About Moving Forward

Moving ForwardMoving Forward: A Systems Approach to Affordable Housing and Transportation

The Challenge

The general rule of thumb of budgeting for housing and transportation is to spend 30 percent of your income on housing, and an additional 15 percent on transportation. But many families struggle to cover these costs. Some may qualify for public subsidies, but they do not take into account the total cost of ownership of vehicles and/or housing, such as utility costs, energy usage, fuel, and maintenance. An ideal solution is to lower costs beyond these targets through a systems approach and to review housing and transportation together rather than independently.

The Solution: A Systems Approach

Focusing on each individually or in silos prevents us from realizing more efficient methods for community planning. A more coordinated planning effort between housing development and transportation will create cross-efficiencies, including technical and financial benefits.

Moving Forward

In August 2015, ESN and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced the creation of a new program called Moving Forward. The innovative, first-of-its-kind program focuses on combining energy efficient affordable housing and transportation for low- to moderate income families. Moving Forward is designed to create housing that increases quality of life while decreasing the cost of living for residents of affordable housing. IHCDA uses a portion of its federal funding for affordable housing (the General Set-aside) to support two pilot projects to push the boundaries of integrated housing development with transportation in a total cost of ownership (TCO) model incorporating energy efficiency.

“The Moving Forward program allows us to strategically focus on finding synergies with affordable housing and transportation solutions and develop coordinated plans that will result in lower costs for Hoosier families.” – former Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann


Indiana Bicentennial Commission Executive Director Perry Hammock presents Jacob Sipe, director of IHCDA, with a Bicentennial Legacy Project designation for the Moving Forward program in November 2015.

IHCDA selected two developers – BWI, LLC and Pedcor – to participate in an Innovation Workshop coordinated by ESN. ESN gathered dozens of subject matter experts in the areas of transportation, energy efficiency, the built environment, systems integration and policy and finance to come together and collaboratively to leverage some of the most advanced energy technologies and designs and achieve substantial cost savings for families.

At the Innovation Workshop, the developers and their teams spent two very active days working in a collaborative process to set goals and identify opportunities, challenges, and integrated solutions to overcome those challenges. This resulted in developing two high-level plans that would meet the “stretch goals” agreed upon by the workshop participants. The plans are now being used to guide project development, with funding awards from IHCDA anticipated by the end of 2016. Pedcor selected a site in Bloomington, Ind. for its development and BWI selected a site in Fort Wayne, Ind. Both developers are expected to break ground in 2017.

Moving Forward 2.0

As ESN and IHCDA prepared for the next Innovation Workshop, two substantial changes were made in the program. First, rather than select developers, IHCDA selected two Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to serve as the leads for the teams. Second, a larger focus will be placed on breaking the generational cycle of poverty for the families of these two affordable housing developments, an area in which Community Action Agencies have significant expertise.

The two CAAs that participated in Moving Forward 2.0 in November 2016 are Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI) and Area IV Agency. Both CAAs and their developer partners are finalizing site selection for their developments, and will break ground in 2018.

Moving Forward 3.0

In May 2017, IHCDA announced the next round of Moving Forward will be held in East Chicago, with both developments being sited in Lake County. Earlier in the year, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a Declaration of Disaster Emergency for East Chicago, and one of his requests was to find a way to incorporate more affordable rental housing in the area, one that has been designated by the U.S. EPA as a Superfund site.

The workshop for Moving Forward 3.0 will be held in East Chicago in November 17, and developments will begin construction in 2019.