Gary, Indiana’s steel industry boomed in the 1960s, providing jobs to many of the city’s 180,000 residents. A half-century later, due to the industry’s steady decline, the city is economically-distressed. Many of its 80,000 residents are unemployed and/or homeless, and struggle to find affordable housing in an area with high demand and low stock. But the City of Gary, along with Broadway Area CDC and Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH), have come together to reverse that trend with the Northwest Indiana Veterans Village.
In 2012, the city provided local nonprofit Broadway Area CDC with vacant land to develop a supportive housing project for homeless veterans. The CDC knew it wouldn’t be able to secure the necessary start-up financing because the property’s location in a blighted neighborhood greatly lowered its economic value. Despite these issues, CSH, a CDFI that specializes in affordable housing projects, knew the project plan was strong and that its partners were committed to success.
In 2013, CSH awarded Broadway CDC a $414,000 loan to develop the land into supportive housing and a culinary training center for veterans. In November of that year, the CDC broke ground on the Northwest Indiana Veterans Village.
Once it’s completed, the Village will provide 44 extremely-low income veterans and their families with fully-furnished one-bedroom apartments.
The complex will also feature a gym, computer room, and rooftop garden. Additionally, residents and other low-income veterans will have access to services, such as job training.
The project was made possible by CSH’s 2012 NEXT Award, granted for the CDFI’s plan to increase supportive housing development across the country by expanding into an additional 10 large, underserved markets. Such expansion will add 11,500 new housing units and provide a replicable model for other CDFIs.
CSH helps build housing that lets homeless and disabled people connect to homes, health care, jobs, and the community, such as this direly-needed, and much-welcomed project in Gary.
(Date of loan: 2013. Date of story publication: 2017)