Apartments for low-income families and formerly homeless planned on east side

A $2.5 million apartment development for low- to moderate-income families is planned for a mostly vacant parcel on the city’s east-side.

Englewood Community Development Corp. has partnered with Living Word Baptist Church to redevelop a 0.68-acre lot at 4935 and 4947 E, 21st St.—directly across from the church at 4934 E. 21st St.—into a 15-unit apartment community.

The project, named Providence Place, would include one- and two-bedroom units for individuals exiting homelessness and others who earn up to 80% of the area’s median income, said Joe Bowling, executive director of the community development group.

“Living Word reached out about three years ago … and expressed the desire to maybe do something a little bit larger or more impactful” than the projects it has done in the past, he said. “It was around that time we began the conversation about doing a project like this.”

Living Word donated the land for the project.

The apartment units on the site would range from about 600 to 900 square feet, within an overall 11,825-square-foot structure. The development would also feature an 18-space surface parking lot and three bicycle racks, as well as a 1,700-square-foot community garden.

The community group is also discussing a non-exclusive partnership with Community Health Network to provide some services, including mental health assistance, to Providence Place residents in need, Bowling said.

The project is expected to go before the Metropolitan Development Commission Hearing Examiner on May 28, as part of a request to rezone the parcel from the D-5 residential district to MU-2, which allows for multi-family projects. The request also includes setback variances to allow the project to be constructed on the small piece of land.

Englewood has filed funding applications with Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Institute, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority’s HOME Funds program and the National Housing Trust Fund. If those efforts are not successful, Bowling said, Englewood would be comfortable with taking on “a small amount of debt” to complete the project.

Bowling said the project will include the development will involve the demolition of at least one building, potentially making way for a second phase in the coming years. Englewood will be property manager for Providence Place.

The project has also catalyzed Living Word’s efforts to expand its mission through a separate not-for-profit focused on community development, Bowling said.

The church is forming a new 501(c)3 called A Place Empowering People, which will be involved in projects similar to those pursued by Englewood Community Development Corp., which itself spun off from the Englewood Christian Church in 1996.

“We appreciate their leadership,” Bowling said. “As a nonprofit ourselves we recognize that at some point, it needs to become a wider effort than just kind of what one congregation is doing and really does need to become a community effort.”

A Place Empowering People is expected to have a role in the Providence Place project, but it’s “bigger than that,” said Bowling.

“It isn’t so much about one development as it is seeing the community around them flourish again,” he said.

Indianapolis-based Halstead Architects is the designer on the project.

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