INDIANAPOLIS — A local nonprofit received millions in federal COVID-19 rapid response funds to invest in Indianapolis neighborhoods hit especially hard during the pandemic. The focus is on building up these communities by creating affordable housing.
Renew Indianapolis plans on building or rehabbing 20 houses near Douglass Park in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood over the next three years, focusing on preserving affordable housing for homeowners and also leading new construction in the area.
“This is the completed home; our first completed home,” said Stephanie Quick, Renew Indianapolis Chief Operating Officer.
Renew Indianapolis is intensifying its COVID-19 response thanks to a more than $3.6 million federal grant. The nonprofit lends to residents to help them find affordable housing and connects businesses to funding through small business loans.
The new grant dollars will support preserving homes in areas disproportionally affected by COVID-19. The Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood is one of them.
“Many either lost their jobs or were laid off,” Quick said. “There were health impacts associated with COVID. The 46218 neighborhood it has very high health and employment impacts associated with COVID.”
“We are still struggling with trying to alleviate some of those concerns that have truly had an impact,” said Barato Britt, President of the Edna Martin Christian Center. “This last year was a real struggle for Martindale-Brightwood.”
The Edna Martin Christian Center is a long-standing community center in the neighborhood.
“Our community has long been, I don’t wanna say victim to, but has suffered from very significant disproportionate characteristics whether it’s unemployment, crime or what have you,” Britt said. “And as we’re seeing those marked improvements in those areas, we just want to make sure that there is ample connection to those individuals that have long been a part of this community and want to remain in this community.”
Quick said that begins with offering equitable, affordable housing.
“Our focus is on preserving housing in the neighborhood, stabilizing housing in the neighborhood and also wraparound services,” she said.
The Renew COO added that once you stabilize a neighborhood, people care about where they live, you can attract more businesses, and that area becomes safer.
“Creating generational opportunities so we can ensure that the neighbors that we seek to serve are able to be here for generations to come and to contribute more positively to the overall community fabric,” Britt said.
Whether you aspire to own your own home or start a business, Renew Indianapolis can help.
Since 2016, Renew has provided 26 loans in the amount of $9.3 million to residents throughout Marion County. They have closed 24 loans for businesses and brought 249 jobs to communities in Marion County. Plus, they just announced their expansion into Hamilton County.
For more information about Renew Indianapolis, visit RenewIndy.org.