught in the gulf between increasing housing costs and stagnant wages that too often leads to eviction and homelessness. Here are some of the voices of those partners and the low-income tenants they serve:
Laurin Embry, Director of the Indiana Tenant Association and the Indianapolis Tenants Rights Union writes: “As a case manager it is becoming more common that I find myself working with families that have been torn apart by DCS due to the parents inability to afford housing. I am currently working with a couple whose children were removed due to the family experiencing homelessness. As a condition to regain custody of their children my clients are forced to pay several non-refundable housing application fees in an effort to secure housing; however many applications were denied with no explanation. Indiana's affordable housing crisis, lack of tenant protections and low wages make securing affordable housing a near impossible task. Those fortunate enough to afford housing now may later find themselves unable to maintain their housing if their rent is increased when it's time to renew their lease.” An unhoused Indianapolis resident told Embry "It feels like we are being set up to fail."
Jean from Indianapolis used Prosperity Indiana’s Court Watcher’s Toolkit and witnessed this tenant family’s experience in the courtroom:
“Housing is a human right,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Stable, affordable homes are a prerequisite for basic well-being, and no person should face the danger of losing their home. But, as the Out of Reach report shows, too many low-income renters now face worsening housing instability, as wages stagnate, housing costs rise, and pandemic-era safety net programs close down. Addressing the country’s long-term housing affordability crisis requires bridging the gap between rents and incomes through comprehensive federal legislation and adequate funding by Congress for our country’s vital affordable housing and homelessness programs.”
For additional information, and to download the report, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor
Special thanks to Laurin Embry of the Indiana Tenant Association and Indianapolis Tenants Rights Union, and Will Stauffer of Hoosier Action for coordinating quotes from Hoosier tenants.
ABOUT PROSPERITY INDIANA
Prosperity Indiana is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization formed in 1986 as the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development. PI is a network of approximately 200 organizations and individual members committed to advancing community economic development through our values of eliminating barriers, ensuring everyone has better opportunities to pursue the American Dream and prosperity for all. Visit the Prosperity Indiana website and follow @INCommDev on Twitter.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL LOW INCOME HOUSING COALITION
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated to achieving racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in the communities of their choice. NLIHC educates, organizes, and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. For more information about NLIHC, please visit www.nlihc.org.
The 2023 session of the Indiana General Assembly resulted in achieving several priorities from Prosperity Indiana’s policy agenda, including a pair of long-term asset-building goals. But while it had been dubbed the "housing session" in advance by legislators, and even as millions of dollars for housing and economic development were included in the final budget, it will take ongoing effort by Indiana’s community economic development sector to ensure those resources are targeted to the communities with the greatest needs. And despite hundreds of Hoosier tenants, housing providers, and community partners urging legislation to strengthen the state’s woeful habitability standards, they made only the most incremental of progress that will need to be built upon.
Throughout the session, PI staff and members advocated for the affordable housing, community development resources, and asset building and consumer protection priorities on our 2023 policy agenda ‘Increasing Housing Affordability and Financial Resiliency for Stronger Hoosier Families and Communities’. A post-pandemic record number of supporters attended the PI Statehouse Day on February 2 following our Advocacy 101, 102, and 103 series, and many more Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition partners came out for the second annual Housing Advocacy Day later that month. In addition, PI members and coalition partners sent over 1,000 messages to elected officials throughout the session, urging them to advance our agenda items. Their support made all the difference to pass critical improvements, stop damaging legislation, and raise the profile of key community economic development priorities. Here are outcomes of the bills we followed closely this session whose implementation will most impact the community economic development sector.
Even before it started, some legislators dubbed 2023 as the “housing session” due to expected momentum for affordable housing legislation from last fall’s Housing Task Force. PI was represented on that Task Force through the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition and contributed data describing the statewide housing affordability and stability crisis. The Task Force’s final report included recommendations to increase affordable housing through infrastructure, tax credits, and “addressing substandard housing”, among others.
The most high-profile outcome of the Task Force, HEA 1005 creates a Housing Infrastructure Assistance program and revolving fund, with $75M over two years included in the state budget. Political subdivisions will be able to apply to the revolving fund using criteria that includes investing in a housing study, and through demonstrated need for housing inventory as indicated by the Indiana state housing dashboard. And while PI members testified requesting an additional priority be given to proposals that would develop units affordable to low-income Hoosiers, the authors declined, indicating that the existing criteria could accomplish that end. This means PI members will need to actively engage with their localities to include local examples and data in housing studies so proposals are targeted to develop housing for the communities with the greatest need.
