City says it has blown past goal of transforming 2,000 troubled homes

The city of Indianapolis has spent more than $24 million on Mayor Joe Hogsett’s "2,000 Homes in Two Years" initiative to fix up or demolish abandoned and blighted homes across Indianapolis—and has blown past its ultimate goal.

Hogsett said Thursday that the city and its partners have “rehabbed, demolished, transformed or constructed” a total of 2,565 housing units since the initiative kicked off in January 2017.

Of the total $24.3 million spent since then, $5.2 million has gone to complete demolitions. About $19 million has been spent building new homes, repairing and rehabilitating existing homes, or procuring and selling homes to groups that can do the work, according to the mayor’s office. Most of the funding—$18 million—has come from the federal Hardest Hit Funds, HOME and Community Development Block Grant programs.

The spending averages about $9,400 per unit, according to the mayor’s office. 

“The ‘2,000 Homes’ initiative is part of our comprehensive effort to uplift Indianapolis neighborhoods surrounding downtown,” Hogsett said in a press release. “The individuality and history of our neighborhoods provide our city with its unique identity, and we see that identity take shape even more with the transformation of each home.

"What were once dormant, shuttered eyesores—vacant lots, empty offices and unsafe structures—are now houses and apartments that serve as attractive and affordable homes for families.”

According to the city, multiple city departments were involved in the initiative, including the Department of Metropolitan Development and Department of Business and Neighborhood Services. The city’s interactive dashboard shows that repairs were the most common intervention, with about 1,000 units receiving that work. There were more than 700 new builds, 400 demolitions, nearly 400 sales and more than 75 rehabilitations. 

The city became involved with the housing units in a variety of ways: providing funding to partner organizations to subsidize work on a property; completing a process to gain possession of an abandoned property and transfer it to a partner organization or a private entity qualified to complete the work; completing needed work on a problem property; and issuing a repair order to a property owner and enforcing that order.

“Outcomes of these interventions are demolition, rehabilitation, repair, sale, or new construction," according to a city release.

The mayor announced the progress on his goal in the Riverside neighborhood with Renew Indianapolis, a not-for-profit land bank.

“Our partnership with the City is having a transformative effect on neighborhoods throughout Indianapolis,” said Bruce Baird, executive director of Renew Indianapolis, in a release. “Each property we touch and partner to rebuild into a brand new home not only positively impacts the families who live there, but also their neighborhoods and the greater community as a whole. Proud homeowners build strong communities, and we are excited to be a part of this revitalization.”

Also the city has reached the two-year terminus of the initiative as originally planned, Hogsett has directed city officials to "keep their foot on the gas" and continue the program.

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