Multicultural News

Flanner House works to improve Black homeownership odds

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Threats of gentrification are helping push forward Flanner House’s homeownership program. Representatives are pulling from the organization’s past to help stabilize the community before residents are priced out.

Flanner House representatives said that even today many in the Black community don’t trust financial institutions because they remember how redlining impacted their parents or grandparents. So, even those who qualify for homeownership often choose to rent.

At 123 years old, Flanner House is the oldest social service agency specifically focused on the Black community.

“Currently, there are still about 500-600 homes throughout Indianapolis that have been built,” said Flanner House Executive Director Brandon Cosby.

“What does a program for homeownership look like for people in this neighborhood who may already be credit ready and credit qualified?” he said. “But because they are the children of or grandchildren of people who were redlined, (the) have a very serious miss trust of financial institutions.”

The Flanner House fund pays for the properties and renovations, eventually allowing homeowner hopefuls to buy them with loans at a lower appraised value. The first of three just finished construction.

Speaking of a new homeowner, Cosby said, “She was financially in a position to be able to do it. But there was still that hesitancy and mistrust because she remembers how her parents and her grandparents had been treated.”

Cosby said this is a great first step, but the organization is looking for more people to feed into its fund, allowing them to buy more properties outright and creating space for more construction and renovation at a time.