About Us

The mission of the Fort Wayne Media Collaborative is to bring together Fort Wayne’s media resources to address complex community challenges by creating and disseminating solid, evidence-based journalism. We envision transforming the nature of local journalism in Fort Wayne and giving our community greater access to solutions-oriented news that encourages civic engagement.

Housing Cooperatives Build Stronger Communities

Housing Cooperatives Build Stronger Communities

Most housing falls into two categories: what you can rent, and what you can own. Renters are bound by leases, while owners are responsible for mortgage payments, insurance, and taxes on their properties. Rentals are maintained for the renters, while owners are on their own when it comes to maintenance and improvements. Still, each has its advantages.  Establishing or joining a housing cooperative, or co-op, offers a mix of these approaches. A housing cooperative represents corporate ownership of real estate, but with a twist. The residents (also called member-owners) own shares of the cooperative, which is democratically controlled by elected members who are also residents. Money stays within the corporation and does not leak out to a third-party investor. Cost savings are passed...

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The History of Community Land Trusts in the U.S.

The History of Community Land Trusts in the U.S.

After World War II, blacks in Georgia were vulnerable to predatory behavior of landlords. Some were evicted and then, because they did not have a stable address, were refused the right to vote. The goal in starting a community land trust was to ensure housing stability and secure their right to vote. In June 1968, a group of community leaders traveled to Israel to learn about developing homes and cooperatives on community-owned land. They collected legal agreements from Israel as a basis for what could be used in the US. This led to the creation of New Communities, Inc., which is considered to be the first community land trust in America. In 1969, they purchased 6,000 acres of land in Albany, Georgia, which was the largest black-owned landholding in the U.S. Slater King, Marion King,...

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Fort Wayne Homeownership by the Numbers

Fort Wayne Homeownership by the Numbers

Many Hoosiers aim to invest in a home of their own. However, affordability is a concern, especially in the current environment of high prices and rising interest rates. Consider this: The median income for Indiana households at $61,944 (2021); according to an online mortgage calculator, the median household could be financed for up to $189,000 at 7 percent, costing $1,257 per month. The median sale price of an Indiana home is $222,300, according to Redfin estimated based on January 2023 data. Investment experts recommend paying 20% of the purchase price when buying a home. A 20% down payment for the median sale price of $222,300 totals $44,460 and reduces the mortgage amount to $177,840. Saving $200 per week toward the down payment of $44,460 would take 222 payments, or over four years....

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Could We Create a Community Land Trust in Fort Wayne?

Could We Create a Community Land Trust in Fort Wayne?

Jason Webb of Grounded Solutions Network is part of the team creating a new community land trust in Indianapolis. In a recent webinar, he reflected on how living in a Community Land Trust (CLT) helps families build wealth, just not in the traditional way. “The generational wealth that homeownership can bring to future generations is more than just the dollars and cents that somebody could get from that real estate transaction. The wealth really comes from the stability of having a home, of not needing to go through the rent increases year after year.” The goal is for lease owners to be in a better situation than they’d be in if they rented, so that they can invest a larger portion of their disposable income into their businesses, retirement accounts, and families. A Community Land Trust...

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Building a Future for Young Adults Aged out of Foster Care

Building a Future for Young Adults Aged out of Foster Care

“When we were in foster care, we weren’t allowed to get a license, we weren’t allowed to have a bank account or a phone. We weren’t allowed to have anything.” A young woman in Fort Wayne’s young adult housing described the steep learning curve she encountered at age eighteen. The path to adulthood is fraught for any young person, but it presents additional challenges to those who age out of foster care without a support system in place. These kids are given $600 and a backpack on their eighteenth birthdays, but if they don’t have a birth certificate or a Social Security card, the next steps seem insurmountable. At The Courtyard on Home Avenue in Fort Wayne, most residents used to be foster children. The Courtyard is an apartment complex that houses young adults, usually between ages 18...

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Rent Hikes and Evictions Roil Renters in Northeast Indiana

Rent Hikes and Evictions Roil Renters in Northeast Indiana

Shirley Rork is an Eviction Intervention Program Director for Just Neighbors Interfaith Homeless Network, and a very busy woman. “In Allen County, the rent increase in the past year has been up 40 percent,” Rork said. “I had a tenant being evicted at court. The landlord charged him, and his girlfriend, their two kids $750 a month for a downstairs apartment on Wells Street. Well, they had them sign a new lease, and increased their rent to $1,700.” After the audience let loose with a collective gasp, she explained that most local rent increases were less but still substantial, often increasing from $800 to $1,200 for the same apartment. Rork and three other housing experts offered their views on the Fort Wayne rental market and high eviction rate on April 27 at the Fort Wayne 2022 Fair...

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“Just because a community’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s stable.”

“Just because a community’s affordable doesn’t mean it’s stable.”

 Interview with Dr. Matthew Desmond, Author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Fort Wayne is an affordable city in the very affordable Midwest, which suggests stability. However, affordability and stability don’t extend to the region’s rental market. Princeton University’s Eviction Lab ranked Fort Wayne 13th in the nation for the number of renters evicted from their houses and apartments in 2016. That year, an average of 8.35 households were evicted each day, but the challenges renters face have grown steadily since then. With area rents increasing by 40 percent over the last year, average household earnings haven’t come close to keeping up. Pressures like these can force more and more renters to fall behind and end up evicted. What’s happening? Are northeast...

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