Since the Martindale-Brightwood area was selected to receive major funding as part of the City of Indianapolis Lift Indy award, key benchmarks have been achieved and new projects are now underway.
In 2021, the Martindale-Brightwood area was selected by the City of Indianapolis to receive funding of nearly $3.5 million in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding as part of the Lift Indy. The multi-year commitment assists with catalyzing investment and preserving affordability, stabilizing the community, and supporting comprehensive neighborhood revitalization. The development team for the Martindale-Brightwood community includes the Edna Martin Christian Center, the Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation, and Intend Indiana.
With support from Lift Indy and the development team, the residents of Martindale-Brightwood can see the positive change in their neighborhood and community.
As the backbone social service agency in the Martindale-Brightwood community, Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) has helped families achieve greater financial stability and opportunity for nearly 80 years. “The Martindale-Brightwood Lift Indy collaborative partnership blends the strengths of three entities for maximum community benefit within a neighborhood on a positive trajectory,” said Barato Britt, President & CEO of Edna Martin Christian Center. “The partnership has strengthened a comprehensive approach to housing stability and homeownership, holistically addressing challenges and placing our families in the best position to prosper. We look forward to continued collaboration with Intend and the Martindale-Brightwood CDC via Lift Indy and expanded partnership opportunities.”
The Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone (MBEZ) is led by the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC) and provides direct student and family supports through a comprehensive, Two-Generation (2-Gen) approach. In addition to direct programs for youth in Pre-K through 12th grade, EMCC offers parents support, including barrier removal, case management, financial coaching, and asset development. Families also have access to EMCC’s workforce development and entrepreneurship activities and are provided assistance with HSE or certifications that stimulate pathways to gainful employment or help realize business development goals. Youth of the MBEZ are assisted with maintaining at least 80% attendance and/or performing at grade level in math and ELA. The MBEZ initiatives have assisted more than 900 individuals from 280 families to date.
As part of a broader strategy to integrate sustainable and affordable housing, the MBEZ has also launched the Housing Village Initiative, in partnership with the Martindale-Brightwood CDC. This initiative allows EMCC to blend its programmatic supports with housing supports, further enabling housing stability.
“This 2021 Lift Indy collaborative partnership enables each of our organizations to stretch and grow in capacity as we combine our resources and synergy to boost Martindale-Brightwood’s pathway to restoration,” said Amina Pierson, CEO and Executive Director of Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation. “We are preserving and increasing affordable housing in the area and providing community empowerment through workforce development and homebuyer education. Our organizations and the community development are stronger because of our mission-driven work.”
Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation (MBCDC) is committed to the revitalization and rebirth of the community by creating opportunities for community and individual prosperity through housing, economic development, community education, and environmental justice. MBCDC is building its first new affordable homes in the Martindale-Brightwood area in over a decade. The Lift Indy award enables MBCDC to increase the stock of housing for Martindale-Brightwood Education Zone families, by creating a Housing Village for families who have children attending the many quality schools in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhoods, and housing for faculty and staff who work at these educational institutions in the area (Kipp Indy Schools, Oaks Academy, IPS, and Martin University). MBCDC is building quality two- and three-bedroom townhomes. By the end of 2023, MBCDC will offer six new units available for homeownership with more planned in the future. As part of the Lift Indy initiative, MBCDC coordinates and delivers essential owner-occupied repairs including roofing, siding, flooring, windows, HVAC, and accessibility modifications including bathrooms and kitchens for residents.
Economic development for MBCDC includes workforce readiness training and small business development. MBCDC has intensive programs for young adults between ages 16 through 35 through its one-of-a-kind mobile employment services program, servicing between 75 – 100 participants annually. MBCDC has received State awards for exceeding key performance indicators for participant outreach, one-on-one customized coaching, paid job training, and job placement with good and promising jobs. The MBCDC small business development programs empower over 30 businesses with technical education related to business taxes, finances, marketing, succession plans, and more. MBCDC is dedicated to helping businesses become XBE certified and providing training on how to compete and win in business. Over the past two years MBCDC has assisted seven local businesses to get façade grants, and ten businesses successfully submit their applications for certification through the Office of Women and Minority Businesses. “We value our partners in this Lift Indy collaboration, and it helps us to fortify the Martindale-Brightwood foundation so that the neighborhood is empowered to keep building from the inside out,” says Amina Pierson.
With a focus on comprehensive community development, Intend Indiana (Intend) partners with EMCC and MBCDC on community engagement to preserve and develop inclusive, diverse, and equitable affordable homeownership opportunities and small business lending outreach. Intend builds capacity within the neighborhood by providing technical assistance and expertise to its partners. As a result of Lift Indy, Intend has preserved and created affordable housing by substantially rehabbing five homes and constructing 9 new homes. Over the next year, Intend will build another 10 homes in the neighborhood for homeownership.
In 2022, Intend launched HomePower, a homeownership initiative with funding support from Cummins Foundation. HomePower combines new construction homes and affordable mortgage financing to facilitate homeownership in the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. The HomePower program allows buyers to purchase a home from Affordable HomeMATTERS and secure a below-market HomeSmart Mortgage from Edge Fund, a Certified Community Development Institution (CDFI). By bringing the programs together, Intend is able to help income-qualified homebuyers increase their purchasing power and realize their dream of homeownership.
The first phase of HomePower is focused on homebuyers with ties to the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. The HomePower initiative pairs a newly constructed home with an affordable mortgage featuring a 2% interest rate fixed for the life of the loan, no down payment, minimal closing costs, and no private mortgage insurance. HomePower includes the construction of 12 homes. Of the 12 homes six have been sold, three are under a purchase agreement with three homes remaining as available. The new homeowners are closing on the home realizing immediate wealth with approximately 37% equity. Intend is engaging local contractors and has met its goal of 75% XBE participation across the program. In addition, Intend offers homeownership classes known as Homeownership 101 which is a series of courses geared to assist homebuyers with exploring a path to affordable homeownership. More than 75 community members have participated in the courses. Through the Build Fund CDFI, small businesses including general contractors actively engaged in the construction of affordable homes are connected to flexible, affordable, and responsible funding.
Since Martindale-Brightwood Lift Indy launched, the homeownership program has grown to benefit a larger portion of the community. Originally, the program was slated to have seven new construction units, as well as five rehabilitated homes. What started as a plan to develop 12 homes within the program quickly grew—adding 12 additional homes to the project. All 24 homes are projected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Stephanie Quick, President of Intend Indiana added, “Intend Indiana is proud to be a partner in the Martindale-Brightwood Lift Indy collaborative alongside Edna Martin Christian Center and Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation. The joint efforts of the partnership have worked to assist the community to achieve greater stability and opportunity through training, education, and neighborhood stabilization—including preservation and through providing affordable, equitable, and inclusive homeownership and financing opportunities.”
With the collective support of Lift Indy, Edna Martin Christian Center, Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Corporation, and Intend Indiana, residents of Martindale-Brightwood are witnessing improvements that are greatly impacting their neighborhood, community, and livelihood.