Multicultural News

Housing inequity issues to take center stage at community development leader panel

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The housing inequities still visible today, experts say, have roots that go back generations.

Community members and Indianapolis leaders on Wednesday had a panel discussion at IU Herron School of Art + Design to outline the problems and offer solutions.

News 8 met up with two people who are helping lay the foundation for the discussion, touching on topics of spatial equity and gentrification’s impact in minority communities, but also white, lower-income communities.

Housing disparities are worse off today than they were in 1968 when acts addressing fair housing and urban development were signed into law. That’s according to architectural historian Jordan Ryan
At the continued rate of systemic disinvestment, the future looks grim.

“There’s a legacy there when we see neighborhoods that are segregated as they were 80 years ago, and who is passing homes down to the next generation,” Ryan said.

Ryan lives on the city’s southeast side. She says the the historical impacts of redlining, racial covenants, urban highways and urban renewal haven’t had the best results, particularly when it comes to communities of color.

“Equity theft, it’s all connected, and it’s a really messy complicated web that we’re trying to detangle, and you can only do so much intervention when the free market is going to do what the free market does,” Ryan asid.

She’s one of the people helping lead the panel discussion. Community development leaders will center the conversation around how policy, economics and culture intersect in urban environments. It’s not just how it impact communities of color, but others across the board.

Angie Calvert focuses her work on gentrification’s impact. Her family has called Fountain Square home for three generations, and the community she used to know is gone. “Gentrification is good to those who benefit. So, let’s think about who’s losing and who’s benefiting.”

“We suffered a huge loss of our community in Fountain Square. Generational population is gone, completely almost gone,” Calvert said. “We can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods.”

Taking a good look at the timeline of events that’s brought us the growing housing crisis, it’s important to use that as a base of knowledge to move forward.