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Friday, July 19, 2024

Affordable Housing Initiative Helps Recruit, Retain Black Teachers in Education

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INDIANAPOLIS: The Educate ME Foundation is assisting Black educators achieve homeownership through its Teacherville initiative. This program aims to reduce the barriers to homeownership for Black educators in Indianapolis, which aligns with broader recruitment and retention efforts.

“Teacherville effectively transforms teachers into community stakeholders, positively impacting teacher retention,” said Blake Nathan, executive director of Educate ME Foundation. “The program is an example of successful cross-sector collaboration to ensure educators can invest in and stabilize the communities where they work.”

According to the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, the average salary for a teacher in Indiana for the 2022-2023 school year was $58,531. In Marion County, where the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP) provides homeownership programs for people earning up to 120% of the area median income, the median home price is between $230,000 and $235,000. INHP finds that a household earning only the state’s average teacher salary can typically afford a home between $165,000-175,000 without becoming housing cost-burdened. The disparity between average teacher salaries and median home prices presents a clear challenge to homeownership for educators.

Through strategic partnerships, Teacherville focuses on breaking down financial barriers that hinder black educators from purchasing homes. The African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis (AALFI), a Donor Advised Fund of The Indianapolis Foundation, plays a significant role in the funding mechanism for this initiative. AALFI provides the funds to assist educators with expenses that are associated with purchasing a home, such as closing costs, down payment assistance, and more. AALFI focuses on driving change for African Americans in Indianapolis through advocacy, leadership development, donor cultivation, community investment, and asset building.

(Photo provided/Holliday Collaborative Agency)

“AALFI is pleased to be a part of this endeavor, working alongside The Indianapolis Foundation, INHP, and Martindale Brightwood CDC, to make homeownership attainable for teachers who play a critical role in educating our youth,” said Larry Smith, AALFI board chair. 

 “The Indianapolis Foundation is proud to serve as a vehicle through which the African American Legacy Fund of Indianapolis can help teachers and others build a pathway to homeownership,” said Dr. Lorenzo Esters, president of the Indianapolis Foundation. “This is one of many ways we demonstrate love, hope and a commitment to providing access to opportunity for all within our community.” 

INHP helps Teacherville educators become familiar with the home buying process through homebuyer education. INHP also provides mortgage lending programs that are ideal for their financial situation.

“Education is a cornerstone of INHP’s mission,” said INHP president and CEO Gina Miller. “Teachers will gain the knowledge and tools through INHP’s programs to reach homeownership goals and inspire others.”

Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation (MBCDC) and Teacherville are working together to provide teachers with priority options to purchase new homes in the community before going to market. MBCDC has four new construction homes and plans to build six new homes before the end of 2024.

“It’s a win all around to have educators living in the same community where they work; this is how collective engagement can naturally occur,” said Amina Pierson, Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation executive director. “The Teacherville Fund pairs attractively with the affordable houses we are developing in Martindale Brightwood. The fund makes the homes even more attainable and aids in creating a shared viable village outside of the classroom for teachers with their students and parents.”

Teacherville currently has teachers in the pipeline and cannot accept new teachers. The public can make a financial contribution to assist educators with the cost of homeownership. Donations can be made here.

For more news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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