FHCCI News and Updates

November 8, 2023 – Indy advocates, studies say reducing homelessness starts with increasing affordable housing: Advocates are increasingly trying to reframe the issue of homelessness as a systemic problem stemming from failures in economic and housing development rather than blaming individual drivers such as addiction, mental health or employability.  Full story here.

November 7, 2023 – Advocates: Bad policy caused Indiana’s housing crisis: Research shows even the threat of eviction can lead to higher rates of physical illness, high blood pressure and mental health issues — and Indiana has one of the worst eviction rates in the country. Advocates say Indiana’s housing crisis can be traced to bad policy.  The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana keeps a “bad bills list.” It tracks how Indiana policy creates barriers to fair housing. Full story here.

November 3, 2023 – Developers eyeing renters, not buyers, for new communities: It’s no secret that Indiana lacks available single-family housing, as the state’s existing-home sales have dropped for 20 straight months. And the nationwide struggle to purchase single-family homes due to supply shortages, large investment groups outbidding families with all-cash offers, high prices and interest rates near 8% has left the United States with a deficit of 3.8 million homes, according to Freddie Mac. One alternative that’s gaining steam is “build-to-rent” communities. Full story here.

October 24, 2023 – The FHCCI Report, Who Owns Indy’s Houses: A review of the Largest Single-Family Home Investors, was a topic of discussion at last night’s Indianapolis Mayoral Debate:

October 11, 2023 – Single mother searches for affordable housing to keep kids in Lawrence schools: Owning your own home is a dream many pursue, but getting there can be extremely difficult, especially now. The shortage of affordable and available housing in Indiana has grown over the past few years, and Lawrence is no exception. The Midwest is typically home to more affordable housing than expensive, crowded coastal areas, but Indiana ranks the lowest among nearby states. Full story here.

October 6, 2023 – Libertarian and Democratic Socialist facing off on near east side of Marion County: Home prices in Marion County are skyrocketing, and the high interest rates aren’t helping. But buyers aren’t the only ones who are suffering. Renters are also being hit with these rising prices. Full story here.

October 5, 2023 – FHCCI Executive Director Appointed to CFPB Consumer Advisory Board: Today, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced the appointment of new members to the Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, Credit Union Advisory Council, and Academic Research Council. The FHCCI’s Executive Director, Amy Nelson, was one of the appointments. Read full release here.

October 3, 2023 – Lawrence mayoral candidates address city’s top issues: Lawrence has been a target for out-of-state investors. According to the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, these investors are coming in, buying up thousands of homes, beating individual homebuyers with cash offers, and then flipping the properties into expensive rentals. Full story here.

September 21, 2023 – How the housing crisis is impacting people living in District 2 in Marion County: Homes in the Ravenswood neighborhood are up more than 13% from last year and almost 70% from September 2018. Full story here.

September 21, 2023 – ‘Treated like animals:’ How a mega investor turned affordable homes into rental nightmares: These are the experiences of Indianapolis tenants who rent from VineBrook Homes, one of the city’s largest corporate homeowners. But VineBrook, a Dallas-based real estate investment trust, isn’t just a landlord. They’re one of several out-of-state institutional investors buying up homes in Indianapolis with often unbeatable cash offers and flipping them to rent, squeezing an already-tight real estate market in neighborhoods where they’re dominant, and pricing out low to moderate-income homebuyers. Full story here.

September 15, 2023 – Pilot program aims to give relief to Riverside property taxpayers: A pilot program hoping to soften the blow of increasing tax bills will begin this year in Riverside. The pilot was made possible through a new state law that allows counties to designate neighborhood enhancement districts and determine to what extent a homeowner’s property tax liability should be limited. Full story here.

September 15, 2023 – Secret shoppers testing fair housing laws: For discrimination cases without an identified victim, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana goes into the situation looking to rectify what is uncovered. Full story here.

September 14, 2023 – How Wall Street cashed in on the American Dream: Homebuyers outbid in droves by investors: First-time homebuyers Michael Wathen and his fiancé thought they’d found their future home in a spacious brick 3-bedroom bungalow in Decatur Township. They’d fallen in love. She was moving from Cincinnati. He lived with his parents, saving for two years to afford a hefty down payment for their dream. Then, like thousands of other Indianapolis families, they were outbid by a real estate investment company that bought their dream home for 5% more than the listing price of $170,000. Now, what could have been their first home as a married couple is being rented out by Progress Residential, one of Indianapolis’ largest companies that rent houses. Full story here.