This session, PI and our Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition partners called upon the legislature to increase the supply, access, and habitability of affordable housing statewide. In a positive step, the General Assembly passed SEA 114, which will enable courts to appoint a receiver upon the request of a utility if the owner of a multifamily residential property is severely delinquent on utility bills. While this legislation is good news for tenants whose utilities have been shut off in this case, it will not remedy the fact that Indiana is only 1 of 6 states without laws to enforce health and safety housing standards. In a major missed opportunity, SB 202/HB 1148 would have increased those habitability standards, and would have strengthened enforcement of unresponsive out-of-state corporate landlords, but neither bill was allowed a hearing in their original form. And while SB 202 was transformed into a study committee bill and passed the Senate by a wide bipartisan margin, it was not taken up by the House. The issue is now eligible to be chosen for interim study by the Legislative Council.
In a late-night surprise during the House Rules Committee hearing for HEA 1454 near midnight of the final night of the session, a provision (on pp. 190-191) was revealed that preempts local governmental units from inspecting, or imposing a fee pertaining to the inspection of, a rental unit if a HUD random sample of the rental unit community has been inspected in as much as the previous 36 months. This language had not previously passed either chamber and had not been subject to public testimony or review.
Another missed opportunity: despite PI testimony and hundreds of calls from members, the legislature failed to include funding for a Housing Stability Pilot in the biennial budget. This means state, local, and public-private partnerships will need to find alternative resources to bridge the gap between expiring emergency rental assistance funding and a potential sustainable solution through the federal Eviction Crisis Act sponsored by Senator Todd Young.
Community Development Resources
While the General Assembly did not advance the PI-supported HB 1147 to grow and provide funding options for Indiana’s land banks, the legislature did pass HEA 1627 ‘Sale of tax sale properties to nonprofits’. The bill, which PI members and staff testified to support, extends the ability for the sale of real property to eligible nonprofit entities for low or moderate income housing to all 92 counties.
By far, the legislation providing the greatest potential resources for community development is HEA 1001, the biennial budget bill. However, PI members will need to involve themselves with the implementation of some of these resources to get the most from how the legislative majorities’ prioritized the budget. Several budget provisions with the most potential impact for the sector include:
$250M each year for the newly-established regional economic acceleration and development initiative 2.0 fund (READI 2.0). PI members, note that in the bill, an "eligible regional economic acceleration and development organization" means "a development authority" AND a "qualified nonprofit organization" - a private, nonprofit entity formed as a partnership between local units, private sector businesses, or community or philanthropic organizations to develop and implement a regional economic acceleration and development strategy. Also note the potential to combine the impact of READI 2.0 funds with proposals for the $75M Housing Infrastructure Assistance Revolving Fund authorized in HEA 1005.
$1M each year for the Housing First program. This continuity in funding is a win, as Housing First programs have been under attack in many states.
$20M for a Low Barrier Homeless Shelter Grant Program in Indianapolis. This item was a last-minute pleasant surprise addition to the budget, as part of a larger Economic Enhancement District provision included for the city. While this is good news for Indy residents bearing the brunt of the state's housing stability crisis, it does not replace the need for a statewide eviction prevention fund.
$5M for a Homelessness Prevention Grant, with the explanation that the grant be "used to support programs that seek to prevent homelessness among vulnerable populations, including but not limited to foster youth and expectant mothers". This line item may be meant for the construction of a single facility for each of these populations.
$4M annually for a newly-established Attainable Homeownership Tax Credit for a taxpayer who makes a contribution to an affordable housing organization. Eligible organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, are 501c3 nonprofits that use volunteer labor for the construction or development of affordable housing for individuals between 30%-80%AMI.
Establishes the Employer Child Care Expenditure Credits - a state tax credit for a taxpayer that makes certain qualified child care expenditures in providing child care to the taxpayer's employees.
Asset Building & Consumer Protections (thanks to PI Coalition Coordinator Hale Crumley for contributions to this section)
Two of the most exciting victories for Prosperity Indiana this session were the inclusion of Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) reform in the state budget, and the passage of SEA 35 to include a financial literacy course as a graduation requirement. Both of these wins fulfill long-term priorities of the PI co-chaired Indiana Assets & Opportunities Network (see the Indiana A&O Network press release with member and legislator quotes).
In the asset-building sphere, the EITC is a resource for low and moderate income Hoosiers that encourages work by providing a wage subsidy in the form of a tax credit. Most states, including Indiana, have their own version of an EITC, calculated as a percentage of the federal credit. Under current law, Indiana’s state EITC is 10% of the federal credit as calculated before 2009, meaning the state credit is decoupled from the federal credit. The decoupled state EITC has several repercussions including a ‘marriage penalty’ in which a couple currently receives larger individual credits if they are not married, in contrast to the single credit they receive as a married couple. Decoupling also prevented foster parents from being able to claim foster children on their taxes unless they spent the entire year with them. This session, the Indiana A&O Network advocated to strengthen Indiana’s EITC by increasing the state percentage of the federal credit, as well as recoupling the state credit back to the federal credit. Ultimately, while the budget bill did not include an increased state percentage, this time the Genreral Assembly did listen to PI Action Alerts and can 'Fly the W Flag' after including recoupling the EITC with the federal credit in the final budget bill, providing additional relief to thousands of Hoosier families.
