Policy News

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  • 08 Feb 2024 1:00 PM | Daniel Stroud (Administrator)

    In Light of Lack of Legislative Progress, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition Calls for Creation of Commission on Housing Affordability & Stability

    INDIANAPOLIS, IN – Following the failure of several bipartisan pieces of legislation that would have improved enforcement of habitability standards in Indiana, and in light of other legislation that would have undermined successful approaches to reducing homelessness, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition is calling on Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb to appoint a Commission on Housing Affordability and Stability to advance practical solutions to these critical challenges.

    Despite bipartisan legislation introduced in each of the last three sessions that would strengthen habitability standards and address Indiana’s short supply of safe, stable, affordable, and accessible housing, no such legislation has been moved out of committee in three years running. And even though the legislature’s Housing Task Force included a recommendation in their 2022 final report to “Support addressing substandard housing”, the General Assembly has not made significant progress to remedy Indiana’s lack of enforcement of housing health and safety laws.

    In fact, Indiana is one of only six states that does not enforce housing health and safety laws, which contributes to the state having a rate of affordable and available rental housing that is below the Midwest average for the most vulnerable residents, a rate of severe housing cost burden that is higher than the Midwest average, and has one of the highest eviction filing rates in the nation.

    This session, SB 277, authored by Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) and Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) and co-authored by Sen. Ron Alting (R-Lafayette), Sen. Vaneta Becker (R-Evansville), Sen. Rick Niemeyer (R-Lowell), and Sen. Shelli Yoder (D-Bloomington) would have defined for the first time in Indiana essential services that landlords must maintain under existing laws, including electricity, gas, heat, water, and locking doors and windows. The bill would have provided courts and local governments with mechanisms to deal with landlords who fail to maintain those essential services for tenants who have fulfilled their own lease requirements and are current on rent, including the ability to put those properties into receivership. Importantly, SB 277 would also have enabled judges to allow tenants to put rent into an escrow account with the court clerk, to be released to the landlord when the judge is satisfied the essential services have been restored. But despite the wide bipartisan support for these common-sense solutions, and although the bill authors solicited input from major housing industry stakeholders as well as HHNC and other housing stability advocates, Senate Local Government Committee’s Chairman Senator Jim Buck did not allow SB 277 to be heard.

    Also this session, SB 243, authored by Sen. Andrea Hunley (D-Indianapolis) and Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) would have provided Marion County with the jurisdiction needed to continue to pursue violations of health codes after a tenant has left a rental unit. HHNC members testified encouraging the Senate Judiciary Committee to move the bill forward so that it could be expanded to apply statewide and strengthened to ensure units that fail inspection can’t be re-rented until the health and safety issues have been rectified. However, disagreements on the committee about the scope and necessity of the bill resulted in a 5-5 vote that prevented SB 243 from moving forward in the legislative process.

    And notwithstanding the dozens of meetings with members of these committees, in addition to hundreds of calls and messages from HHNC members from all over the state to their legislators, neither SB 277 nor SB 243 will advance into the second half of the legislative session. The lack of progress on critical habitability enforcement legislation reveals that the General Assembly still does not understand the depth of Indiana’s housing stability and affordability crisis.

    While HHNC is frustrated by the failure of the General Assembly to advance tenant protection legislation, the Coalition is thankful that a bill that would have undermined critical resources to address homelessness died without a hearing in the first half of the session. HB 1413 bore telltale similarities to cookie-cutter legislation pushed by national interest groups that would force the state to abandon proven Housing First homelessness prevention services and funds. The bill would also have required a redirection of state resources away from proven strategies and funneled those funds into homeless encampments and punitive interventions that offer no guarantee of services or pathways to permanent housing. The bill also would have punished local governments who did not likewise criminalize homelessness.

