June 2, 2022

Indianapolis Housing Agency looks to make change

Indianapolis Housing Agency looks to make change

The agency charged to help low income residents secure stable safe housing is struggling. A plan for change has significant updates this month.

The Indianapolis Housing Agency said the past few months have exposed extreme issues. The agency has been run by interim Executive Director Marcia Lewis since John Hall left earlier this year.  In a letter, Lewis said the plan moving forward is first to reduce the number of properties IHA owns and manages.

“It is our intent that any changes in ownership result in better homes for our clients, who deserve more than they have been getting,” Lewis said.

A third-party management group will take over seven IHA properties this summer.

Two large properties that provide senior housing are in need of major repairs, including the Lugar Tower. Residents there have had to live with substandard housing conditions and a lack of maintenance to fix problems.

The other part of the plan is to reorganize the agency. Many clients have had issues with IHA not being able to manage or provide Section 8 housing vouchers. IHA says it’s possible that the vouchers will become the agency’s only focus in the future.

Staffing problems have been a consistent challenge for IHA.  Plans for a new customer service department and IT improvements are outlined as well. The search for a new Executive Director is also on the list.

Problems at the agency have been years in the making. IHA is estimated to be $10 million dollars in debt. 

The agency, funded through the U.S. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, has left behind millions in federal money that it failed to apply for. HUD is conducting audits of IHA and a final report is expected to be public this summer.

The agency helps an estimated 24,000 Marion County residents with housing, including 9,000 voucher recipients.

Contact WFYI city government and policy reporter Jill Sheridan at jsheridan@wfyi.org. Follow on Twitter: @JillASheridan.

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