SEA 35 rose to the top of a number of bills introduced to increase financial literacy in Indiana’s K-12 education curriculum. Indiana Code 20-30-5-19 already required that personal financial responsibility be taught sometime between 6th and 12th grade, but in no particular manner. SEA 35 require that all Hoosier students starting with the Class of 2028 must pass a standalone financial literacy course in order to graduate high school. These students will be able to earn credit for their studies of money management, debt management, savings, tax returns, credit scores, simple contracts, and more. PI and the A&O Network will continue to work with policymakers to ensure members and community stakeholders are engaged in the implementation of this new requirement.
In addition, the final budget bill included $609,945 in level funding each year for the Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program, with the note that the Division of Family Resources shall apply all qualifying expenditures for IDA deposits toward Indiana's maintenance of effort under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.
On the consumer protections front, unfortunately the General Assembly did not advance the PI-supported HB 1026 to cap payday loans at 36% APR. But on the bright side, there was a welcome break from the large-scale defensive efforts necessary in previous sessions to prevent expansion of payday lending. However, PI and our Hoosiers for Responsible Lending coalition partners did successfully engage on two dangerous proposals, including HB 1547, which before being defeated, would have eliminated the state’s current ‘step rate’ on large loans and increased the allowable interest rate plus fees. Also, a late addition to SEA 452 would have allowed banks and credit unions to “change, amend, alter, add, or remove any term in a contract or agreement with a depositor at any time” before the provision was removed in conference committee.
Thanks again to Prosperity Indiana members and coalition partners - with your help, this session we've strengthened Indiana's communities and improved Hoosiers' lives.
March 16, 2023
Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403| email@example.com
The Shortage of Affordable Housing is Worst for Hoosier Renters with Extremely Low Incomes in all 92 Counties; Indiana's Supply and Cost Burden Remains Behind Midwest Average
By Andrew Bradley, Erica Boswell, Hale Crumley, and Maya Painter
INDIANAPOLIS, IN- The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Prosperity Indiana, finds that Indiana’s shortage of affordable housing and severe housing cost burden is statewide and is concentrated in extremely low-income renter households in all 92 counties. The new report finds a statewide shortage of 120,796 affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income renter households, defined as those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30% of their area median income, whichever is greater. This means there are just 39 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely low income Hoosier renter households. As a result, 70% of the most vulnerable renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for basic necessities. Both measures underperform the regional average for Midwest states, continuing a years’-long trend. In addition, the report finds that Black and brown Hoosier households are twice or more as likely to be extremely-low income renters than white households, and bear a disproportionate burden of Indiana’s shortage of affordable housing.
The report confirms that Indiana’s largest housing gaps and cost burdens are borne by the lowest-income Hoosier renters who comprise some of the most vulnerable populations in the state. At 36%, the greatest proportion of these extremely low-income renter households are in the workforce, along with older Hoosiers at 26% (increasing from 21% in 2022), disabled Hoosiers at 21%, students at 5%, caregivers at 3%, and other households at 9%. Of the plurality of Indiana’s extremely low-income households who are in the labor force, over two-thirds of these Hoosiers are working more than part-time hours, with the greatest proportion (35%) working 40 hours or more per week and another 33% working between 20 and 39 hours per week. Another 12% work fewer than 20 hours per week and the remaining 20% are in the labor force but are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work.
The Gap 2023 finds that Indiana’s largest housing deficit is by far among its lowest income households, a shortage that also makes up the largest housing gap for the Hoosiers earning below 80% of the state’s median income. When considered cumulatively along with Extremely Low Income (ELI) households, Very Low Income Hoosier households (those earning between 0-50% AMI) experience a smaller but still substantial gap of 78,123 affordable and available units. This equals a rate of 76 units for every 100 households earning below half of AMI statewide. But The Gap data finds that, at or below 80% Area Median Income, a population known as Low Income (LI), there is an absolute surplus of 16,336 affordable and available rental units in Indiana, equaling a rate of 103 units for every 100 of these LI households. And above the statewide median income, there is an absolute surplus of 39,223 affordable and available units. So while small localized gaps can and do exist, for every 100 Hoosier households making above median income there is an average of 105 affordable and available units.
