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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Neighborhood stabilization funding available

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The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) announces the availability of grants for non-profit agencies, unincorporated neighborhood groups, and homeowners. Funding will be awarded for projects and programs that invest in Indianapolis neighborhoods of color; foster homeownership; and promote diverse, inclusive communities.

“For years, local communities of color have been disproportionately affected by foreclosure and disinvestment. The FHCCI is thrilled to provide funding to organizations and individuals with new and innovative approaches to serving these neighborhoods,” said Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

The FHCCI will provide three main funding sources:

  • Non-profits may apply for grants up to $75,000;
  • Unincorporated neighborhood groups may apply for grants up to $5,000; and
  • Homeowners with disabilities or signs of aging may apply for accessibility home modifications to allow them to age in place. Grants are estimated at up to $10,000 per home.

The focus of these grants is reinvestment in Indianapolis neighborhoods of color. The FHCCI is seeking proposals that will counteract the devastating effects of the foreclosure crisis and lenders’ alleged discrimination in the maintenance and marketing of foreclosed properties. Accordingly, funds under this grant program must be used for programs and/or services that promote homeownership, neighborhood stabilization, property rehabilitation, and development in communities/neighborhoods of color.

The FHCCI is accepting applications from non-profits and unincorporated neighborhood groups in the following program areas:

  • Down Payment Assistance: Funds to assist with homeownership or closing costs.
  • Housing Rehabilitation: Examples could include rehabilitation of vacant or abandoned housing for sale or rent; new construction; housing repairs for those who are at or under 80 to 120% AMI; or other new, innovative projects. We encourage any new construction or significant rehab proposals of single-family properties to include visitable features to ensure accessibility for those with disabilities or signs of aging.
  • Neighborhood Stabilization – General: Examples could include projects to stabilize housing choice for future or current residents; projects which help people remain in owner-occupied housing; assistance with initial rental deposits or initial rent for low-income individuals and/or those at risk of homelessness; providing housing-related services; or other new, innovative projects.
  • Neighborhood Stabilization – Quality of Life: Examples could include modifying a vacant lot into a pocket park or urban garden; adding accessible playground equipment in parks for those with disabilities; repairing neighborhood recreational trails or adding accessible features/routes for those with disabilities; adding bus stop enclosures to provide user protection or benches; public arts projects such as murals promoting diversity, civil rights or fair housing; neighborhood beautification projects; or other new, innovative projects.

Those interested in submitting applications should review the application requirements, due dates, and funding eligibility at fhcci.org/grants/.

The FHCCI is also pleased to announce a $600,000 grant to the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation (MFCDC) for new housing construction, rehabilitation of vacant or abandoned housing, and owner-occupied homeowner repair. The mission of the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation is connecting neighborhood partners to help, serve, revitalize, stimulate, and invest resources to rebuild an affordable, safe and vital community.

“The FHCCI is excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation, which has a 30-year history of creative and effective programs for a vibrant, sustainable community,” continued Nelson. “Together, we will be able to make a significant impact towards creating a more inclusive, dynamic, and equitable city.

“Equally excited about the collaboration with the FHCCI, Leigh Riley Evans, CEO of MFCDC is “pleased to be awarded this welcome boost of funding to extend our neighborhood revitalization efforts. By working together with the FHCCI, the quality of life for Mapleton-Fall Creek’s residents will be improved with safe and affordable housing.”

Over the past 18 months, the FHCCI has conducted an extensive investigation of the maintenance and marketing of real estate-owned (REO/foreclosed) properties in Indianapolis. Through this work, the FHCCI joined with several other fair housing organizations in three nationwide fair housing cases, which alleged that lenders cared for REO homes in predominantly white neighborhoods differently than those in neighborhoods of color.

One of those cases, filed against Wells Fargo, reached a settlement in June 2013 in which the FHCCI was a party. This settlement included grant funding administered by the FHCCI for neighborhoods of color impacted by foreclosure. The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana has two similar housing discrimination complaints pending against Bank of America and Safeguard, filed in October 2012 and March 2013, respectively.

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