    HHNC applauds HB 1413’s author Rep. Michelle Davis (R-Greenwood) for recognizing the fundamentally flawed and financially irresponsible assumptions of the out-of-state groups pushing this legislation, and for asking that the bill not be given a hearing. We thank Rep. Davis for taking the time to talk with HHNC members and Indiana’s community service providers who successfully use the evidence-based Housing First approach every day, and for her willingness to continue to collaborate with these stakeholders who are working to provide long-term solutions for all Hoosiers to have safe, stable places to live. At a time when many Hoosiers struggle to find affordable housing, the last thing communities need is out-of-touch model legislation that would waste state funding on strategies that push more vulnerable Hoosiers off the road to long-term housing stability. Instead, Indiana should increase the state’s Housing First appropriation and provide tenants with access to housing assistance, and voluntary, flexible, and responsive community support services to maximize self-sufficiency.

    To create more pathways to achieve and sustain homeownership and stable housing, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition included in our 2024 policy priorities a call for Governor Holcomb to appoint a commission to identify solutions for the state’s housing and homelessness issues that remain unaddressed by the General Assembly. A ‘Commission on Housing Affordability and Stability’ modeled in structure after the successful Commission on Improving the Status of Children would include expert participants who can represent the communities who work most closely with the state’s housing issues and break the stalemate of the General Assembly. By including not only state legislators, officers, agencies, and courts but also necessary voices from local government, community service providers, housing providers, and residents who bear the greatest brunt of the state’s housing affordability and stability crisis, the Commission will be well-positioned to leverage existing resources, advance practical solutions that do not require legislation, and provide recommendations for necessary changes at the administrative, legislative, and judicial levels of state and local government.

    Stable and affordable housing is a necessary foundation from which to promote health, attract investment, and build a prosperous state for all Hoosiers to live in. Faced with the state’s growing shortage of safe, stable, affordable, and accessible housing without legislative solutions for years on end, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition urges Governor Holcomb to appoint a Commission on Housing Affordability and Stability without delay.

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    The 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.

    Staffed by Prosperity Indiana, HHNC convenes partners from across Indiana to provide education and advocacy to achieve equitable federal, state, and local policies for housing stability and affordability solutions. HHNC also has a guiding body called the Steering Committee. Members of the HHNC Steering Committee are leaders in the Indiana housing advocacy and education space.

    Visit HHNC online at https://www.prosperityindiana.org/HHNC

    CONTACT: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403| abradley@prosperityindiana.org

  • 10 Jan 2024 6:58 PM | Daniel Stroud (Administrator)

    On January 10, 2024, Andrew Bradley, Policy Director at Prosperity Indiana, testified before the State and Local Tax Review Task Force of the Indiana General Assembly. During his presentation, Bradley highlighted Prosperity Indiana's tax policy priorities.

    He also shared the insights from the Indiana edition of the 'Who Pays?' 2024 report, a collaborative effort with Prosperity Indiana by ITEP.

    Review the presentation content here:

    Prosperity Indiana written testimony for the State & Local Tax Review Task Force January 10, 2024

    Prosperity Indiana presentation to the State & Local Tax Review Task Force January 10, 2024


  • 09 Jan 2024 5:00 AM | Daniel Stroud (Administrator)

    Proposal to Eliminate Income Tax Would Worsen Regressivity

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  January 9, 2024  Indiana’s tax system is upside-down, with the wealthy paying a far lesser share of their income to tax than low- and middle-income families. And eliminating the state income tax would widen this disparity. That’s according to the latest edition of the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy’s Who Pays?, the only distributional analysis of tax systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, co-released for Indiana by Prosperity Indiana, the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute, the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network, and the Indiana Coalition for Human Services.

    This regressivity in Indiana’s tax code is largely driven by heavy reliance on sales, excise, and property taxes that put a disproportionately large burden on low- and middle-income Hoosiers, combined with a flat income tax structure and relatively few tax credits to lessen the lopsided effect on the lowest-earning households. Lawmakers could help fix this imbalance by: 

    •  strengthening Indiana’s existing Earned Income Tax Credit;  

    • introducing features to lessen the burden on the most vulnerable households, including a Child Tax Credit and a property tax ‘circuit breaker’ credit for low-income taxpayers; and  

    • reversing previous policies (and avoid future choices) that have made Indiana’s state and local tax system the 14th-most regressive in the nation and 3rd-most regressive in the Midwest.