The burden of Indiana’s gap in affordable and available rental housing is disproportionately borne Black and brown Hoosier households, as these households are both more likely to be renters and to have extremely low incomes. They are twice or more as likely as white households to be extremely low-income renters. For example, 63% of Black households are renters and 21% are extremely low-income renters. 45% of Latino households are renters and 12% are extremely low-income renters. In contrast, 24% of white households are renters and 6% are extremely low-income renters. These disparities are the product of historical and ongoing injustices that have systematically disadvantaged Hoosiers of color, often preventing them from owning a home and significantly limiting wealth accumulation. These disparities also mean that Indiana’s policy choice to not allow enforcement of habitability standards further disproportionately puts the health and economic burdens of substandard housing on Black and brown Hoosier renter households.
And while Indiana is commonly thought of as an affordable place to live regarding the availability and cost of housing, this reputation does not bear out for the lowest-income Hoosiers who face housing shortages and high rates of housing cost burden. And while the Midwest is typically more affordable than heavily populated coastal areas, within the region Indiana performs below average. Indiana has a lower rate of affordable and available housing for ELI households at 39.3% than six other Midwest states, and below the average of 41% for states in the region. And Indiana’s rate of 70.5% of ELI households experiencing severe cost burden is higher than seven Midwest states and is higher than the 68.7% average for states in the region.
The Gap in Affordable Housing is Most Prominent for the Lowest-Income Households in all 92 Indiana Counties
Additional analysis by Prosperity Indiana of the most recent county-level data (via HUD’s Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data released in September 2022) finds that the state’s housing affordability gap and housing cost burden is truly statewide, but is consistently concentrated among the state’s lowest-income renter households. In all 92 Indiana counties, the rate of affordable and available rental housing is lowest for households making 0-30% of the county’s Area Median Income. And in 22 counties, the rate of affordable and available housing for the lowest-income renters is actually below the national average of 33 units for every 100 ELI households, including rural (Benton, Brown, and White), urban (Allen, Marion, and Vanderburgh), and suburban/mixed (Hamilton, Hendricks, and Porter).
See a table of the rates of affordable and available housing and housing cost burden for all 92 Indiana counties here.
In addition, in all 92 Indiana counties the rate of severe housing cost burden among extremely low income households was higher than the rate of severe housing cost burden among all other income categories combined. 21 counties have rates of severe housing cost burden above the national average of 72% for ELI households, including rural (Benton, Jennings, and Union), urban (Vigo, Lake, and St. Joseph), and suburban/mixed (Elkhart, Howard, and Wabash).
“Despite an improving state and national economy, this year’s Gap report finds that Indiana is making far too little progress to increase the supply, affordability, and habitability of housing to meet demand in all 92 counties. This new report shows the gap in affordable housing in Indiana is heavily borne by the lowest-income and most vulnerable Hoosier households,” said Prosperity Indiana Policy Director Andrew Bradley. “Indiana remains below average in the Midwest for the rate of affordable and available housing for extremely low income households, and higher than average for the rate of severe housing cost burden for those households. Indiana’s policymakers at the state, federal, and local levels must take advantage of every opportunity to focus efforts on increasing the supply of deeply affordable units; increasing funding for preserving the stock of existing affordable housing; and preventing the artificial depletion of supply by strengthening the enforcement of habitability standards,” Bradley said.
“As this year’s Gap report makes clear, extremely low-income renters are facing a staggering shortage of affordable and available homes,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “In the wake of the pandemic, federal housing investments are more critical than ever for sustaining our communities and helping low-income people thrive. Yet House Republicans are now threatening to cut funding for the very programs that provide a lifeline to low-income renters. Balancing the national budget must not be done on the backs of our nation’s lowest-income and most marginalized people and families.”
For additional information, visit: http://nlihc.org/gap and https://www.prosperityindiana.org/
About Prosperity Indiana
The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources, and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana’s network has grown to nearly 200 organizations, representing thousands of practitioners statewide from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
About the National Low Income Housing Coalition
The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated to achieving racially and socially equitable public policy that ensures people with the lowest incomes have quality homes that are accessible and affordable in the communities of their choice. NLIHC educates, organizes, and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing for everyone. For more information about NLIHC, please visit www.nlihc.org.
August 9, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - On August 5, Prosperity Indiana submitted the attached comments on the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) concerning the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations to federal regulators at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, informed by our statewide membership and national partners:
To Whom It May Concern:
Prosperity Indiana and our statewide network of nearly 200 community economic development organizations appreciate the opportunity to comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Community Reinvestment Act. We also respect the open approach regulators have taken the last several years, carefully considering feedback from a wide range of stakeholders, including those working on the front lines of community economic development and representing the Americans most impacted by the decisions you will be making regarding strengthening the CRA.
