ARPA Committee Sets Aside $5 Million for Affordable Housing, Asks Cities to Follow Suit

The Hamilton County Commissioners and County Council plan to set aside five million dollars for affordable housing in Hamilton County.

The American Rescue Plan Act allows for contributions to be spent on two federal programs – the National Housing Trust Fund and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program. The first increases and preserves the supply of safe and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low-income and very low-income households. The latter provides grants to fund the building, buying, or rehabilitating of affordable housing for low-income households.

“The need is very real,” Amy Massillamany, a member of the Council’s ARPA committee says. “Many of our neighbors and friends here in Hamilton County have financially struggled over the course of the pandemic. We owe it to them to use this funding to provide them with more housing security.”

Half of the five million dollars being allocated to affordable-housing projects would come from the current round of ARPA funding. The other half would be allocated in the next round of funding. The dollars would be reserved until the Hamilton County Housing Coalition identifies a project that meets the ARPA committee’s goals. 

The Coalition is made up of the Hamilton County Association of Neighborhood Development (HAND), Family Promise of Hamilton County, the Westfield-Washington Township Trustee’s Office, and the Noblesville Housing Authority. The Coalition estimates it would cost $51 million to launch a countywide program that adequately addresses the issues at hand. It has already identified $31 million through Community Development Block Grants.  “These dollars could be truly transformational,” says County Commissioner Christine Altman. “The more we invest, the more impact we can make. That’s why we’re challenging Hamilton County’s cities to follow our lead and commit ARPA dollars to making sure our residents can afford to live in our great county.”