FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 18, 2021
CONTACT: Andrew Bradley, Policy Director, Prosperity Indiana, email@example.com
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 nearly seven million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income (ELI) renter households, those with incomes at or below the poverty level or 30 percent of their area median income. There are just 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 ELI renter households nationwide. Seventy 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 report shows that, even before COVID-19 devastated many low-income households, they were already struggling to afford their rent. Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals.
“While Indiana likes to tout being an affordable place to live, I think two questions need to be asked: for whom and compared to what? In looking at the data, what we see is how Indiana continues to fail our lowest-income renters, especially when compared to our peers. Only one Midwest state is less affordable than Indiana,” said Jessica Love, executive director of Prosperity Indiana.
In Indiana, only 75,219 affordable rental homes are available for the 202,171 extremely low-income Hoosier households. That means there are only 37 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 households with extremely low incomes, tied for the second-lowest rate among 12 Midwest states. Approximately 72 percent of Hoosier renters with extremely low incomes are severely cost burdened and at risk of homelessness, which is the second-highest rate in the Midwest.
According to NLIHC and Prosperity Indiana, without public subsidies, the private market does not provide an adequate supply of rental housing affordable to low-income households. Both groups note that, even if rents fall during an economic downturn, they will not fall sufficiently to provide extremely low-income renters with an adequate supply of affordable housing. They say a downturn often leads to property owners abandoning rental housing or converting it to other uses when rental income is too low to cover basic operating costs and maintenance, making the housing affordability crisis worse.
Love said, “What this new data says about Hoosiers is that our most vulnerable families remain at risk of housing instability, which impacts job stability, and now also public health, and threatens the state's economic recovery. We need our Congressional delegation to step up as champions for policies that help these Hoosiers experience housing affordability, not just short-term housing stability as part of an immediate rescue plan, but looking beyond the pandemic to real and lasting solutions.”
Both NLIHC and Prosperity Indiana advocate for increased production and preservation of affordable rental housing, an increase in rental assistance resources for lowest income households, a stabilization fund to prevent evictions, and stronger legal protections for renters.
For additional information, visit: https://nlihc.org/gap
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 has grown to nearly 200 members from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.
By Natalie James, Coalition Builder
On Wednesday, March 10, 2021, Jacob Sipe, Executive Director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, announced that the State of Indiana’s portal for emergency rental and utility assistance is now open at IndianaHousingNow.org. The Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance program (IERA) will provide rent and utility assistance to eligible Hoosier families using $372 million of $448 million allocated to Indiana from Congressional COVID-19 relief passed by Congress in December 2020. The remaining $76 million will be administered by six city and county-based programs (see below).
One of the biggest questions is: who qualifies for rental assistance from the IERA? An eligible household under the IERA as defined by the U.S. Treasury includes renter households in which one or more people: qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; has a household income at or below 80% of area median income (two-person household: $46,250; four-person household: $57,850; six-person household: $67,100).
This program is designed to assist households that are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible renter households can receive up to 12 months of rental assistance and utility/home energy assistance. This includes a combination of past due rent incurred since April 1, 2020, and future months of rental assistance. The person filling out the application will be considered the head of household.
Utility assistance is also available for those eligible for the IERA program. As long as the utility is in the name of one of the tenants listed on the lease and the utility is not paid as part of the monthly rental payment, the applicant may receive utility assistance. Internet assistance is also available, with additional eligibility requirements outlined in the application.
Renters, housing providers, and community-based organizations can find more information at IndianaHousingNow.org in English and Spanish, including application materials, frequently asked questions, and assistance examples. The site also links to other resources for foreclosure prevention and consumer protection, home repair or modification, senior housing, housing for persons with disabilities, shelters, and fair housing.
Renter applicants must meet all of the above requirements in order to be considered for rental assistance. While landlord participation is not required in order for a renter to receive assistance, IHCDA will attempt to work with landlords to verify amounts due and to issue payments. For more information, visit the application portal. For assistance submitting the application call 211.
In addition to IERA, six Indiana cities and counties have received funding and will administer separate programs. These six areas include Elkhart County, Marion County, Hamilton County, St. Joseph County, City of Fort Wayne, and Lake County. Renter households living in these six areas MUST apply through their LOCAL PROGRAM and are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply for the IERA program administered by IHCDA.