August 17, 2023 – Companies buying up single-family homes in Indianapolis impacts affordable housing: The number of single-family homes owned by corporate investors is on the rise, and that trend has an impact on affordable housing in Indianapolis. A report from the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana finds 27,000 Marion County homes are owned by corporate investors, and about half of those are out-of-state companies.  FHCCI Executive Director Amy Nelson said the trend is also costing the state rent. Full story here.

August 14, 2023 – Fair housing report highlights issues with out-of-state investors in Indianapolis, surrounding areas: Homeownership by out-of-state investors is becoming more prevalent in Indianapolis and surrounding areas and Indiana has become a top state for new single-family “build-to-rent” communities, according to a new comprehensive housing report released Aug. 9 by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Full story here.

August 9, 2023 – Report: Corporate investors contributing to housing crisis in Indiana:new report by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) is outlining how corporate investors are buying up a significant amount of Indianapolis’ single family homes. Full story here.

August 9, 2023 – Corporate Landlords Lead In Evictions, Indiana Report Says: Corporate owners of standalone homes in Indianapolis evict tenants and incur code violations more than other landlords, according to a Wednesday report by a nonprofit group focused on housing rights. Full story here.

August 9, 2023 – FHCCI Releases New Report on Housing Investors – Who Owns Indy’s Houses: A Review of the Largest Single-Family Home Investors: As homeownership disparities increase in Indianapolis and across the state, large corporate investors, mostly from out-of-state and heavily funded by Wall Street, have taken a significant hold of the city’s single-family homes. These corporate owners purchase properties at rapid rates, often converting formerly owner-occupied homes into rentals, and out-competing individual home buyers with all-cash offers. As landlords, they tend to file evictions frequently per unit, and fail to maintain properties at high rates. All these impacts are felt strongly in our neighborhoods of color. Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) releases its newest report, The State of Fair Housing in Indiana – Who Owns Indy’s Houses: A Review of the Largest Single-Family Home Investors, which identifies these companies and analyzes their impact on our community. Download the press release here or review the full report.

July 31, 2023 – What should I know before signing a housing lease in Indiana? Finding a home or apartment for rent in Indiana can be difficult. Throughout the country, and in Indiana, there is a housing shortage and renters have struggled to find affordable housing. Along with these challenges, unexpected and confusing fees show up. What resources are available for new and long-standing renters in Indiana? And what protections exist for tenants? Full story here.

July 27, 2023 – FHCCI Presents: “JUST ACTION: An Evening with Leah Rothstein”: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) is excited to announce that housing policy expert Ms. Leah Rothstein will be our special guest speaker at “JUST ACTION: An Evening with Leah Rothstein” on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, at The Toby Theater at Newfields in Indianapolis. Ms. Rothstein is co-author with her father, Richard Rothstein, on their new book Just Action: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law. This book is a follow up to Mr. Rothstein’s ground-breaking civil rights book, The Color Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America, which decimated the myth that Black and white families live separately by choice and argued that government actions created our segregated communities. Building from that foundation, this new book answers the question, “How do we challenge the racial divisions in our communities?” Full release here.

July 26, 2023 – Multilingual housing guide to help Indiana immigrants: As the housing crisis hits Indiana’s growing immigrant community, two agencies are partnering to ease challenges in the application process. Immigrant Welcome Center representatives say it’s safe to say all new immigrants face housing insecurity, especially if they don’t already have family here or a sponsor. Then you add missing documentation and identification, it becomes an uphill climb. Housing is one of the top resources searched for immigrants in Indiana. The crisis seen across the state is even more concentrated in undocumented communities when you factor in missing documentation and language barriers. Full story here.

June 29, 2023 – Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana Director Honored with Trailblazer Award: On June 28, 2023, the Central Indiana Realtist Association (CIRA) hosted its annual Trailblazers Awards & Recognition Luncheon where it honors those leaders who broke down barriers and through glass ceilings in their respective industries in the advancement of homeownership for those who are unserved and underserved. During the event, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana’s Executive Director, Amy Nelson, was honored with a 2023 Trailblazer Award for her and her organization’s work in fighting housing discrimination. Full release here.