This is the right moment to modernize CRA for the needs of the 21st Century. At its core, the proposed CRA rule is a marked improvement over the status quo. However, the proposed rule is far from ambitious compared to the need that Prosperity Indiana and our members and partners see throughout the state and the nation...
Prosperity Indiana believes the NPR is a good start and promises to make parts of CRA exams more rigorous, but we urge the agencies to extend the rigor of the large bank lending test to the other tests. We also ask the agencies to incorporate race in CRA exams, to expand the public reporting of their data collection proposals, to bolster their assessment area proposal to make sure that smaller communities are not left out and to refrain from reducing reinvestment requirements for any segment of banks. If CRA is improved while maintaining public input and accountability, we believe the proposed rule could help reduce inequalities, disinvestment and other disadvantages in America’s overlooked communities."
Click here to read the full Prosperity Indiana comments on the proposed CRA rule.
July 28, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Indiana in 2022, full-time workers need to earn $16.97 per hour, up from $16.57 a year ago. This is Indiana’s 2022 Housing Wage, revealed in a national report published today. The report, Out of Reach, is jointly released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated to achieving affordable and decent homes for people with the lowest incomes, and Prosperity Indiana, the statewide association for community economic development.
This year, the Out of Reach report is being released amid record-high inflation and rising rental costs. These rent increases are affecting tenants nationwide, with median rents for two-bedroom apartments increasing nearly 18% between the first quarter of 2021 and the first quarter of 2022. At the same time, costs for necessities like food and transportation have also skyrocketed, leaving low-income renters with increasingly tighter budgets. With inflation breaking a 40-year record in 2022, many renters have had to make difficult decisions about their budget, sacrificing childcare, medical care, and food to maintain housing.
The new report finds that the combination of inflated costs and wages increasingly out of step with neighboring states means that housing is getting further out of reach for Hoosier renters. Despite a reputation of being a low-cost state, the housing wage in Indiana has worsened from 43rd-least affordable in the nation in 2021 to 40th in just one year. Among Midwest states, Hoosier renter wages remain consistently and increasingly behind those in the region. In 2022, the mean renter wage of $16.61 is now $1.05 an hour lower than the $17.66 mean renter wage across all Midwest states. This means Hoosier renters working full time make $2,184 less each year than the typical Midwest renter. Filling that wage gap would pay for nearly 2.5 months of the state’s fair-market rent for a two-bedroom unit at $882/month.
The report also finds that nine of Indiana’s top 20 largest occupations pay a lower median wage than a full-time Hoosier worker needs for the state’s housing wage for a modest two-bedroom apartment at the state’s fair market rent. Among the state’s top 20 largest occupations, 228,320 Hoosiers work as waiters and waitresses, fast food and counter workers, cashiers, and home health and personal care aides where the median wage is insufficient even for a one-bedroom unit. These are some of the same occupations that employers report having the hardest time keeping positions filled.
“To lighten the burden of increased housing costs, Indiana’s policymakers should support efforts to increase the supply of new housing at attainable prices for renters,” said Jessica Love, executive director for Prosperity Indiana.
“Preserving and rehabilitating aging units and enforcing habitability standards are both critical components in ensuring all Hoosiers have a decent and affordable place to live.”
The increased cost of housing is also causing inflation in the number of hours Hoosiers working minimum wage must work to afford rent. The federal minimum wage has remained at $7.25 an hour without an increase since 2009, and Indiana has remained tied to that national wage floor. In no Indiana county or metro area can a minimum-wage renter working a 40-hour workweek afford even a modest studio rental unit at the average fair market rent. Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Indiana, a Hoosier wage earner must have 1.9 full-time jobs or work 76 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment; or earn 2.3 full-time jobs or work 94 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment. To afford a two-bedroom apartment at minimum wage across all 92 Indiana counties, the estimated hours needed range from 78 to 104 hours worked per week. This means that minimum-wage Hoosier workers in Benton, St. Joseph, and Tippecanoe Counties must work longer per week (104 hours) to afford a two-bedroom unit than workers in Washington, DC (85 hours), Portland, OR (99 hours), or Los Angeles County, CA (99 hours).
“Decades of chronic underfunding for housing assistance have resulted in a housing-lottery system, where only 25 percent of eligible households receive the housing assistance they need,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “With rents rising rapidly, homelessness worsening, and millions of families struggling to stay housed, federal investments in expanding proven solutions – like Housing Choice Vouchers, the national Housing Trust Fund, and public housing – are badly needed and long overdue. As a country, we have the data, partnerships, expertise, solutions, and means to end homelessness and housing poverty – we lack only the political will to fund solutions at the scale necessary.”
