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First house sold in Educators’ Village goes to teacher

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – A new income-based housing development sold its first home and the buyer was a teacher. The Educators' Village located near 10th and Rural streets is targeting teachers to help Indianapolis Public Schools and urban chartered schools attract and retain teachers.

Near East Area Renewal, or NEAR, is behind the 22-home development. The project was even backed by the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership (INHP), which contributed $2.6 million to help get the developers going on the work.

To date, 15 homes are either completed or being constructed. NEAR executive director John Franklin Hay said the final seven homes will begin construction in September and October.

"The first house we sold to a teacher," said Franklin Hay. "That’s pretty encouraging. That’s good news."

Anyone who financially qualifies can apply for a home in the neighborhood. Some homes are available to households making less than 120 percent of the area median income (AMI). Others are available to those making less than 80 percent of the AMI limit.

Franklin Hay said financial levels recently changed for who would qualify, and new teachers in the city would fit the group.

"We know teachers are underpaid and overworked," he said. "With that, they make some of the greatest neighbors in the community. They become community leaders. So, we want them here."

Not everyone who has applied has gotten approved. NEAR said 37 applications have been submitted for possibly going further into the process. Of those, 17 were teachers.

Of the teachers, one purchased a home in Educators' Village, three more are in underwriting with INHP, and one more is approved if their current home sells.

Three other teachers decided to buy homes elsewhere, three were denied credit, and four backed out due to a variety of reasons.

The news of teachers not qualifying and ending the process early has gotten to the teaching industry. However, Franklin Hay said the project shouldn't be judged after only one completed sale.

"I would hate for some judgment to be passed on the Educators’ Village as a project based on this early in the ball game," said Franklin Hay.

While IPS leaders can't force any teacher to move into the neighborhood, they are optimistic about the program, even encouraging other stakeholders in the district to have a conversation about how they can help the school make long-term hires.

“It’s no secret there is a teacher shortage nationwide, particularly here in Indianapolis where it’s very competitive with ten schools districts in Marion County and competitive districts in our donut counties," said IPS spokesperson Carrie Cline Black. "So, any competitive edge we can get to recruit and retain talented, young, dynamic educators is a wonderful plus for us."