Fort Wayne’s first Innovative Housing Showcase seeks to fill gaps in the local market

Fort Wayne’s first Innovative Housing Showcase seeks to fill gaps in the local market

As an architect from Detroit, Rena Bradley noticed Fort Wayne was lacking diverse housing styles when she moved here in 2015.  At the time, she was working for Bridge of Grace Compassionate Ministries on the city’s Southeast side, addressing challenges in the neighborhood, like a housing shortage and a surplus of smaller, empty lots. Bradley thought that if she could bring a concept, like shipping container homes, to Fort Wayne it could benefit families and the city alike, giving residents an attainable path to homeownership and reactivating vacant lots too small for traditional housing. As an added bonus: It would give her more interesting homes to choose from, too. “I wanted to bring the type of housing to our community that I myself wanted to live in,” Bradley says. “Something...

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Partners in Housing: Jennifer Colasessano – Part 2

https://youtu.be/SEGMYadgCz4 This video is a part of a series of interviews with members of the Partners in Housing organization in Indianapolis, Indiana, as they explain their ‘Housing First’ strategy in their approach to end homelessness. This is part two of a conversation with Jennifer Colasessano, Director of Community Life with Partners in Housing Indianapolis. For more information visit fwmediacollaborative.com For more information on Partners in Housing visit partnersinhousingindy.org/housing Paid for by the Fort Wayne Media Collaborative.

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INDY NONPROFIT PROVIDES SOLUTION TO CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS FOR STRUGGLING RESIDENTS

INDY NONPROFIT PROVIDES SOLUTION TO CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS FOR STRUGGLING RESIDENTS

“THE SOLUTION TO HOMELESSNESS IS HOUSING.” INDIANAPOLIS - Across the board, activists, social workers, academics, and others grappling with the national housing crisis agree that helping people experiencing homelessness find permanent housing is enormously challenging. But beginning in the early 1990s, communities across the country embraced a philosophy that came to be known as “Housing First,” and began providing permanent “supportive” housing with few or no barriers to entrance, while helping clients solve the complex problems that contributed to their homeless status in the first place. In 1993, Indianapolis banker Frank Hagaman recognized that the city was filled with abandoned buildings, while thousands of residents desperately needed safe, affordable housing.  Drawing on his...

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What’s happening with housing at Electric Works? We ask developers about affordability, artist lofts & more

Q&A with Kevan Biggs, President and Owner of Biggs Group A rendering of The Elex, a mixed-use housing development at Electric Works that will “wrap” around the West and North sides of the current Union Parking Garage, fronting on Broadway. (Courtesy) Kevan Biggs, President and Owner of Biggs Group, speaks at the Electric Works sign lighting event in January 2023. (Courtesy) The first housing development at Electric Works, known as the Elex, will wrap around the current Union Parking Garage, left. (Kara Hackett) The Elex will “wrap” around the West and North sides of the current Union Parking Garage, from the ground level up five stories. (Kara Hackett) The Elex is scheduled to break ground this summer, with completion in early 2025. (Kara Hackett) From the earliest days of...

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Is ‘Housing First’ Worth the Cost to House the Homeless?

Is ‘Housing First’ Worth the Cost to House the Homeless?

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories that explores the development of the Housing First philosophy and its use in communities around the U.S. and Europe. Housing First programs provide "permanent supportive housing" for people who experience chronic homelessness. This article was developed in partnership with Input Fort Wayne. Many people who experience homelessness choose to sleep on the streets of Fort Wayne rather than leave their beloved pets behind to enter a shelter. Others can’t stand the idea of being separated from a spouse or a partner who is not allowed to stay there.  Still others who struggle with addiction find they can’t honor a promise to stay drug and alcohol free in a shelter.   Those restrictions are among dozens of barriers to...

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How to Start a Corporation for a Housing Cooperative

How to Start a Corporation for a Housing Cooperative

After gathering with like-minded folks and agreeing on a common goal for cooperative housing, what does it take to set up a corporation for a co-op?  Figure out the structure of the corporation first. Consulting an attorney and an accountant can give you a picture of the best way to set up the corporation for your cooperative. Tap additional resources, such as the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center (ISBDC), as needed. A resource list is provided on Fort Wayne’s Community Development website.  Deb Trocha of the Indiana Cooperative Development Center is open to talking with Hoosiers who are interested in setting up a cooperative. She sees significant opportunities for areas like Fort Wayne to improve housing market options for residents.  In the startup...

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In New York, ‘Housing First’ Approach Helps Unhoused People Find Stability

In New York, ‘Housing First’ Approach Helps Unhoused People Find Stability

Ronnie Hodge and her young son were living in her uncle’s apartment in the Bronx when the uncle suddenly moved upstate, leaving mom and baby with no place to go. She moved into a city family shelter along with her son and boyfriend of 15 years and spent three years there, struggling to cope with little personal space and no kitchen to cook in.  For Hodge, the stress was sadly familiar. As a child, she had lived in more than 30 foster homes, and as an adult, her alcohol addiction often left her unemployed. Shelter life contributed to a break-up with the boyfriend and left Hodge with depression and anxiety. Her son was also stressed and lost weight because he wouldn’t eat the food the shelter provided.  Then, in September 2020, a nonprofit called HousingPlus transformed her life....

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Community Land Trusts Are Building Disaster-Resilient Neighborhoods

Community Land Trusts Are Building Disaster-Resilient Neighborhoods

In late September, Hurricane Ian, one of the most powerful and costly storms to make landfall in the U.S., tore through southwest Florida and caused an estimated $67 billion in property damage. But on Big Pine Key, a community 100 miles southwest of Miami that saw flooding and storm surges up to five feet, 27 nearly-finished cottages were still standing, largely unharmed. “It was a good test,” said Maggie Whitcomb, who helped develop the cottages. “You never want to have a storm, but it’s good to know after a serious weather event just how strong your construction is.”  Built atop 12-foot tall white podiums with water-resistant finishes and low-energy utilities, the cottages were constructed with structural insulated panels (SIPs), a strong, airtight substance made from...

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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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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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The Collaborative Corner | Zach Vessels

The Collaborative Corner | Zach Vessels

Meet the mastermind behind Creatorspace! In this episode of The Collaborative Corner, Zach Vessels shares how he built a thriving creative community from the ground up. Tune in to hear about his journey, the impact on local creators, and the power of collaboration in...

The Collaborative Corner | Kara Hackett

Episode 2 - Co-Founder and Editor of The Local Fort Wayne, Kara Hackett Welcome to The Collaborative Corner, where we dive into the heartbeat of Northeast Indiana! In this episode we delve into the pressing issues shaping Northeast Indiana with Kara Hackett,...