For additional information, visit: http://www.nlihc.org/oor
About the National Low Income Housing Coalition
April 25, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – In a recently released report, Tenant Protections: An Impact Analysis, the Student Policy Network at the University of Notre Dame examines policies in Indiana aimed at providing additional security for tenants and the health and economic impacts of these policies. In conjunction with Prosperity Indiana and the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition, the Student Policy Network hosted an event outlining the findings of the report on April 20, 2022.
"My team, as part of the Notre Dame Student Policy Network, took a semester-long dive into the impacts of proposed tenant protections throughout Indiana. Identifying a lop-sided policy outlook in favor of landlords, we used health data, state comparisons, and advocate interviews to qualify the need for further tenant-focused legislation and recommend specific policy implementation. We hope our findings can be used by policymakers, advocates, and community developers to better understand the issues at hand in Indiana's housing market, and find equitable solutions," said Thomas Musgrave, Project Lead of the Notre Dame Student Policy Network.
According to the report, “Low-income tenants are consistently underrepresented in legislative debate; we aim to voice the concerns of these Hoosiers, while considering the effects of our proposed legislation on landlords, the state, the judiciary, and the overarching housing market.”
Analysis of recent legislation includes SB 230, enforcement of habitability standards (Sen. Fady Quaddora (D-Indianapolis) and Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus)), and HB 1214, residential eviction actions including sealing and expungement, (Rep. Ethan Manning (R-Denver), Rep. Chris Jeter (R-Fishers), Rep. Edward Clere (R-New Albany), and Rep. Vernon Smith (D-Gary)). SB230 was sent for consideration of an interim study committee while HB1214 was passed and signed into law by Governor Holcomb this session.
When compared to other states, tenants in Indiana are limited in ensuring basic habitability standards, and lack necessary legal support in fighting eviction and removing evictions from their record, which has devastating impacts on the most vulnerable Hoosiers. With adverse health effects, social immobility, cyclical poverty, and increased state costs directly associated with current tenant-landlord policies, the report advocates that changes must be made to create a safer, more equitable, and more fiscally responsible Indiana.
Read the full report here. View the presentation slides here.
View the report release event here.
About the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition
The HHNC Steering Committee is comprised of members from AARP Indiana, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP), Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Hoosier Action, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute – INCAA, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Prosperity Indiana, The Ross Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana.
April 22, 2022
INDIANAPOLIS, IN –The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, a new report released today by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) and Prosperity Indiana, finds a national shortage of seven million affordable and available rental homes for the lowest-income households. There are just 36 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 of the lowest-income renter households nationwide. Seventy-one percent of the poorest renter households are severely housing cost-burdened, spending more than half of their incomes on housing, with little left over for other basic necessities. The pandemic has only made things worse. Long-term federal investments are needed to combat this housing crisis for the lowest-income renters. Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals.
“Sadly, Indiana now has the single highest housing cost burden among all Midwest states for the lowest-income residents. Compounding this concern is the fact that our state continues to have one of the smallest rates of affordable and available rental units. This lack of affordable housing stock is putting increasing pressure on families struggling to pay their bills and move up the economic ladder,” said Prosperity Indiana Executive Director Jessica Love.
Indiana has 38 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes, tied for the fourth-lowest rate in the Midwest and 20th-lowest among all states. Facing a shortage in Indiana of 135,033 affordable and available rental homes, 72 percent of these Hoosier renters are severely housing cost-burdened, the highest rate of severe housing cost burden in the Midwest and 13th-highest in the nation.
Love said, “To relieve the pressures being caused by the state’s high housing costs and limited availability, Indiana policymakers must tackle this issue through both increased resources and better public policy. We need to see greater investment in the production of affordable housing for the Hoosiers who need it most, as well as stronger habitability standards and tenant protections to improve housing stability and affordability throughout the state.”
The shortage of affordable housing in Indiana affects rural, urban, and suburban counties alike. In no Indiana county is the supply of affordable and available units enough on average for the number of extremely low-income Hoosier households living in that county. According to the most recent HUD Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) data1, 51 of Indiana’s 92 counties have a lower rate of affordable and available units than the statewide average identified in The Gap 2022 report. These range from a high of 80 units for every 100 extremely low-income households in Crawford County to a low of only 8 units for every 100 households in need in Tipton County. Similarly, Indiana’s Midwest-leading severe housing cost burden for the lowest-income households extends throughout the state, ranging from 29 percent of extremely low-income households spending half or more of their incomes on housing in Pike County to 89 percent in Tippecanoe County.
The report shows how these lowest-income renters were uniquely positioned to suffer disproportionately from the effects of lost income and housing insecurity during the pandemic.
