Daily Point of Light # 2531 Oct 17, 2003

Michelle Wann was just starting to put her life back together when she heard about the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP). “I was 30 years old, and my daughter and I had just moved in with my parents,” remembers Wann, who just a few short months before had been in a drug treatment facility and homeless shelter. Wann’s father urged Wann to call INHP after he saw a story about its work on television. Highly skeptical, she enrolled in INHP’s home ownership classes.

Created in 1988, INHP harnesses the resources of the private sector, government agencies, community groups and nonprofit organizations to provide home ownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income families. Since 2000, INHP has helped close to 1,000 families move into their own homes for the first time or repair their existing homes. “Too many people are unaware of the mortgage products available to families with challenged credit histories, limited incomes or both,” says Moira Carlstedt, president of INHP.

The core of INHP’s support for families is its home ownership programs. It is estimated that thousands of people in Marion County rent rather than own despite earning enough to qualify for a mortgage. Families looking to purchase a home begin with INHP’s home ownership training classes and personalized pre-purchase counseling to identify barriers to home ownership, such as judgments or late payments. Pre-purchase counseling, which can last up to two years, culminates in families being matched with INHP lender partners and loan programs that best fit their situation. INHP refers qualified customers to partner banks and mortgage companies, but also manages a multi-bank loan pool of over $21 million in lendable proceeds for clients deemed “unbankable.”

For Michele Wann it took about six months to repair a history of unpaid credit card bills and bankruptcy. Wann, who was turned down for the first mortgage she applied for after INHP counseling, now lives in a two-bedroom condominium with her daughter on Indianapolis’ Northside.

Building on its home ownership programs, INHP also links community resources together to create neighborhoods where families can thrive. Local employers participate in the Home Ownership for Employees Program, which brings in-depth mortgage information to workers employed in the community. To keep their homes in a safe condition, senior citizens and people with disabilities may access INHP’s Home Repair Collaborative, an alliance of INHP and community organizations. On the city’s Southside, INHP works with community development corporations on housing and commercial development efforts that will revitalize Morris Street, one of the neighborhood’s major thoroughfares.

Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership is a 2003 Honoree of Families Count, the national honors program that recognizes organizations that are making a difference in the lives of families struggling to survive in tough neighborhoods.