It Takes a Village: Indy's New Housing Project Aimed at Educators

The IBJ recently shared  a plan by Indianapolis to redevelop an aging part of the city's near-east side while helping young city teachers at the same time. Utilizing a variety of funds and smart planning, part of the city's near-east side will soon feature affordable housing and 21 new homes all catering to educators. It's a great reason to be proud of our city and its focus on urban development.

The total $3.2 million price tag project will include houses built in a two-block area along Rural St., from St. Clair to 10th St. The promising new development has been dubbed Teachers' Village for its focus on helping young and new teachers find quality, affordable housing. The city is chipping in well over half a million dollars ($561,000) through federal Community Development Block Grant funds to purchase property and abandoned homes on Rural Street. This funding will also go toward group Near East Area Renewal to build or rehab seven houses. New market tax credits will also be utilized; the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership is providing $2.6 million in funding to buy property and homes, as well as to help NEAR build new or rehab fourteen houses.

For NEAR, the Teacher's Village development will be a continuation of community revitalization that they've already begun. According to the IBJ, the group has helped build or rehab over 100 homes in St. Clair place already. They view adding an area dedicated to drawing teachers as a boon to the local community, noting that teachers are both “civic and community leaders.” Qualifying teachers will also benefit; under the guidelines teachers with an income at or below 120% of the area's median income will be able to purchase a home. The 21 three-bedroom homes will have a market value of $130,000; however, thanks to subsidies teachers will be able to purchase the homes below market value. One important caveat of note: home buyers' of houses built with federal subsidies and new market tax credits must commit to living there for five years to prevent ambitious sellers who might otherwise try to “flip” the house for a higher price.

Fourteen homes are projected to be completed by May with another seven homes finished by next fall. Indianapolis is hoping to both revitalize the area and recruit as well as retain quality teachers through the Teachers' Village development. The move will be geared toward young teachers, those who have taught for three years or less, as well as teachers in both IPS and mayor-sponsored charter schools. Not only is it in the city's best interest to add new life to an aging part of the city, but it's also equally valuable to provide quality housing incentives for local area teachers. According to the IBJ stats, each year IPS alone loses an impressive 400 teachers. The optimistic new housing development called Teachers' Village is poised to give some educators a reason to put down lasting roots – both in the classroom and at home. 

Elizabeth Wheeler