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Saturday, January 22, 2022

INHP gets $2.5M to increase housing access, close racial homeownership gap

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Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership received $2.5 million to create more homeownership opportunities for low-income people and close the racial gap in homeownership.

The money comes from a partnership with CareSource, a nonprofit health plan. INHP helps people with financial education, homeownership advising, mortgages and home repair loans. Rob Evans, executive vice president for homeownership initiatives at INHP, said the $2.5 million will help the organization support 3,000 families annually.

The Black homeownership rate in Marion County is 34%, according to a study from the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy at IUPUI in 2018. The homeownership rate for whites is 64%. Even in predominantly Black neighborhoods in Marion County, researchers found white people own 56% of the homes.

Research also shows about a third of households in Marion County earn less than 80% of the area median income and are housing cost-burdened, meaning more than 30% of their monthly income goes to housing.

Housing is considered one of the so-called social determinants of health, which experts often say make up about 80% of a person’s health. Other determinants include food access and education.

“If you don’t know where you’re going to lay your head at night, it’s really hard to focus on anything else,” said Amy Riegel, directing of housing at CareSource.

Black homeownership is on the decline across the country, dropping to 41% in 2019, according to census data. That’s 7 percentage points lower than it was a decade ago. Black people have lost nearly all of the gains made in homeownership after the Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited housing discrimination based on race.

One issue Evans pointed to is disparities in mortgage lending. Black borrowers represented 14.4% of all loan applicants in 2019 in Marion County, according to federal data compiled by INHP. Nearly a quarter of Black applicants were denied, compared to about 14% of white applicants, and Black applicants are much more likely to be denied because of credit history.

There are also allegations locally of redlining. The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana filed a complaint against Old National Bank in October, accusing the bank of discriminating against Black mortgage borrowers in Indianapolis.

According to FHCCI, the bank made only 23 loans to Black borrowers in Marion County. An Old National Bank spokesperson denied the allegations.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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