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$10 million property to help Hoosier students experiencing homelessness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — CVS Health is investing $10 million to build the soon-to-be St. Lucas Lofts, a 48-unit multifamily supportive housing community on the near Eastside.

“It will become the very foundation to helping them move one step closer to their hopes and dreams. It will become their reality. That sky is truly the limit,” said LaMar Holliday, a member of the board of directors with Outreach Inc.

The City of Indianapolis donated $2 million to the project to have 10 units reserved specifically for youth transitioning from homelessness. According to the Indiana Department of Education, data shows 16,380 Indiana students experienced homelessness in the 2018-2019 academic year. Nearly 5,000 of those students are Black and African-American.

“We need to embrace them with every part of our being and make them the community of the future,” said Lena Barkley with CVS Health Workforce Initiatives. “They are our future and if we don’t work with them, what is that future going to look like?”

However, the city still faces challenges with battling out-of-state investors who often buy large amounts of property and raise the rent of neighborhoods.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said, “We keep a pretty close eye on ownership, particularly on properties that we most recently have been trying to acquire from, how shall I say, absentee landlords who care very little about the quality of the property itself.”

Last week, I-Team 8 found out-of-state investors were a key problem in the homeownership gap between Black and white Hoosiers staying at 38%, the same as it was in the 1960s. Hogsett says the hope is more affordable housing will create more opportunities for future homeownership. “I think it comes in steps, but I think that the commitment that the city is making along with all of our partners is going to be transformative for the entire community.” 

Construction on St. Lucas Lofts is expected to be complete by February 2024 and open for leasing by summer 2024.