State of Indiana: IndianaHousingNow.org or call 211
Elkhart County: www.elkhartcounty.com/rentalassistance
Marion County: www.indyrent.org
Hamilton County: www.HCTAIndiana.com
St. Joseph County: www.sjcindiana.com
City of Fort Wayne: www.fwcares.org
Lake County: www.LakeCountyIN.care
The state program, through IHCDA, will cover all areas in the state that do not have a local government receiving separate funds to distribute rental assistance.
Prosperity Indiana submitted comments on Indiana's 2022 Draft Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP). In the comments, we expressed appreciation for the complex task of balancing our state’s substantial affordable housing needs in setting the priorities through the QAP. To inform our response, Prosperity Indiana consulted our membership, inviting members to attend the virtual hearing for this draft plan and to provide feedback through an online member meeting and over email. PI's comments represent the feedback we received from our membership of community development practitioners.
We appreciate that the current draft 2022 QAP addresses some of the preferences and concerns expressed by our membership regarding prior plans. This includes recurring feedback that there were so many set-asides, too few credits were awarded under critical categories, meaning high scoring projects were not funded. In the past, we have recommended eliminating, combining, or reducing points for some of the categories, which has been acknowledged by the elimination of the Stellar and Workforce Housing categories.
We also appreciate the circumstances of this one-year plan being drafted as IHCDA also grapples with the housing and community development needs brought on by an ongoing pandemic. Many of our members are on the front lines of COVID-19 response and recovery, and some who would typically be active in this process are preoccupied by ensuring basic needs are met in their communities. Given that, we affirm holding off on multi-year planning efforts when an issue with longer-term ramifications can be addressed at a later time.
Throughout this process, some clear themes emerged regarding the current QAP, even though our membership and the populations and geographies served are diverse. Far and away, we received the most feedback on the proposed penalty for filing for a qualified contract release. In the interest of partnership and working towards shared community development goals, we are providing those themes – as well as some of the more technical suggestions – from member responses to address concerns from members as you continue work on the 2022 QAP draft. These responses are not necessarily presented verbatim but represent the spectrum of perspectives we received.
Please click here to see PI's full comments on the draft 2022 QAP.
February 17, 2021
CONTACT: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403| firstname.lastname@example.org
Housing coalition: General Assembly leadership must bring solutions to the table to fix newly-enacted SEA 148
INDIANAPOLIS – The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition is disappointed that the General Assembly has completed the override of Governor Holcomb’s veto of SEA 148 without input from stakeholders who advocate on behalf of the 30% of Hoosiers who rent their homes and without a plan to mitigate the immediate and long-term damage it will create. The Coalition urges the General Assembly to use its remaining time this session to implement common-sense solutions that have been left out of the discussion to date.
Throughout SEA 148’s 11-month ordeal, the process for creating language that would affect approximately 2 million renters was never open to their contributions. No stakeholders that represent the interests of tenants or their communities was allowed to be party to the original language of SEA 148 or the two ‘trailer bills’ which, despite claims to the contrary, leave the new law overly broad and unbalanced in scope and now made law at exactly the wrong time.
In the short term, SEA 148 becomes effective immediately and will allow seven new forms of expedited evictions in the middle of a glacial winter and an ongoing deadly pandemic. SEA 148 specifies that landlords may now use emergency possessory actions (evicting tenants in three days), not just for destroying property. In fact, reporting code violations is now a legitimate reason for a three-day eviction.
We now know that every new eviction spreads COVID-19 wherever it happens: in rural, suburban, or urban communities, wherever evicted families are forced to double up in others’ homes or sleep in overburdened congregate housing like homeless shelters. And due to holes in the CDC’s eviction moratorium, 900 Hoosier households are already being evicted each week.
In the long term, SEA 148 locks the full state into the lowest common denominator of housing standards and tenant protections. Starting today, the new law voids substantial portions of local ordinances enacted to reduce evictions, promote housing stability, and enable better enforcement of housing codes to improve housing conditions. It also replaces local anti-retaliation ordinances and codifies loopholes in anti-retaliation protections.
In addition to these damages to Hoosiers’ public health and tenant rights, the Coalition agrees with the 65 Indiana business and community leaders who wrote “overriding the governor’s veto of legislation overturning local ordinances on renter-landlord relations [undermines] reasonable housing close to employment centers [and keeps] more residents away from work and living in poverty." With SEA 148 taking away tenant protections and employment opportunities throughout Indiana, it is our local economies and service providers who will bear the brunt, decreasing from their capacity to help Indiana recover from the pandemic and rebuild economic growth.