    “This new edition of ‘Who Pays?’ comes at a key moment when Indiana policymakers are considering sweeping changes to the state’s tax system,” said Andrew Bradley, Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana and Board President of the Indiana Coalition for Human Services. “The state partners who have co-released this report share a similar vision of an Indiana where all Hoosiers have equitable access to economic and social opportunity and work every day to empower Hoosiers striving to reach their full potential. All state partners have included improving the equity of Indiana’s tax system in their 2024 policy agendas. Unfortunately, ‘Who Pays?’ makes it clear that Indiana’s current tax system acts as a barrier to economic opportunity for the low- and middle-income Hoosiers who bear the brunt of Indiana’s tax code, which is the 3rd-most regressive in the Midwest, and puts the 2nd-highest tax burden on the lowest earners in the region,” Bradley said. “To reverse Indiana’s regressive path, policymakers should:  

    • first, do no harm by avoiding new regressive features or limits on ability to raise state and local revenue needed for community economic development and essential human services;  

    • consult with those who work closest with the Hoosiers most burdened by the current upside-down state and local tax structure (such as the state partners co-releasing this report); and finally, 

    • act to address regressive tax features identified in ‘Who Pays?’ (i.e. Indiana’s lack of a Child Tax Credit and property tax circuit breaker for low-income taxpayers) and re-imagine how Indiana’s tax and budget structure can work together to unlock the potential of all Hoosiers by fully funding needed services.”

    "Everyone should contribute their fair share to ensure that we can invest in things like driveable roads, quality schools, and effective police and fire services – the things we need to prosper. When those who make the most pay the least, our tax code contributes to the financial hardships that hold Hoosiers back and shortchanges our potential to build thriving communities,” said Erin Macey, PhD, Director of the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute and Co-Chair of the Indiana Assets and Opportunity Network. “Let’s close loopholes and make our tax code more just so we can all have the quality of life we deserve.”

    The report’s key findings for Indiana:

    • The lowest-income 20 percent of taxpayers face a state and local tax rate that is 115 percent higher than the top 1 percent of households. The average effective state and local tax rate is 13.3 percent for the lowest-income 20 percent of individuals and families, 10.4 percent for the middle 20 percent, and 6.2 percent for the top 1 percent. 

    • Indiana has the 14th most regressive tax system in the nation, and 3rd most-regressive in the Midwest. 

    • Indiana has the 5th-highest effective tax rate paid by the lowest-income 20 percent of earners, and 2nd highest in the Midwest. 

    • Indiana is one of 42 states that tax the top 1 percent less than every other income group, and one of 35 states that tax their poorest residents at a higher rate than any other group. 

    • Eliminating the state income tax would exacerbate this inequity, making the state drop to the 9th most regressive. Under this scenario, the lowest-income 20 percent of taxpayers would face a state and local tax rate that is 213 percent higher than the top 1 percent of households.

    Nationally, tax systems in 44 states exacerbate inequality by making incomes more unequal after collecting state and local taxes, while systems in six states plus D.C. reduce inequality, the report finds. On average across the country, the lowest-income 20 percent of taxpayers face a state and local tax rate nearly 60 percent higher than the top 1 percent of households. The nationwide average effective state and local tax rate is 11.3 percent for the lowest-income 20 percent of individuals and families, 10.5 percent for the middle 20 percent, and 7.2 percent for the top 1 percent. 

    “When you ask people what they think a fair tax code looks like, almost nobody says we should have the richest pay the least. And yet when we look around the country, the vast majority of states have tax systems that do just that,” says Carl Davis, ITEP’s Research Director. “There’s an alarming gap here between what the public wants and what state lawmakers have delivered.”

