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Program lets Hoosier volunteers get mortgage help

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In Indiana, unemployed people who receive federal money to cover their mortgage payments can repay the favor by volunteering.

The new program, dubbed HoosierCorps, is unique among the 18 states participating in the federal Hardest Hit Fund, said Emily Duncan, spokeswoman for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

“Your community’s helping you. Why not have you help your community in some type of service work?” Duncan said.

Indiana received $221 million through the Hardest Hit Fund in the fall of 2010 and is now starting to ramp up its distributions. So far, 52 households are receiving payments and about 2,000 people are in the application process, Duncan said.

The state expects to reach about 16,000 people. Referrals come through the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network and its 1-877-Get-Hope hotline.

The money is a forgivable, no-interest loan, which can bring delinquent mortgages current and continue to cover payments for 12 to 18 months. But recipients have to do a number of things to keep up their end of the deal. The main requirement is paying 30 percent of gross income, including unemployment benefits, toward the mortgage.

In Indiana, recipients also must take part in approved job-training or education programs. HoosierCorps is a third option. Volunteers have to work 40 hours a month.

Like the program as a whole, HoosierCorps is just getting under way. United Way of Central Indiana, which will oversee the volunteer work in Marion and surrounding counties, hopes to see 1,000 participants a year, said Alan Witchey, volunteer center director.

United Way has approved 35 not-for-profits to work with HoosierCorps, but at this point they're still waiting for referrals from foreclosure-prevention agencies, Witchey said.

United Way plans to use HoosierCorps for the benefit of the volunteers as much as charities, Witchey said. Volunteers will be placed in jobs where they can use their professional skills, and they'll attend workshops on how to leverage that experience in the job hunt.

“Through volunteerism, they can network and develop new job leads,” Witchey said. “They can do a whole host of things that make them more appealing to hire.”

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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