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Posted by Allegra East on Dec 13, 2016

Using Data to Inform the Conversation on Environmental Disparities in Indianapolis

hec_final_logo_cmyk-notaglineOn December 8, 2016, The Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC) convened several Indianapolis/Marion County stakeholders for a conversation on environmental disparities in Indianapolis. The Polis Center and the IU Fairbanks School of Public Health collaborated to present data to inform the conversation. Jay Smirat and Dr. Yi Wang with Fairbanks presented their work on the creation of an environmental index and maps to assess neighborhood vulnerability and environmental burden. Sharon Kandris, Director of  Community Informatics at the Polis Center at IUPUI, discussed the intersection of environmental burden and socio-economic indicators for identifying potential environmental justice concerns.

In addition, Dr. Paul Mullins, Professor in Anthropology at IUPUI, presented the history of Indianapolis neighborhoods and industry, and David Hirschl, City of Indianapolis Office of Sustainability, presented the state of the city’s work on environmental justice issues. Indra Frank, MD, MPH,  HEC Environmental Health Director, closed the presentation with policy options for urban environmental justice from other cities for consideration in our local context. The community conversation will continue in February and April 2017.

To view the presentation of SAVI’s socio-economic data, click here. The environmental burden data and other relevant maps via the Multi-Layer Data Community Action Tool (created by IU Fairbanks School of Public Health as part of its Healthy Environment and Community Assessment Partnership) are available at the HECAP website: www.HECAP.net

Established in 1986, the Hoosier Environmental Council is Indiana’s leading educator and advocate for environmental issues and policies, protecting the forests, groundwater, and lakes throughout the state.  Its efforts seek solutions and alternatives to reduce the footprint of industry, commerce and agriculture on the environment.

 

 

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Posted by Allegra East on Nov 21, 2016

The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters

affordable-housing-report-cover-finalIndianapolis is routinely recognized as one of the more affordable regional housing markets in the nation. This relative affordability lies within the eye of the beholder as Indianapolis also fares relatively poorly in income inequality. To many low-and moderate-income households, the housing of their choice may be out of reach. Urban Analyst John Marron looks more deeply into this issue in the report, The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters, produced in partnership with The Polis Center at IUPUI for the SAVI community information system. The central theme of the report: affordable housing encompasses a broader range of economic issues than the price of a home.

In this report, we define the terms, affordable housing and subsidized housing, and explore the drivers and interrelatedness of each. We also look at general policy challenges in creating adequate affordable housing and the reason why it is a relevant policy goal, especially for low-income families. In addition, we provide a brief examination of policy options for local governments and civic leaders who have an interest in local and regional housing policy. All of this discussion is placed alongside relevant data for Central Indiana, Marion County, and Indianapolis.

Housing affordability is measured by the cost of housing relative to income. Solutions to make housing more affordable should include solutions oriented toward promoting the development of affordable housing as well as increasing the earning potential of low- and moderate-income families. Making housing cheaper allows households to afford housing; raising incomes allows households to better afford everything. Despite its reputation, Central Indiana can do better in helping its citizens become less cost-burdened by housing.

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Posted by Allegra East on Nov 21, 2016

SAVI Magazine 2016 Financial Stability edition

emagazine-winter-2016-cover-finalFinancial stability for individuals and families is critical on many levels, providing a sense that one can, at minimum, consistently provide shelter and food. A living wage is a determining factor of economic stability; it is a path to quality education that provides marketable skills. Owning a home is often considered a reflection of a family’s financial health.

This magazine’s feature story, “A Better Foundation: Building Economic Prosperity with Truly Affordable Housing,” highlights a central theme of the report, The Affordable Housing Market and Why It Matters: that affordable housing encompasses a broader range of economic issues than the price of a home.

In addition, we share stories from area nonprofits that used SAVI data to help obtain funding for job training programs, and feature a new web tool, the community assessment and planning tool which allows users to develop custom and updatable research reports. Read now!

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