Although the federal government took unprecedented actions to protect the lowest-income renters, the government’s actions were temporary. Most eviction moratoriums have been lifted and resources, such as federal emergency rental assistance, are running out. Longer-term federal investments in affordable housing are needed to combat the underlying shortage of affordable housing that exposed so many of these lowest-income renters to housing instability in the first place.
“The pandemic has made plain our nation’s lack of a housing safety net,” said NLIHC President and CEO Diane Yentel. “It is time to invest in long-term housing policies that will finally address the systemic shortage of affordable housing and provide housing stability for the lowest-income families.”
NLIHC and Prosperity Indiana both advocate for the adoption of federal legislation to increase housing stability and security.
For additional information, visit: https://nlihc.org/gap
Although the 2022 session of the Indiana General Assembly was a ‘short session’ in a non-budget year lasting only nine weeks, legislation that passed (and failed) has the potential for long-lasting impact for Prosperity Indiana members and the state’s community economic development sector. PI member involvement this session helped pass legislation that will seal eviction filing records, secure $150 million in affordable housing state tax credits, and prevent the expansion of predatory small loans statewide.
Following the feedback of members who told us that the pandemic continues to disproportionately affect vulnerable Hoosiers in their communities and strain their capacity to serve them, PI sought to respond to these short-term critical needs while building resources and policy structures to strengthen Indiana’s communities in the long term. Our 2022 Policy Agenda: Rebuilding Stronger, More Equitable Indiana Communities focused on opportunities to rebuild communities through recovery efforts for the hardest-hit Hoosiers; strengthening the infrastructure of resources for the state’s community economic development sector; and permanently improving the lives of Hoosiers long neglected by public policies.
Throughout the session, Prosperity Indiana members stepped up to act on these priorities. Members took center stage when we unveiled our agenda in a live event with legislators before the session, drove hundreds of miles to participate in PI’s Statehouse Day in January and testify before committees, and made countless calls and emails to legislators over the short session to explain how PI’s priority legislation would help them serve Indiana’s communities. Here are the results of those efforts and the outcomes of the legislation most directly tied to PI’s agenda:
HB 1214: Residential eviction actions (Rep. Ethan Manning) included a provision that will seal eviction filing records when the case doesn’t go to court or is found in the tenant’s favor. This provision has been a top PI agenda item and a priority of the PI-convened Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition (HHNC) for the past two sessions. The bill also requires courts to track and compile this data and that all emergency rental assistance programs create a designated landlord application process. PI remains concerned with provisions that require all court-based eviction diversion programs to be voluntary and encourages the legislature to revisit this provision if it does not increase the uptake in such programs. The bill passed with 49-0 votes in the Senate and 91-0 in the House.
HB 1306: Housing task force (Rep. Doug Miller) named the PI-convened Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition to the newly-created Indiana Housing Task Force, which will be charged with reviewing issues related to housing and housing shortages in Indiana and issuing a report to the General Assembly and the Governor by November 1, 2022. The bill passed with 48-0 votes in the Senate and 88-2 in the House.
While SB 230: Enforcement of habitability standards (Sen. Fady Qaddoura) was not granted a hearing in the House after passing the Senate 47-1, the broad bipartisan support provides momentum for interim study of the habitability standards for residential rental units, including the issue of jurisdictional questions. Also regarding habitability enforcement, HB 1048: Sheriff's sale in mortgage foreclosure action (Rep. Sean Eberhart) passed and prevents predatory and negligent landlords, including those from out of state and out of country, from buying foreclosed property in online sheriffs’ sales. The final votes on HB 1048 were 50-0 in the Senate and 87-3 in the House.
SB 382: Various tax matters (Sen. Travis Holdman) included provisions originally in SB 262 (Sen. Travis Holdman) providing up to $30 million annually over five years in affordable and workforce housing state tax credits, for a total of up to $150 million. PI testified in favor of this provision in committee and supported the bill that has been considered in various versions since first introduced five years ago. SB 382 passed with 38-12 votes in the Senate and 66-32 in the House.
The provisions of SB 292: Land banks (Sen. Tim Lanane) that would have required counties to provide a list of eligible properties to land banks, as well as an optional transfer of those properties, were added to SB 62: Sale of tax sale properties to nonprofits (Sen. Michael Young) during conference committee in the last week of session. However, due to disagreements in caucus that were not made public, SB 292 language was stripped out of the conference committee report, and SB 62 passed without them. The final votes on SB 62 were 50-0 in the Senate and 91-2 in the House. Despite this setback, look for broader recommendations from PI’s Land Bank Incubator Scholarship team to be introduced next session.
