April 12, 2022

Unfair housing history on display at Central Library

Opening of the Unwelcomed exhibit.  - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

Opening of the Unwelcomed exhibit.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

A comprehensive look at a history of unfair housing practices in Indianapolis is part of a new exhibit.

“Unwelcomed: A Fair Housing History of Sales and Lending Discrimination” is open at the Central Library in Indianapolis. The interactive exhibit explores ways in which residents have been historically shut out of home ownership. 

Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Executive Director Amy Nelson said there are many in the community who don’t know this piece of the city’s history.

“It’s our hope it will open more minds to have the type of discussions to engage and determine meaningful ways for corrective action,” Nelson said.

The exhibit marks the anniversary of the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Redlining, bias and intimidation have contributed to unfair housing outcomes in Indianapolis. The exhibit also highlights modern discriminatory practices including unfair appraisals, loss of bank branches and displacement.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said a history of housing discrimination still contributes to poverty and disparity today.

“Robbing so many of the chance to build generational wealth in a neighborhood of their choice,” Hogsett said.

A recent report from the FHCCI finds home ownership for white people in Marion County is 65 percent but only 34 percent for Black households.

During an event unveiling the exhibit on Monday, the FHCCI was also awarded one of four Access and Inclusion Awards given by the Indianapolis Office of Disability Affairs and the Mayor’s Advisory Council on Disability.

The exhibit is located on the library’s second floor through the end of April 2022.

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

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