September 29, 2022

Indiana housing task force begins meeting to address critical shortages

Article origination IPB News
Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Director Jacob Sipe, right, speaks to the Indiana Housing Task Force at its first meeting on Sept. 29, 2022. Derris Ross, who represents the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition on the task force, sits beside him. - Screenshot Of Iga.In.Gov

Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority Director Jacob Sipe, right, speaks to the Indiana Housing Task Force at its first meeting on Sept. 29, 2022. Derris Ross, who represents the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition on the task force, sits beside him.

Screenshot Of Iga.In.Gov

The co-chair of a new Indiana housing task force said, under current conditions, it would take the state 20 years to meet the housing needs of lower-income Hoosiers.

The task force is meant to recommend policy changes the state can pursue to address its lack of affordable and available housing.

Its first meeting Thursday included a lot of data – almost none of it good news. For Hoosier households earning less than $50,000 a year, there’s a gap of 419,000 available housing units. Over the last seven years, the median home price increased 76 percent, while the median household income grew just 15 percent.

What’s to blame? Builders point to the pandemic increasing costs, workforce availability shortages and, in their view, unnecessary regulations.

Gina Leckron is the state director for Habitat for Humanity of Indiana. Her organization is the largest builder of entry-level homes in the state. She said some communities adopt aesthetic regulations – for instance, requiring a two-car garage or banning vinyl siding.

“That is enough to price one of our families out of a home," Leckron said. "Just flat out prices them out.”

Ross Foundation Founder Derris Ross represents the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition on the task force. He said Indiana needs permanent emergency rental assistance and housing stability programs.

“Paired with strengthening tenant protections to provide a bridge to short-term housing stability and a pathway to affordable rental housing and home ownership,” Ross said.

The task force is set to meet twice more and adopt recommendations by Nov. 1.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2022 IPB News. To see more, visit IPB News.

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