Advocates seek to stop closing of low-income apartments for older adults in Zionsville
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Older adults at a Zionsville apartment complex say they are being pushed out, and the stress they say of finding somewhere to live in the middle of a housing crisis is too much to bear.
Roughly 40 older adults, their supporters and even state lawmakers on Tuesday filled the area outside BHI Senior Living headquarters in Indianapolis to hand-deliver a petition asking the apartments’ operators to reconsider their decision to not renew their U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development contract.
Supporters say they’ve been reaching out to BHI for several months with no word.
Older residents of Crawford Manor apartments say they can’t wait any longer for answers. They showed up at BHI Senior Living, the agency that owns the apartments to get answers.
In a brief exchange outside the building, BHI representatives spoke with residents in what appeared at times contentious.
In February, the residents in the 100-unit Zionsville complex were given notice to move out to make way for demolition.
Residents say Asians make up around a quarter of the population in the apartment complex. Cong Wang and is one of the older adults who after 14 years will have to find somewhere else to go.
Through an interpreter he said, “Some of us have lived here for about more than 10 years, but the longest resident is more than 20 years already.”
Housing advocates say the plans for demolition come as BHI decided against renewing its contract with HUD. For 40 years, they say, Crawford Manor has been part of an HUD-subsidized contract for low-income older adults.
Hoosier Action representatives; state Rep. Becky Cash, a Republican from Zionsville, and state Sen. J.D. Ford, a Democrat from Indianapolis, helped the older adults deliver a petition of 1,000 signatures asking BHI to change course.
“Because of the age and also because of the health issues, many of us cannot drive,” Wang said.
Sherri Kelley struggles with mobility and says she’s been trying to find somewhere else to live, but the places she found aren’t suited to meet her needs. “We feel they’re think we’re old, and we could just lay down and die,” she said.
“I’ve never been one to stand back and watch injustice.”
BHI says they’ve been transparent with residents.
For now, the older adults and their supporters will wait for a response to see what’s next for them.
“BHI takes the concerns of these residents seriously and will respond to their request for a meeting. After fulfilling our nearly 40-year agreement with HUD, the decision was made not to renew the contract and to close Crawford Manor in mid-2024. All reasonable efforts are being made to assist residents who request support throughout the transition process. We will continue to provide this assistance until Crawford Manor closes.”
Nancy Nelson, vice president of public relations and communications, BHI