June 15, 2023 – FHCCI releases new report on tenant screening barriers: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana has released its newest report, “The State of Fair Housing in Indiana – No Way Home: Tenant Screening Barriers to Housing,” which documents the struggles and barriers for area residents in securing rental housing. “Through interactions with FHCCI clients, fair housing testing, and review of area landlord policies, the FHCCI found that renters are frequently denied housing for incorrect information on their screening reports, such as mismatched names, expunged records being considered, and other misleading or distorted reports,” said Hafsa Razi, systemic investigations coordinator of the FHCCI, in a news release. “The process of obtaining a reason for denial is also difficult and burdensome for renters. Very often, renters do not know their rights, and housing providers frequently do not give them the information required under law.” Full story here.

June 6, 2023 – Credit scores, past evictions, criminal history pose barriers for renters, report finds: Stringent tenant screening policies are compounding the housing crisis and making it harder for Indianapolis residents, especially Black renters, women and families with children, to find safe and affordable homes, according to a new report from the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. Full story here.

June 5, 2023 – FHCCI Announces New Hire: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) announces a new hire to its Indianapolis-based operations. The FHCCI welcomes to its team Bryan Hernandez. Full release here.

May 31, 2023 – Fair Housing reports finds tenant screening barriers in Indianapolis: Tenants are finding it harder to get rental approval due to barriers in the screening process, according to a new report from the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. People of color and domestic violence survivors are some of the most impacted. The report pulls from data collected in Indianapolis. In a housing market already near capacity, the screening process eliminates even more people from securing housing, and advocates say rental laws in Indiana offer very little protection. Full story here.

May 31, 2023 – FHCCI Releases New Report on Tenant Screening Barriers – No Way Home: Tenant Screening Barriers to Housing: In Marion County’s already tight rental housing market with increasingly rising rents, area renters face mounting barriers to finding housing due to tenant screening policies and services, which deny rental applicants based on long-term systemic policies or their past history, such as credit score, past evictions, and criminal records. Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) releases its newest report, The State of Fair Housing in Indiana – No Way Home: Tenant Screening Barriers to Housing, which documents the struggles and barriers for area residents in securing rental housing. Read full press release here and download the full report here.

April 25, 2023 – New FHCCI Fair Housing Poster Available: In its continuing Fair Housing Month activities, the FHCCI has released a new two-sided poster. The poster is available by mail, FREE, to Indiana residents. You can view the poster and place an order here.

April 20, 2023 – FHCCI Founding Board Member, Emily Munson, Named a IBJ Forty Under 40: Emily Munson is responsible for the legislative strategy at Indiana Disability Rights, the state’s federally mandated advocacy agency. She manages the agency’s health care-related litigation, oversees its fellows and legal interns, and handles external communications, whether developing press releases or educating lawmakers. Full story here.

April 19, 2023 – Hoosier woman’s story makes national documentary highlighting appraisal bias: A Hoosier woman is taking a national stand against home appraisal discrimination after a troubling revelation while she was trying to refinance her home. Full story here.

April 19, 2023 – Documentary highlights home appraisal discrimination against Indianapolis woman: An Indianapolis woman who filed a complaint of racial discrimination in the home appraisal process has been featured in a documentary called “Our America: Lowballed.” In the movie, she joined other black homeowners who faced the same issue. Full story here.
April 18, 2023 – FHCCI Releases Two New Fair Housing Videos: It’s Fair Housing Month!!!! At the FHCCI’s 11th Annual Fair Housing Conference last week, the FHCCI premiered two new fair housing videos to spread the message of fair housing, inform the public of the work of the FHCCI, and how violations of law can be addressed. These videos are: Donata’s Neighborhood and Community Voices. Other videos are available on the FHCCI YouTube Page.

April 11, 2023 – Fair Housing Center Announces Fair Housing Month Activities: Each year, April is celebrated across the country as Fair Housing Month to honor the passage of the federal Fair Housing Act in April 1968. Today, marks the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Act into law. In honor, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) has a month of targeted activities in celebration and recognition of fair housing and the passage of this important civil rights law. Read the full release here.

April 1, 2023 – FHCCI Announces “Housing for All” Apparel Line: Today, the FHCCI releases a new way for people to show their support of fair housing by “wearing” that support! A collection of sweatshirts and t-shirts are available by donation. Learn more here.

