May 3, 2023

The national median cost to rent a home fell for the first time in three years in March. And while that was good news for renters in Chicago and Cincinnati. It wasn’t the case for people who rent a home in Indianapolis.

In Indy, median rent shot up 10.5% in March, the fourth-highest increase of any major metro area in the U.S., according to Redfin.

Higher rent – along with higher upfront costs to get into a house or apartment – is further straining families’ budgets even as they must cope with surging food, energy and transportation costs.

“Our neighbors are feeling the pressure,” Jay Height, Shepherd’s executive director, said. “Higher rent is just one of the factors making it harder to find and stay in a home. Higher interest rates, including on variable rate home loans, also have hurt.”

Adding further pressure on housing prices is the rapid gentrification that is spreading through much of the near Eastside. A recent search of the 46201 zip code (an area that Shepherd serves) on turned up new houses listed for sale from $650,000 to $715,000 and new condos selling for more than $300,000.

To assist neighbors with housing, Shepherd in 2022:

  • Helped 80 neighbors with utilities, safety, rent assistance and finding new, stable housing.
  • Repaired 11 homes.
  • Helped two neighbors to become homeowners through a rent-to-own model.
  • Helped three neighbors become first-time homeowners through Habitat for Humanity.
  • Formed partnerships with new landlords who offer good quality, affordable housing properties.
  • Advocated with neighbors in court and worked to remove or reduce late
  • fees, keep utilities on and prevent evictions.
  • Connected with landlords to find affordable housing within neighbors’ financial means.
  • Partnered with the University of Indianapolis to provide apartments to neighbors in
  • dire need.

Moving forward, Shepherd’s goals include working with partners to build homes on empty lots on the near Eastside, helping 50 neighbors become first-time homeowners, and adding 50 new, good quality rental homes.

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