On October 4, Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber, convened members of the tech community to participate in a home build for the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity. Together, participants from Levementum, Salesforce, WDD Software, and Develop Indy joined a local family in need of decent, affordable housing to help redevelop a community.
With a focus on strengthening and stabilizing the families and individuals that they come into contact with, the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity has provided more than 525 families in the area the life-changing opportunity of homeownership since 1987. In 2017, Habitat will build and/or rehab 26 homes within Marion, Hendricks, and Hancock counties. Historically, Habitat for Humanity builds houses in impoverished areas in order to spur economic development and encourage residential growth.
Located near the Indianapolis Children’s Museum on Kenwood Avenue, the build site that Develop Indy volunteered at is a part of the Crown Hill neighborhood. Crown Hill holds a 44% poverty rate with an average income of $21,500, according to indyvitals.org. To put these numbers into perspective, Marion County’s poverty rate is 21.1% and the average income is $42,168. Crown Hill is a prime candidate for neighborhood revitalization.
“We have played a homeownership role in Fall Creek, Kennedy King, and the Fountain Square neighborhoods, while also building community engagement through volunteerism. Our role in affordable homeownership has had influence on reducing crime through increased homeownership, increased property values, increasing safety and improving education outcomes for the homeowner families,” says Abri Hochstetler, Marketing and Communications Manager at Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity.
A now bustling and attractive neighborhood for homebuyers, the adjacent Mapleton/ Fall Creek neighborhood once had the same economic outlook as Crown Hill. During that time, Habitat builds were the first of several investments, including both charity and private holdings, supporting the “if you build it, they will come” mentality. While specific data on cause and effect of Habitat’s role in a neighborhood’s growth isn’t available, housing and specifically affordable housing can play a critical role in boosting homeownership rates in a neighborhoods as a start to revitalization.
“I really enjoyed working next to our tech partners building this home. Despite the rain, it was cool to see local innovators in our community come together to make a difference,” says Ian Nicolini, Executive Director of Develop Indy and Vice President of Indianapolis Economic Development at the Indy Chamber.
Nicolini continues,“Neighborhood redevelopment starts from the ground up, and it is incredibly rewarding to support our neighbors in need of affordable housing by working alongside them to build their home. It is a physical representation of the work we do everyday at Develop Indy that brings economic growth to Indianapolis.”
A participant in the build alongside his team, Michael Burton, Senior Vice President of tech company Levementum, agrees.
“I love this community, and I recognize the importance of strategic development initiatives like these as the city evolves and grows. The Lev team and I were humbled to get the chance to get our hands dirty alongside other volunteers from the tech community and the Indy Chamber.”
To support neighborhood redevelopment in Indianapolis in a tangible and meaningful way, businesses can get involved with Habitat for Humanity. Corporate partners do more than help build, rehab and repair homes; they increase affordable homeownership opportunities for families in need and provide strength, stability and independence. With options of sponsoring a day’s worth of work or sponsoring a whole home, corporate partners provide financial resources to build homes and their teams schedule time to work together on a build site.
To learn more, visit http://indyhabitat.org/volunteer/ and fill out the “volunteer as a group” form.