Tuesday, March 10, 2009

CIB Spending Fails To Stem Center Township Housing Woes

If there is a public benefit to the massive spending to subsidize Lucas Oil Stadium and Conseco Fieldhouse for the billionaire sports team owners, it has not translated into a housing boom for Center Township. The Star's Jeff Swiatek has a story on the growing abandoned housing problem for the township:

Half of Center Township's houses are rentals, by far the highest percentage in the county. Many rentals are apartments, which still enjoy relatively high occupancies, in part because of a reliance on residents using Section 8 federal housing vouchers. But the pool of people who want single-family rentals in Center Township is small, though no statistics exist to show it.

The proof comes in comments from numerous landlords, including officers of the Central Indiana Real Estate Investors Association, and a drastic fall-off in demand for Center Township homes on delinquent property tax lists.

Of the record 2,400 unwanted properties from the latest Marion County tax sale, in January, about 70 percent lie in Center Township. The county hopes to sell those properties at special auctions starting this summer.

The decline of rental investors in Center Township "is a concern," said Olgen Williams, Indianapolis' deputy mayor for neighborhoods. "We need to have affordable properties. It's challenging for landlords."

One of the city's solutions has been its demolition program, which last year razed 270 houses countywide, most in Center Township.

Williams, a former community organization official, said he thinks an answer lies in landlords working with the city and residents' groups to revive Center Township neighborhoods, one street at a time . . .

Deputy Mayor Williams is hopeful the city will soon get several million dollars of federal economic stimulus funds for housing development. But pouring money into housing rehabs won't work unless residents with decent-paying jobs can be found to move into the homes, he said.

Notice the City will have to count on federal dollars to deal with the housing problem in the inner city. For the billionaire sports team owners, they'll rely on higher taxes from you to pay for those spending demands. I guess the jobs boom promised by the investment in these facilities aren't attracting enough decent-paying jobs to allow the utilization of available housing. Compounding the problem for Center Township is the fact that Center Township has more tax-exempt property than any other township in the state of Indiana because of all of the government, education, health care and other nonprofit organizations based in and around the downtown area. With fewer viable housing properties, it's up to the remaining taxpayers to shoulder the burden of paying for services.

5 comments:

thundermutt said...

The reality is that some of the rental-property "owners" are mere renters themselves, buying properties cheap and investing nothing. In other words, Center Township is plagued by slumlords. When the houses get so run down that they can't be rented, they are abandoned.

Of course, there are also good landlords...I had one until I bought the place from him. He put money into into the place before I originally leased it.

But I think the 2400 houses that no one wants probably fit into the slumlord-owned category.

artfuggins said...

It is amazing how many of these abandoned homes or almost unliveable homes are owned by people in Hamilton County.

Downtown Indy said...

It's even more amazing how many are owned by a large bank in Deutschland. Probably other countries too, that I'm not aware of.

Steven J said...

Since the formation of UniGov the the area that lies within the old boundaries of the city of Indianapolis has experienced a population decline of nearly 150,000 people.
The district boundaries of IPS comprise the former city limits of Indianapolis.In 1960 the population of Indianapolis within these boundaries was 476,258. In 2002 the population of this same area was 303,000 (per IPS data).
When the next census numbers are in it is extimated that the population in this area will have decreased by another 30,000 people who have moved out.
When an area loses 170,000 people it creates a glut of aged housing stock which results in the enormous amount of abandoned houses.
It's not a question of rehabing properties or the tired old excuse of creating affordable housing.
The reality is that there are literally thousands of houses in this area and no population to live in them.
When 150,00 people pack up and leave the central city core then it does not take a genius to understand why so many of it's neighborhoods are blightd and abandoned.
In time, as has happened in other cities, the outlying township housing will begin deteriorating as well. In fact, it's already happening.
The city has thousands of abandoned houses that need to be torn down but choses to develop a plan and budget money to do it.
I suppose it's just not a priority with them.

Lucas Law Center said...

I agree with thundermutt that some of the rental-property "owners" are merely renters themselves thus do not really invest a lot.

Daniel