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Understanding the ins and outs of housing can be intimidating, especially for someone who cares enough to get involved but doesn’t have the time and resources to learn everything they feel like they’re supposed to know.

Leadership Indianapolis wants to make housing advocacy more accessible through two upcoming series: “Shelter,” a three-part virtual forum about housing, and “Evicted,” an audiobook club.

“There’s so much information, and sometimes that can be debilitating for people,” said Ebony Chappel, program and communications manager for Leadership Indianapolis, which serves as a platform for people to address issues facing the community.

“Shelter” includes three virtual panels noon-1:30 p.m. on Tuesdays from Feb. 2 to Feb. 16.

The first event will cover land with a discussion of the history of urban development in Central Indiana, as well as current redevelopment and the potential for displacement. The second event will be about eviction, including how housing insecurity impacts the most vulnerable populations. The final event will cover what people and organizations can do to advocate for change.

The audiobook club will meet 4:30-6 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 11 to Feb. 25. The group will read “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” which shows the impact eviction has on whole communities.

The “Evicted” audiobook club, as well as each session for the “Shelter” series, will be on Zoom and costs $10. Learn more and register at leadershipindianapolis.org.

Leadership Indianapolis decided to focus on housing for the first quarter of the year in part because the COVID-19 pandemic uncovered many systemic shortfalls, Chappel said, and housing has been one of the most significant.

Natalie James, who serves as Prosperity Indiana’s lead staff member for groups such as the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition, will be a panelist for the eviction segment of the “Shelter” series Feb. 9.

Evictions have become a more urgent issue because of the pandemic, James said, but she wants people to understand evictions have been a major problem in Indianapolis and other parts of the state for years.

In 2016, Indianapolis saw 11,570 evictions, according to the Eviction Lab at Princeton University. That was the second highest in the country, behind only New York City. The Eviction Lab has counted 1,168 eviction filings in Marion County since Dec. 20, 2020.

“This issue hasn’t come out of thin air because of COVID-19,” James said. “It’s a structural issue across the state.”

Leadership Indianapolis will also bring back a second round of its podcast club, “Seeing White,” which explores how the concept of race has shaped American history.

The podcast club will be 4:30-6 p.m. every Thursday from March 4 to April 22 on Zoom. It costs $25 to join.

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


Leadership Indianapolis will host two virtual series to make housing advocacy more accessible.

— What: A three-part virtual
forum about housing
— When: Noon-1:30 p.m. on
Tuesdays from Feb. 2 to Feb. 16
— Where: Zoom
— Cost: $10 for each session online

— What: An audiobook club
— When: 4:30-6 p.m. on
Thursdays from Feb. 11 to Feb. 25
— Where: Zoom
— Cost: $10 online

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