To remedy the negative impacts that will be felt by Hoosier renters as a result of this law, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition has developed a list of simple fixes that would address flaws in the new law regarding expedited evictions and loopholes in retaliatory protections and would allow those who slip through the cracks to regain stable housing.
“It is now on the General Assembly to address these issues before the end of this legislative session,” said Jessica Love, executive director of Prosperity Indiana and HHNC member.
“We are prepared to offer our recommendations for a more balanced law. The solutions are at the ready. Now it’s time to see leadership bring those solutions to the table.”
About the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition:
Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition (HHNC) was formed by members of Indiana’s housing security advocacy community in April 2020 to support advocacy and education related to housing and homelessness prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staffed by Prosperity Indiana through advocacy and coalition building grants from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, HHNC convenes partners from across Indiana to advocate for immediate, medium- and long-term housing stability policy solutions and conduct education and research to achieve federal, state, and local policies for an equitable response and recovery to the pandemic and beyond.
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, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Institute for Working Families – INCAA, Prosperity Indiana, and The Ross Foundation.
Prosperity Indiana submitted comments regarding the Federal Reserve Board’s (Fed) Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) on the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). We believe the Fed’s approach is a good first step to improve upon the current CRA exam, in contrast to the Office of Comptroller’s final rule. However, we join our state and national partners in calling for more rigor in performance measures in order to ensure that CRA ratings will not be as inflated as they are today. More rigor is key to ensuring that CRA exams leverage more lending, investing and services for communities of color and low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities.
Prosperity Indiana is a network of nearly 200 organizations and individuals committed to advancing community economic development statewide. The focus of our efforts is to ensure everyone can enjoy equal economic and social opportunities and live in thriving communities. In carrying out this work, we know how critical CRA is to ensuring that areas and/or projects that would not otherwise receive investment can secure critical capital from banks through loans and investments for affordable housing and economic development. These investments and credit services spark neighborhood revitalization and help more Hoosiers achieve and maintain economic success.
Increased intentionality around meeting the purposes of CRA is critical, in light of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on people on color and LMI households and those that serve them. Prosperity Indiana offers these comments as the cross-sector intermediary for organizations dedicated to community economic development, which means our members are the people and organizations on the front lines fighting COVID-19. Our members and the populations and communities they serve statewide have borne the brunt of the pandemic, resulting in stresses on capacity and finances. Three-quarters of our members report having six months or less cash reserve on hand; and the great majority have been forced to cancel programs or events and experienced disrupted services, even while seeing an increased demand for services and assistance. In May 2020, 82% anticipated a future decrease in revenue, and 94% anticipated a moderate to high impact on their programs, services, and general operation.
And while many of our nearly 200 members are deeply engaged in the community economic development work affected by the CRA and the proposed changes in the ANPR, few have the capacity during the ongoing emergency of COVID-19 to respond to the 99 questions involved. In order for our members to continue to respond, recover, and rebuild from COVID-19, they need a robust CRA that does not hinder services to communities of color and low- and moderate-income communities.
What’s at stake in Indiana?
Every community has a stake in strengthening the CRA, from Indiana’s small towns to growing suburban areas to the core urban areas. This is true from Angola, which saw $130.3 million in mortgages or loans to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods from 2009 through 2018, $0 in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and $97.2 million in loans to small businesses, to Warsaw with $277 million in mortgages to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods, $36.1 million in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and $271.4 million in loans to small businesses. And in our state’s largest metro area of Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, which itself spans a large city, a wealthy suburb, and a former industrial center now facing challenges, mortgages to LMI borrowers or neighborhoods totaled $14.2 billion from 2009 through 2018, with $3.9 billion in business loans to LMI neighborhoods, and nearly $4 billion in loans to small business. Indiana’s communities from smallest to largest can’t risk a weakening of the CRA that would allow an increase in discrimination in lending.
Strengthening CRA is a critical component of a just recovery
Indiana communities who have been hardest-hit and are still battling the public health, economic, and housing impacts of COVID-19 are the same who carry the scars of redlining. The National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) recently released a major report finding significant correlations between redlining and susceptibility to COVID, including Evansville, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Gary and Lake County, Muncie, South Bend, and Terre Haute. In the 1930s, the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) commissioned the production of maps that rated neighborhoods based on the risk of lending in them. Working class and minority neighborhoods usually received the riskiest designation of hazardous. The designations subsequently facilitated redlining and discrimination against these neighborhoods, which remain starved of credit and are predominantly lower-income and minority. These neighborhoods also have the highest incidence of health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, kidney disease and stroke, which make residents more susceptible to COVID-19. Life expectancy is almost four years lower in the redlined communities than the neighborhoods not designated as hazardous by HOLC.
