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New housing project stresses financial literacy

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Construction on a new affordable housing complex will begin in May on Indianapolis’ east side.

A partnership between Circle City Property Management and Development (CCPMD) and Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) will solve the immediate need for affordable housing, as well as create generational shifts for Hoosier families, developers of the complex said.

Those who move into the complex on 38th and Broadway streets will have access to grocery stores, quality schools and financial literacy courses. Tenants also will have easy access to IndyGo’s Red Line, making transportation around the city more convenient.

To help tenants get a better understanding of their finances, CCPMD developer Joe White plans to offer classes on monitoring credit scores and how to save to buy a home, among other topics. White said this will benefit generations to come, as people can pass this knowledge on and create better spending habits.

White said financial literacy is key to a successful life because when someone takes control of their finances, it creates opportunities for a better life for their children.
In addition to financial literacy courses, tenants will also have access to healthy foods through a market on the property, which addresses the food desert issue plaguing many communities in the city.

In Indianapolis, there are roughly 208,000 people living in a food desert — meaning they live in a low-income neighborhood more than a mile away from a grocery store. Inadequate access to healthy foods can lead to problems such as hypertension, diabetes and cardiac-related death. According to a study conducted by The Polis Center at IUPUI, Black Hoosiers are more likely than any other demographic to live in a food desert.

“We’re looking at different plans to get a cafe or some fresh produce on the property,” White said, noting that access to the Red Line would also make it easier for tenants to make trips to the grocery store.

White and INHP Executive Vice President Joe Hanson both agree that when more people have access to resources, it benefits the entire community. For example, helping people become homeowners can lower property taxes in neighborhoods, which leads to individuals having more economic mobility.

“This is a real silver lining partnership,” Hanson said. Both White and Hanson called the upcoming construction a “game-changer” for Indianapolis residents.

While CCPMD is waiting to find out if the organization will receive a federal grant to cover the cost of construction, both groups say the project will commence with or without the grant. While the ongoing pandemic can make things unpredictable, CCPMD is working to build community partnerships ahead of the groundbreaking set for this spring.

The five housing units currently on the property will be leveled to make way for 40 units split between two buildings. White emphasized that affordable housing should not mean low-quality housing. Beyond access to parks, public transit, food and schools, White said tenants should expect sound infrastructure in a safe neighborhood.

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

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