    Nationwide, recent policy changes have exacerbated or lessened regressivity in state tax systems, depending on the choices made by lawmakers.

    Many states with tax codes that already increase inequality have doubled down on regressive tax policies in recent years. Arkansas, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, and West Virginia, for instance, have taken steps to deeply cut taxes on more affluent households and wealthy corporations.

    On the other hand, many of the states with tax codes that reduce inequality, or at least do less than average to widen inequality, have made strides toward more progressive tax policies in recent years. Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and the District of Columbia, for instance, have taken steps both to raise taxes on more affluent households and lower them for low- and moderate-income families.

    “We’ve seen a lot of states shift their tax systems to become even more regressive in recent years by enacting deep tax cuts for the wealthiest. But we know it doesn’t have to be like this. There is a clear path forward for flipping upside-down tax systems and we’ve seen a handful of states come pretty close to pulling it off,” said Aidan Davis, ITEP’s State Policy Director. “The regressive state tax laws we see today are a policy choice, and it’s clear there are better choices available to lawmakers.”

    ###

    About the report:

    Who Pays? is the only distributional analysis of tax systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The comprehensive 7th edition of the report assesses the progressivity and regressivity of state tax systems by measuring effective state and local tax rates paid by all income groups. No two state tax systems are the same; this report provides detailed analyses of the features of every state tax code. It includes state-by-state profiles that provide baseline data to help lawmakers and the public understand how current tax policies affect taxpayers at all income levels. Over 99 percent of all state and local taxes, measured by their revenue contribution, are included in the analysis.

    About ITEP:

    ITEP is a non-profit, non-partisan tax policy organization. We conduct rigorous analyses of tax and economic proposals and provide data-driven recommendations on how to shape equitable and sustainable tax systems. ITEP’s expertise and data uniquely enhance federal, state, and local policy debates by revealing how taxes affect people at various levels of income and wealth, and people of different races and ethnicities. Visit the ITEP website at https://itep.org/.

    About State Groups:

    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 at www.prosperityindiana.org and follow @ProsperityInd on Twitter. 

    The Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute is a program of the Indiana Community Action Association. Indiana’s 22 Community Action Agencies provide over 70 programs & services help Hoosiers throughout Indiana achieve and maintain financial well-being.

    The Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network (A&O) connects and provides learning opportunities to practitioners and advocates committed to asset building. It is co-governed by Prosperity Indiana and the Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute and has a Steering Committee of diverse organizations that support an economy that works for all Hoosiers. Members of the A&O Steering Committee are leaders in the Indiana asset-building space. Visit the A&O website at www.indianaopportunity.net.

    The Indiana Coalition for Human Services (ICHS) is a nonpartisan coalition of advocacy and human service organizations that engages, educates and mobilizes decision-makers, its stakeholders and the public on fact-based, equitable public policies resulting in quality outcomes for all Hoosiers. Collectively, we are Indiana’s trusted expert on fact-based, equitable public policies that empower Hoosiers striving to reach their full potential. Visit the ICHS website at https://ichsonline.net/.


    Media Contact: Andrew Bradley, Policy Director at Prosperity Indiana, abradley@prosperityindiana.org | Jon Whiten at ITEP, jon@itep.org

  • 08 Jan 2024 2:01 PM | Daniel Stroud (Administrator)

    Strengthening Housing Attainability and Economic Opportunity for all Hoosiers and their Communities

    INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  January 8, 2024 — Prosperity Indiana, a leading advocate for affordable housing and community development, announced its 2024 Policy Agenda, aimed at addressing the pressing challenges facing Hoosiers in the realms of housing attainability and economic opportunity. The agenda outlines a strategic and comprehensive approach to tackle issues such as the inadequate supply and increased cost of housing, equitable pathways to homeownership, and economic opportunity for vulnerable Hoosiers.

    According to Prosperity Indiana members, safe, fair, affordable housing and economic opportunities are becoming increasingly unreachable for many Hoosiers. The 2024 Policy Agenda addresses these concerns at federal, state, and local levels, emphasizing the importance of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in all policy initiatives.