In Indiana, the pandemic has disproportionately affected communities of color in additional ways. For example, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Unemployment Claims Monitor, Black Hoosiers have filed one in five unemployment insurance claims throughout the pandemic, although they make up only 9.4% of the labor force, according to 2019 data.
While we have not seen state-level data about Indiana’s Black-owned businesses, reports from the experiences of our members throughout the state align with nationwide trends showing a disproportionate impact on these businesses. Since the start of the pandemic, more than 440,000 African American businesses (41%) have been closed nationwide, compared to just 17% of White-owned small businesses. Discrimination in lending contributes significantly to racial disparities in small business survival rates. An NCRC investigation found that African American testers applying for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for their small businesses during the pandemic were likely to receive less information or encouragement to apply than White testers. We do not need state-level data to confirm the impact, and we cannot afford to see the CRA watered down in the meantime. CRA must be strengthened considerably in order to combat discrimination and help our communities recover from the pandemic.
Read Prosperity Indiana's full comments to the Fed's ANPR on the CRA.
By Laura Berry and Andrew Bradley
On October 13, Indiana reopened its Rental Assistance Portal for the first time since closing on August 26. While the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition applauds this needed step, the restrictions now attached to the portal funds will likely mean that very few of the nearly quarter million Hoosier households at threat of eviction will be helped. The Coalition renews its calls for Governor Holcomb to create a coordinated COVID-19 Housing Stability Policy Plan and leverage some of over $1 billion in CARES Act funds still sitting on the table to ensure no Hoosier is evicted or made homeless due to the pandemic.
Read the entire blog post here.
Prosperity Indiana has submitted comments to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority on proposed use of Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Round 2 from the CARES Act. The letter states "[i]n large part, our comments today do not object to the proposed new activities in the amendment, but instead demonstrate our concern about the continuing missed opportunities of the State of Indiana not providing a coordinated COVID-19 housing stability policy response that aligns ESG-CV alongside current and newly-available CARES Act funds."
The comment period coincides with an announcement from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of new allocations totaling over $27.3M in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to Indiana and its cities with explicit guidance that "funds can be used to provide temporary financial assistance to meet rental obligations for up to 6 months".
The comments state: "[f]or the proposed ESG plan to make a meaningful impact on the scope of Indiana’s housing stability crisis, the state must act quickly to incorporate both the ESG-CV2 and CDBG-CV3, as well as other remaining CARES Act funds to re-open the Rental Assistance Program well before the end of the CDC’s moratorium."
The comments reiterate calls on the state to provide a coordinated COVID-19 Housing Stability policy response, with a Task Force comprised of landlords, tenants, and experts in the connections between public health and housing; as well as a dashboard on the state's COVID-19 website with data on evictions and outcomes of rental assistance programs.
Read Prosperity Indiana's full comments here.
Dear Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition partners and friends,
We’re happy to write today with information about the new federal CDC eviction moratorium, and to provide an updated flyer from our partners at Prosperity Indiana.
From the National Low Income Housing Coalition:
A federal eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) takes effect today, September 4, extending vital protections to tens of millions of renters at risk of eviction for nonpayment of rent during the global pandemic.
To be protected, qualified renters facing eviction should immediately provide a signed declaration to their landlords. For more details about the moratorium and a sample declaration that renters can use, read NLIHC’s and NHLP’s Overview of National Eviction Moratorium and our National Eviction Moratorium: FAQ for Renters.
From Prosperity Indiana:
Please share this updated Federal Eviction Moratorium flyer that outlines qualifications and procedures, and provides links to additional resources for renters.
See also Indiana Legal Services, Inc.'s COVID-19: New Federal Eviction Moratorium page
From the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition:
The new CDC moratorium is an important step for up to 313,000 Hoosier households at risk of eviction and homelessness due to the pandemic, but more needs to be done. Because the moratorium provides no additional rent assistance, it’s critical that Indiana’s Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun champion $100B in rent assistance and homelessness prevention resources in the next coronavirus relief bill to meet Hoosiers’ needs.
The CDC has clearly established that housing is public health, and Indiana’s policymakers must recognize that housing stability needs to be a top priority in 2021. The new moratorium does not eliminate Indiana’s housing stability crisis, but simply delays the waves of evictions that will resume after December 31. To avoid unleashing a built-up tsunami of evictions in the dead of winter, Indiana’s policymakers must act during this moratorium, and should start by considering HHNC’s recommendations for a Housing Stability Policy Plan, including:
Take Action: tell Indiana’s policymakers and Senators to prioritize housing stability now!
