January 17, 2023

Vacant to Vibrant program announced to create affordable housing

City leaders announce $4.5 million initiative at city-owned property on the Near Northwest side.  - Jill Sheridan/WFYI

City leaders announce $4.5 million initiative at city-owned property on the Near Northwest side.

Jill Sheridan/WFYI

A new program aims to address the shortage of affordable housing in Indianapolis with $4.5 million in federal American Rescue Plan money. 

The Vacant to Vibrant initiative will take abandoned properties from the city land bank and offer them up for redevelopment.

Community development corporations, nonprofits and others may apply for projects that include affordable single-family homeownership or rental opportunities. City-County Council President Vop Osili said the initiative can impact systemic disparities that surround race and housing.

“The cycles of health, and division, disinvestment, decay and gentrification that have been the death of countless Black and Brown neighborhoods across our country,” Osili said.

The Department of Metropolitan Development leads the effort and said there are about 100 properties that could be used.  Targeted neighborhoods include the Near Eastside, Martindale-Brightwood and the Near Northwest. 

The announcement was made in a Near Northwest side neighborhood undergoing change. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the city is committed to anti-displacement policies that are community led.

“The neighborhood's success is their success and they should benefit from it,” Hogsett said.

A neighborhood advisory committee will provide feedback on proposals before they are chosen.
After housing is developed it will be offered to families earning 80 percent of the area median income.

Housing nonprofit partners including Aspire House Indy may apply.  Founder Sharon Clark said one of the organization’s goals is inclusive redevelopment.

“There are lots of areas of Indianapolis that have been redeveloped and a lot of families that have been displaced,” Clark said. “And we’re here to make sure that in the near northwest and Riverside area our families are here to stay.”

The city of Indianapolis has allocated more than $50 million in American Rescue Plan funding towards housing. City-backed projects have invested in permanent supportive housing and transit development initiatives.

Submitted development proposals will be required to align with specific neighborhood guidelines. The Vacant to Vibrant application can be found on indy.gov and will be accepted through March 31, 2023.

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

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