    “Prosperity Indiana’s 2024 public policy agenda reflects the urgent needs of our members, Indiana’s community economic development sector, and the millions of Hoosiers it serves daily. It outlines critical policy solutions to address Indiana’s growing housing crisis that simply cannot wait,” said Prosperity Indiana Executive Director Aspen Clemons.

    Urgent & Emerging Policy Priorities

    • Increase the supply, access, and habitability of affordable housing, including options to afford, preserve, and rehabilitate homes.

    • Counter increasing costs for vulnerable Hoosiers through policies that promote wealth-building and mitigate wealth-stripping (e.g., through predatory lending) for individuals and the community as a whole.

    • Address attacks on diversity, equity, inclusion, & justice policies impacting community economic development initiatives such as: reducing barriers to homeownership, wealth building, mortgage assistance; as well as providing support to organizations combating barriers to inclusive education, reproductive options, quality health care, and similar efforts. 

    • State preemption reducing local options on policies such as tenant protections, source of income protections, taxes and revenue, etcetera.

    • Prevent efforts to make regressive changes to Indiana's tax code that would increase the burden on the most vulnerable Hoosiers and the CED organizations who serve them.

    Community Development Resource Policy Priorities

    • Increase the scope and availability of tax credit resources to expand affordable housing for low-income households and make it easier for community economic development organizations, including smaller and non-profit entities, to qualify and participate. 

    • Enhance opportunities and reduce barriers impacting community land trust programs to permanently preserve affordability and create homeownership opportunities for lower-income families.

    • Facilitate the ability of local communities to fund and administer land banking efforts and address the burdens of blight and abandoned property.

    • Increase policy opportunities for PI members to participate in and share economic development resources and programs.

    Asset-Building & Consumer Protection Policy Priorities

    • Establish a maximum 36% rate cap for payday loans at the state and federal levels and support policies that promote alternatives to predatory lending products.

    • Protect families from the health and social effects of medical debt, including strengthening consumer protections, expanding enrollment for Medicaid, and/or requiring hospitals to adopt robust Financial Assistance Policies.

    • Support policies that increase equitable wealth-building (i.e. Child Tax Credits and Child Savings Accounts).

    • Institute policy safeguards against 'wealth-stripping' factors, such as predatory rent-to-own contracts and increased rates and fees for small-dollar loans, while increased rates and fees for small-dollar loans, while increasing 'wealth-building' factors through increased lender data transparency and reporting requirements.

    • Safeguard against regressive changes to state, federal, or local tax policies that would result in increased burdens on low-income Hoosiers and the organizations who serve them, or that would reduce local revenue options.

    • Promote robust state and federal consumer protection rules and regulations, including through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's consumer education, rules, enforcement, and compliance.

    Affordable Housing Policy Priorities

    • Increase the supply of affordable housing for the communities and populations most in need, using targeted tax credits. 

    • Increase the preservation of affordable housing (i.e. through owner-occupied rehab, extending the duration of affordable tax credits, and re-capitalizing affordable housing properties whose affordability periods are expiring).

    • Work to end housing discrimination, promote inclusive communities, and create new pathways to achieve and sustain homeownership including through improved fair housing and inclusionary zoning standards.

    • Strengthen tenant protections for Hoosiers (i.e. through court-based rent escrow policies and increased enforcement of habitability standards).

    "Even during a 'short session' when the Indiana General Assembly typically doesn't consider legislation that would affect the state budget, lawmakers have chances in 2024 to improve long-term housing stability and attainability and consumer protections that are critical to Hoosiers' well-being and economic opportunities," said Prosperity Indiana Policy Director Andrew Bradley. "Prosperity Indiana's 2024 policy agenda provides policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels with a menu of choices to reduce racial and economic disparities and promote thriving, equitable communities for all Hoosiers."

