Eligible IUPUI employees have until the end of the year to take the university up on an offer that provides forgivable loans for a down payment on a house or to help pay for exterior home repairs.
The Anchor Housing program is a pilot program that launched in 2016 in partnership with the Indy Chamber and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership.
Participating IUPUI employees who are purchasing homes near or already live near campus could get thousands of dollars in the form of five-year forgivable loans. Funds are first-come, first served.
“It’s all about longevity and stability,” said Jennifer Boehm, assistant vice chancellor in the Office of Community Engagement.
Boehm, who leads the partnership on the IUPUI side, said the program gives employees an incentive that’s good for them, for the university and for the communities around campus.
To qualify, employees have to be a full-time benefits-eligible employee in good standing and have a household income at or below 120 percent of the area median income as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. For a family of two, that’s an annual income of $76,680, and for a family of four, it’s $95,880.
Employees must purchase or already live in a home within the program boundaries, which include ZIP codes 46224, 46222, 46208 and 46241 as well as 46221 within I-465. That home must be their primary residence.
How-to for homebuyers
Once accepted to the program, employees can get up to $10,000 in down payment assistance or up to $5,000 to make exterior home repairs. Both amounts are forgivable loans if the employee lives in the home for five years. Each year, on the anniversary month that the employee closed on their loan, 20 percent of the loan balance will be forgiven.
Started as a pilot program, the Anchor Housing program will end either when funds are all allocated or by the end of the year, said Trevor Meeks, vice president of single-family lending at INHP.
IUPUI employees who still want to participate have until Dec. 31 to apply for a loan, then an additional 90 days to find a home and 60 more days to close, he said.
Since the program launched at IUPUI, more than 150 employees have reached out, and five have closed on a home loan – four of those for a down payment on a house and one on funds for home repairs.
“We would like to see more employees take advantage of this program, and we consider helping five IUPUI employees to buy or repair a home to be a success,” Meeks said.
To fund the loans, IUPUI and other anchor institutions – 14 in total – matched an amount set aside by INHP for the program.
All told, the 14 anchor institutions committed more than $1 million to be matched by INHP. And Meeks said more than half has already been used.
After Dec. 31, any of INHP’s remaining Anchor Housing Program funds will likely be allocated to another area of need in the community.
One of the biggest areas in which INHP has seen a need is affordable housing supply. Meeks said that median home prices continue to rise, and affordable homes are often only on the market for days or weeks, compared to months. INHP has begun to develop affordable homes in neighborhoods across the city to help address the shortage.
Fresh for 2019, IUPUI and the Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership have expanded the Anchor Housing program offered in partnership with the Indy Chamber.
University employees who want to purchase a new home or make exterior repairs to their current house can now take advantage of financial assistance in three more neighborhoods: Joining portions of Near West are portions of Riverside, Ransom Place and River West.
Current homeowners who qualify can get help paying for roof repairs, new siding, windows or other external home-improvement projects. Those wanting to buy a home within the four neighborhoods can utilize the new Mortgage Accelerator loan from INHP, a fixed-rate home loan featuring a below-market interest rate and a shorter loan term with little impact on the monthly payment.
IUPUI employees who want to purchase a home and qualify under existing program guidelines could receive up to $10,000 in down-payment assistance. If they select the Mortgage Accelerator loan option from INHP, they will save money on interest because the loan payment term will be reduced from 30 years to 20. To qualify, employees must have a household income at or below 120 percent of the area median income as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The benefits of living close to work have been well-documented.
“Studies show that when you live close to work, you reap the benefits of a shorter commute. People often experience higher levels of discretionary income and have more time to be an active member of the community,” said Melissa Geitgey, director of marketing and communications for INHP. “Additionally, we want to help people remain comfortably in their homes and continue to live in the neighborhoods they love.”
The Anchor Housing home purchase and home repair options have been used by IUPUI staff members in the last couple of years. Employees who take advantage of the home repair option get support from INHP to ensure repair specifications are accurate. Potential homeowners must complete homebuyer education classes and can benefit from INHP’s mortgage and credit advising programs.
Terisa Branson of Campus Facility Services completed those classes before moving into her new home Dec. 18, 2017, on West 13th Street, just a few houses down from a property she had rented for years. With increasing rent and wanting more space, she needed to make a change.
The house down the block caught her eye two years ago. After checking it out, she realized it was smaller than her rental. The then-owner put on an addition to bring the square footage up to 1,247, and with the Anchor Housing program on her side, Branson got the keys. It only took her one day to move in to the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house.
“It has a full-size kitchen, and I had a carport built on the back, plus a new roof and siding,” Branson said. “I had money set aside, as I was planning on moving anyway, but Anchor Housing really helped me out.”
And, she says, the pride of homeownership has been a bonus.
“I love it,” Branson said. “It feels wonderful to have my own home.”
For more information about the IUPUI Anchor Housing Program, log on to www.INHP.org/IUPUI and contact Dave Nash, mortgage lending sales manager for INHP, at 317-610-4641 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boehm added that IUPUI has expanded the area for the program twice, including earlier this fall.
“A lot of it is timing and the market,” she said, adding that there needs to be a sweet spot of home prices, and that despite the added area, it’s a small market.
A program like this helps to revitalize and strengthen neighborhoods, Meeks added, saying that employees who live close to work are able to reduce their commuting costs, which frees up more of their disposable income that can then be invested into the community.
Plus, it has built stronger relationships with community partners like INHP and IUPUI.
Meeks said because of this program, he now has a working relationship with IUPUI to collaborate and connect in the future.
“Building that relationship with IUPUI and the other anchors has been phenomenal,” he said.