Despite broad bipartisan support, committees did not hear HB 1159 (Rep. Carey Hamilton) or SB 253 (Sen. Ron Alting) ‘Small loan finance charges’ that would have capped payday APRs at 36%. However, Hoosier consumers were protected from an expansion of predatory lending when the House refused to hear SB 352: Supervised consumer loans after it passed the Senate by a narrow margin. As the PI co-convened Hoosiers for Responsible Lending (HRL) stated, SB 352 would have “drastically change[d] subprime, high-cost installment lending across Indiana by increasing the finance charges and fees, compared to current law, [allowing] lenders to aggressively push borrowers to refinance these installment loans as often as possible.” Prosperity Indiana and HRL are committed to working with legislators before next session on solutions and alternatives that provide equitable and responsible access to credit.
Beyond these agenda priority bills, Prosperity Indiana tracks a wide array of legislation impacting the community economic development sector. See the final outcomes for all of the bills we tracked during the 2022 session:
Thanks again to all Prosperity Indiana members and coalition partners who advocated for our priorities this session and helped secure several key victories that will have a positive impact for Indiana’s communities over the long term. If you are new to PI, please sign up for email and action alerts to keep up to date with policy and advocacy efforts throughout the year.
Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Prosperity Indiana applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for voting today to approve the Build Back Better Act, a $1.75 trillion economic recovery package that includes historic investments in community economic development. With today’s vote, Congress is one step closer to enacting this legislation critical for an equitable recovery for Indiana’s communities. Of Indiana’s House Delegation, Representatives André D. Carson (D-IN-7) and Frank J. Mrvan (D-IN-1) joined the majority in voting for the bill, which next heads to the Senate for final approval.
“Prosperity Indiana thanks Rep. Mrvan and Rep. Carson for voting to approve the historic investments in affordable housing and community economic development in the Build Back Better Act,” said Executive Director Jessica Love. “These investments will help strengthen Indiana’s communities by making housing more stable, affordable, and available, and reinforcing an equitable recovery by increasing economic opportunities for low-income Hoosiers as well.”
The legislation includes robust funding for the Opportunity Starts at Home-Indiana campaign’s top priorities: $25 billion to expand rental assistance to over 300,000 households; $65 billion to preserve the nation’s deteriorating public housing infrastructure; and $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 affordable, accessible homes for households with the lowest incomes.
In addition, the Build Back Better Act passed by the House includes key investments to expand the stock of affordable housing, increase homeownership, and make housing more fair and affordable, including: $10 billion for the HOME Investment Partnership Program First-Generation Downpayment Assistance, $750 million in new funding for the Housing Investment Fund, part of the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund to provide competitive grants to CDFIs and nonprofit developers. The legislation also supports low income housing tax credits through $740 million in grants to nonprofits to develop, preserve, or rehabilitate housing; $1.2 billion for Section 24 grants to improve affordable housing units’ health, safety, climate, and disaster resilience; $1.7 billion to increase the energy efficiency of units; and $1.5 billion to keep at-risk projects viable. The bill also includes the provisions of the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, originally co-authored by Senator Todd Young (R-IN).
The Build Back Better Act also advances community economic development for Indiana with investments that increase asset-building, shrink wealth gaps, and expand equitable economic opportunities. This includes expanding the Child Tax Credit to more than 35 million households nationwide, expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit for 17 million low-wage workers, and helping Hoosier families meet everyday challenges through increased childcare and universal pre-K, making college more affordable, and increasing paid leave.
Love said, “Prosperity Indiana urges Indiana’s Senators to do everything in their power to ensure these vital affordable housing and community economic development investments are promptly passed by the Senate, so that they can quickly help strengthen Indiana’s communities and improve Hoosiers’ lives.”
Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private and nonprofit sectors.
For Immediate Release
November 18, 2021
Contact: Natalie James, (317) 222-1221 ext.406, email@example.com
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Hoosiers for Responsible Lending applauds the introduction of the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act of 2021 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation would extend the 36 percent APR interest rate cap on payday and car title loans in the Military Lending Act (MLA) to cover all citizens.
The bipartisan House bill was introduced on November 17 and would achieve a major policy goal of Hoosiers for Responsible Lending. Among those who introduced the bill, Representative André Carson is an original sponsor for the Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act.
“We thank Congressman Carson for supporting this bipartisan legislation that takes an important step toward eliminating predatory lending in Indiana and across the country,” said Andy Nielsen, Senior Policy Analyst with the Indiana Institute for Working Families and HRL member. “High-cost lending in our state traps Hoosiers in a cycle of debt that many struggle to leave, jeopardizing the economic security of individuals and families and the health of our communities. Congress already recognized the need to enact strong interest rate caps that protect our active duty military, and this protection must be extended to all consumers.”
View the entire press release here.