    Prosperity Indiana urges policymakers at all levels to consider these critical priorities as they shape legislation and initiatives for the benefit of Hoosier communities. For more information on Prosperity Indiana's 2024 Policy Agenda, visit ProsperityIndiana.org/Advocacy or contact Policy Director Andrew Bradley.

    ###

    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 @ProsperityInd on Twitter.


  • 14 Jun 2023 10:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    June 14, 2023

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | abradley@prosperityindiana.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.


    Click here to download the Indiana State Pages from Out of Reach 2023 which includes a state overview as well as county- and metro-level info for the FY23 Housing Wage, Housing Costs, Area Median Income, and Renter data.

    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."

    Joe from New Albany told his story to Will Stauffer, a Community Organizer with Hoosier Action: “I have two adult children, one is a son aged 30, who has a part-time job as a lifeguard at the YMCA and spends the rest of his time swimming for his health and as a masters swimmer nationally ranked. He and my daughter, aged 24, a student at IUS are living at home. Both would like to move out of the house, but the rental properties available are too expensive for them to afford. I do love my kids, and my wife and I might be labeled as “helicopter parents,” but that is not what keeps them at home—the high cost of rent keeps them at home. We need to do better for our citizens. I can’t imagine someone their age not having parents to live with as a backup plan. What are they doing for housing?"

    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.

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    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.

  • 05 May 2023 1:33 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    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.

    Affordable Housing

    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.



  • 16 Mar 2023 11:00 AM | Deleted user

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    March 16, 2023

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403| abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    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 new report finds that Indiana’s gap in affordable housing is part of a national shortage of 7.3 million affordable and available rental homes for the lowest-income households. Every year, The Gap reports on the severe shortage of affordable rental homes available to extremely low-income families and individuals. The new Gap report finds that the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, followed by significant rent increases, drastically impacted the supply of affordable and available rental homes, nationally, in recent years. While rental inflation has cooled going into 2023, extremely low-income renters will continue to face significant barriers to finding and maintaining affordable housing, as their incomes are insufficient to cover even modest rental prices.


    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 housing gap for affordable and available housing in Indiana means that while the highest-earning households have their pick among all rental units, Hoosiers at lower income levels must compete for the remaining available housing stock that is affordable at their income level. For example, the 177,858 households earning above median income can afford any of the state’s  813,063 rental units, and the 81,115 households in the state’s middle income range can afford 794,957 of those units. But when those households choose to rent a unit that would be affordable to families making less than middle-income, that unit is no longer available on the market to lower-income households. So while there are already only 152,592 units affordable in price to Indiana’s 199,050 extremely low-income households, the ‘picking over’ effect contributes to the state’s gap of 120,796 units that are both affordable and available to this population. Also contributing to the lack of supply for ELI households is the fact that Indiana is only 1 of 6 states nationwide without habitability enforcement mechanisms, which artificially depletes the housing supply while increasing the severe housing cost burden for the most vulnerable Hoosiers.


    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/

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    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.

  • 09 Aug 2022 9:23 AM | Deleted user


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    August 9, 2022

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    Prosperity Indiana Comments to Federal Regulators to Strengthen and Modernize the Community Reinvestment Act

    INDIANAPOLIS, INOn 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.

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    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.

  • 28 Jul 2022 10:00 AM | Deleted user


    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    July 28, 2022

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    Affordable Housing is Out of Reach and Getting More Expensive for Low-Wage Hoosiers

    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.


    In Indiana, a renter needs to earn on average $14.19 to $18.87 per hour, depending on location, to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home without spending more than 30% of their income on housing costs. For Hoosiers, the Housing Wage is above the statewide median in 23 counties covering rural, suburban, and urban parts of the state.


    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 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.

  • 25 Apr 2022 2:49 PM | Deleted user

     

     

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    April 25, 2022

    Contact: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403 | abradley@prosperityindiana.org

    Notre Dame Student Policy Network Releases Report on Tenant Protections in Indiana

    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 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 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, 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.

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