March 27, 2023 – Lawsuit Alleging Racial Discrimination by Bank of America in Its Maintenance of Foreclosed Homes Allowed to Proceed – Civil Rights Groups Presented Extensive Evidence in Federal Court that the Bank Poorly Maintained Homes in Black and Latino Neighborhoods: A federal court has found that the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) and other fair housing organizations have presented sufficient evidence that Bank of America discriminated based on race in its maintenance and marketing of foreclosed-upon properties for the case to go to a jury. On Friday, Judge Stephanie A. Gallagher of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland resoundingly rejected Bank of America’s attempt to have the Fair Housing Act case dismissed. Full release here. Learn more on this case on the FHCCI Advocacy Page.

March 22, 2023 – Settlement of Fair Housing Lawsuit Reached Involving Indianapolis Rent-to-Own Company: Today, the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) and Rainbow Realty Group, Inc. (Rainbow) announce a settlement agreement between the FHCCI, its clients, and Rainbow Realty, a real-estate brokerage firm the FHCCI challenged in a federal lawsuit for allegedly running a discriminatory rent-to-own program. For the full release or to learn more:

March 21, 2023 – HUD Awards Over $54 Million to 182 Grantees in 42 States to Fight Housing Discrimination: The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today awarded $54 million to 182 fair housing organizations across the country under its Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP). The grants will provide $28,200,000 to support the efforts national, state, and local fair housing entities working to address violations of the Fair Housing Act and helping to end discrimination in housing. In addition, HUD provided $26,350,000 in funding to its second and third year Private Enforcement Initiative grantees to continue fair housing enforcement efforts nationwide. A state-by-state breakdown of the awardees is available here. The FHCCI was the recipient of three fair housing grants.

March 1, 2023 – FHCCI Honors Women’s History Month: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) celebrates Women’s History Month and the strides that have been made in gender equality. Due to the leaders of the Women’s Rights Movement, the federal Fair Housing Act was amended in 1974 to ensure equal access to housing regardless of gender. In recent years, the gender definition has been expanded to not only protect women or men from discrimination but also provides protection from housing discrimination due to sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or for being transgender. Full release here.

February 28, 2023 – ‘Windfall profit’: Lawmakers who build homes file bills to help their industry: Indiana Republican lawmakers with careers in building and selling homes are the primary authors on three bills aimed at making it cheaper for people in their profession to build homes, leading to accusations they have conflicts of interest. The lawmakers say the bills would help address the affordable housing shortage. But critics pointed out that none of the bills have any requirements that the homes benefitting from these cost savings be affordable. The bills, in effect, would subsidize the cost of home construction at a time when many builders and developers report that the cost of building a home exceeds the price they can sell it for. Full story here.

February 16, 2023 – Hoosier Housing Needs Conference Holds Press Conference: The FHCCI spoke at a press conference hosted by the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition about recent actions of the Indiana General Assembly. Read our remarks here. Watch a recording of the press conference here.

February 1, 2023 – FHCCI Celebrates Black History Month: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) proudly recognizes February as Black History Month and celebrates the civil rights leaders who fought for fair housing choice for all, inspiring many of us with their vision of a diverse and integrated society, while receiving opposition every step of the way. Full release here.

January 16, 2023 – ‘I’m tired of this’ | Hoosiers fighting for better tenant laws: In Indiana, there is no law that allows tenants to withhold their rent or make needed repairs and then deduct it from the rent. Full story here.

January 16, 2023 – FHCCI Honors Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday: The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI) today honors the legacy of one of the fair housing movement’s greatest leaders, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In a speech to the graduating class at Stanford in 1967, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously described two Americas. He said, “… there are literally two Americas. One America… is the habitat of millions of people who have food and material necessities for their bodies; and culture and education for their minds; and freedom and human dignity for their spirits. In this America, millions of people experience every day the opportunity of having life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in all of their dimensions… But tragically, and unfortunately, there is another America… In this America, millions of people find themselves living in rat-infested, vermin-filled slums. In this America, people are poor by the millions. They find themselves perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.” Full release here.

January 3, 2023 – First Merchants emerges from fair-lending settlement agreement: Muncie-based First Merchants Bank and the U.S. Department of Justice have agreed to end a settlement agreement that had been put in place in 2019 after the bank was accused of discriminatory lending practices in certain Indianapolis neighborhoods. Full story here.

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