A Systems Approach to Affordable Housing and Transportation
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.
The Solution: A Systems Approach
An ideal solution is to lower housing and transportation costs through a systems approach. Focusing on each cost area in silos prevents us from realizing more efficient methods for personal budgeting and community planning. A more coordinated planning effort between housing development and transportation solutions will create cross-efficiencies, including technical and financial benefits.
Moving Forward is an innovative, first-of-its-kind program focuses on combining transportation solutions and energy efficient affordable housing for low- to moderate income families. The Moving Forward Program is designed to create housing that increases quality of life while decreasing the cost of living for residents of affordable housing.
Moving Forward 1.0
In August 2015, ESN and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced the creation of a new program called Moving Forward. IHCDA used a portion of its federal funding for affordable housing (the General Set-aside) to support two pilot projects that pushed the boundaries of housing development by integrating energy efficiency and transportation solutions in a TCO model.
IHCDA selected two developers – Pedcor and BWI, LLC – 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 achieve substantial cost savings for families by leveraging advanced energy technologies and designs.
“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
At the Innovation Workshop, the developers and their teams spent two very active days working in a collaborative process to set goals, identify opportunities and challenges, and develop integrated solutions to overcome those challenges. This resulted two high-level plans to 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. Pedcor selected a site in Bloomington, IN. The development (B-Line Heights) is under construction and is expected to open in 2019. BWI selected a site in Fort Wayne, IN. The first phase of the development (Posterity Scholar House) held its grand opening in December 2018.
Moving Forward 2.0
As ESN and IHCDA prepared for the next Innovation Workshop in November, 2016, two substantial changes were made in the program. First, rather than selecting developers, IHCDA chose two Community Action Agencies (CAAs) to serve as the leads for the teams. Second, a larger focus was placed on breaking the generational cycle of poverty for residents by providing wraparound services including access to healthcare, childcare, adult education, healthy food, and workforce development.
The two CAA team leads are Area IV Agency and the Community Action of Greater Indianapolis (CAGI), which is working with the John Boner Neighborhood Centers.
Area IV selected a site in Lafayette, IN. The project focuses on providing adult education and workforce development through partner organizations including Subaru, WorkOne, Kirby Risk, and Wabash National. The project broke ground in December 2018 and is expected to open in Fall 2020.
The John Boner Neighborhood Centers and CAGI selected a site on the near-eastside of Indianapolis, IN across the street from the Thomas Gregg Neighborhood School (TGNS). The development targets families with children who attend the school in order to reduce student mobility. The development is expected to break ground in Spring 2019.
Moving Forward 3.0
The third phase of Moving Forward was the first to focus on a region: Lake County, IN. In 2017, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed a Declaration of Disaster Emergency for East Chicago, and one of his requests was to leverage the Moving Forward program to address the shortage of affordable rental housing in the area.
The workshop for Moving Forward 3.0 was held in East Chicago in November 2017. The selected developer teams are led by Miller-Valentine Affordable Housing (MVAH) Partners and UP Development.
MVAH Partners selected a site in downtown Gary, IN. The development will include a WIC clinic and a greenhouse. The team expects to break ground in Summer 2019.
UP Development selected a site in East Chicago. The building will house a publicly-available federally qualified health clinic (FQHC) and a community space. The development is expected to break ground in Summer 2019.
Moving Forward Rural Development
For the fourth phase of Moving Forward, IHCDA and ESN partnered with the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA RD) to preserve USDA RD properties throughout the state of Indiana at risk of losing their affordability by 2020. IHCDA chose three developer teams: Biggs Group, Woda Cooper Companies, and Justus Property Management with Greystone Affordable Development.
ESN hosted the Innovation Workshop with IHCDA, which brought together over 70 participants representing national, state, and local government, industry, academia, and non-profit organizations. Workshop participants discussed the unique opportunities and challenges accompanying rural housing preservation. The teams have selected over 40 existing properties throughout rural Indiana and are working collaboratively to rehabilitate them using efficient building designs. While previous Moving Forward developers harnessed 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund their projects, Moving Forward RD teams are using economies of scale to combine 9% and 4% credits. The developer teams are partnering with local organizations to provide services for the residents, focusing on tele-health and access to broadband.
The purpose of Moving Forward is to create innovative developments that combine affordable housing, transportation opportunities, and energy efficient design while incorporating a solution-based approach that will break the cycle of generational poverty.