On September 3, Prosperity Indiana submitted comments on behalf of our network opposing the federal Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s proposal “National Banks and Federal Savings Associations as Lenders” or "Rent-a-Bank Rule", and offering recommendations to instead strengthen our communities.
In our letter, Prosperity Indiana made the following arguments opposing the 'Rent-a-Bank Rule':
Read Prosperity Indiana's Comments on National Banks and Federal Savings Associations as Lenders Docket ID: OCC-2020-0026 RIN 1557-AE97.
INDIANAPOLIS – The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition is urging Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to ensure a waitlist and additional resources are made available before closing the state’s COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program Wednesday. More than 200,000 additional Hoosiers are expected to need pandemic-related rental assistance than will be provided through resources that are currently available through state and local government programs. The Coalition also calls on Indiana’s state and federal policymakers to come together to take critical steps to provide protections for renters to prevent the flood of evictions – that started with the end of the state’s moratorium August 14 – from deluging the state.
The Coalition issued an action alert stating concern that closing the rental assistance portal without a waiting list would leave renters in the dark with no way to document their request for assistance if an eviction case is filed against them. It also leaves the state no queue of assistance requests in the case that the program receives additional funds.
“The problem of evictions and housing instability isn’t going to disappear with the premature closure of the state’s rental assistance portal – quite the opposite will occur,” said Jessica Love, Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana. “A waiting list is the least the State of Indiana can do to demonstrate that it hasn’t turned its back on hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers who will continue to need emergency rental assistance as the impacts of the COVID-19 economic downturn continue to ramp up. A waiting list application confirmation could at least show due diligence for the renter attempting to work with their landlord but with limited resources to pay.”
As an example, the Coalition points to the waiting list used by the City of Indianapolis at IndyRent.org (the city’s rental assistance program portal), which will allow the city to contact tenants in the order they appear and invite them to apply once new funds become available. The state could use a similar waiting list to reactivate the state portal as funds are made available from over $1B currently available in CARES Act resources, or from any future coronavirus related funds passed by Congress.
“Working with the City of Indianapolis, I’m optimistic that they have found ways to work with partners on the ground to help make sure the Black and brown residents most impacted by COVID-19 receive rental assistance,” said Derris Ross, CEO/Founder of The Ross Foundation and the Indianapolis Tenants Rights Union. “Indiana needs a more tactical and intentional statewide plan to ensure an equitable housing recovery that reaches all Hoosiers no matter the color of their skin or their ZIP code.”
The Coalition sees the move to close the state’s rental assistance program without a waiting list as inconsistent with the facts on the ground of more than 30,000 applications to the program during its six-week run, compared to the approximately 25,000 households the program will serve (at $2,000 per household) through the $40 million in Coronavirus Relief Funds appropriated by the state. In sharper contrast, estimates indicate that up to 313,000 Hoosier households are at risk of eviction before the end of the year, part of multiple waves of evictions anticipated to last into 2021.
The Coalition reiterates its call for a coordinated statewide Housing Stability policy response to COVID-19, including a Governor-appointed Task Force representing the needs of landlords, tenants, and experts in housing and public health, as well as a Housing Security Dashboard on the state’s coronavirus web site to track eviction data and rent assistance outcomes. The Coalition has also called for a state Court Order to uniformly implement recommendations from the Supreme Court’s Landlord-Tenant taskforce. The Coalition also continues to call on Indiana’s Senators to follow the lead of the House in passing $100B in emergency rental assistance that would meet the estimated need in Indiana and nationwide.
“While the Senate hasn’t yet come through with the resources Indiana needs to serve all COVID-19 impacted renter households, that’s no excuse for the state to shut down its rental assistance program,” said Jessica Fraser, Director of the Indiana Institute for Working Families. “We’ve noticed that Indiana’s Senators have yet to stand up as champions for Hoosiers’ housing stability in negotiations for the next coronavirus package, and we see the impact that’s having here at home. Hopefully the state won’t give up on Hoosier renters before the Senate finishes the job in front of them.”
The Coalition asks Hoosiers to contact their policymakers by responding to the “Don't End Indiana's Emergency Rental Assistance Program!” Action Alert located at Prosperity Indiana’s online Advocacy Action Center. Organizations and individuals who wish to join the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition and receive updates should also email email@example.com.