NEAR Director John Franklin Hay says when the project started, 43 percent of the homes in St. Clair Place neighborhood were vacant or unoccupied. (Photo by Drew Daudelin)
Seven years ago a local nonprofit began rebuilding homes on the near east side, where blight was spreading. The group celebrated its 100th construction on Monday.
Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, redevelops vacant lots and abandoned homes and sells them to people with low-to-moderate incomes.
The project is backed by private companies like State Farm, the City of Indianapolis, and the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
NEAR Director John Franklin Hay says when the project started, 43 percent of the homes in St. Clair Place neighborhood were vacant or unoccupied. To date, NEAR has lowered that figure by 12 percent.
And he says they worked with the neighborhood association throughout the process.
“We want to make sure that any home we develop fits in the neighborhood, it holds its quality, it has the blessing of the neighborhood with it,” Hay says.
NEAR’s next project is to create a so-called ‘Teacher’s Village’ – where the group will renovate houses on Rural Street and sell them to local teachers.