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10 facts about Indianapolis gentrification and how to fight back

$800 a month for this flooded apartment in Indianapolis. Photo: Doris Jones.

The ANSWER Coalition and the Party for Socialism and Liberation are organizing for housing justice in Indianapolis, and are distributing this fact sheet around the city. Join us for our next event: Speak out against slumlords and gentrification, which will take place on the corner of Washington & Delaware on Wednesday, July 31, at 4:00 pm.

Fact 1

Over the last 3 years in downtown Indianapolis, rents have increased at the same time as vacancies have increased. Rather than decrease rents, landlords would rather apartments sit empty. There are over 10,000 vacant or abandoned homes in Indianapolis.

Fact 2

Over half of new apartments built this year will be priced between $1,000 – $4,900 a month. Someone working two full-time jobs at minimum wage earns $2,513 a month before taxes.

Fact 3

One landlord (Bert Whalen) alone received more than 2 code violations every single day in 2018. He violated 1,800 codes from 2015-2019. The city fined him $700,000 but he hasn’t paid the majority of them, and owes thousands more in taxes.

Fact 4

Landlords and property management companies are open that they are only interested in profits. The front page of the Harvey Property Management Group website, for example, states clearly: “We manage your Indianapolis area property with one goal in mind, long term maximum profits.”

Fact 5

While most luxury apartments are built downtown, most code violations are reported in poor and working-class neighborhoods, primarily those with higher concentrations of people of color.

Fact 6

Tenants have few rights in Indiana. For example, tenants are not allowed to withhold rent until health and other code violations are addressed. This means that you still have to pay rent even if you have no hot water or heat! The police will force you out of your house for unpaid rent, but they won’t force the landlord to fix problems in your house.

Fact 7

Although Marion County only has 14 percent of the state’s population, it accounts for nearly 40 percent of the state’s evictions.

Fact 8

None of this could have happened without the complicity of the city-county and state governments. Currently Indiana does not require apartments to be inspected before tenants move in. The fines for violations are tiny, and there are even loopholes to avoid fines altogether.

Fact 9

Things can and should be different! Housing could be safe, accessible, affordable, and guaranteed. We can organize to institute legal reforms and to pursue direct action against slumlords.

Fact 10

You can get involved! To report your landlord or get justice for yourself, friends, family, or neighbors, e-mail, text, or call us!

Email: housing@answerindiana.org Phone: 317-662-0072
Email: indiana@pslweb.org Phone: 317-941-6466

Housing is a human right!

Sources:

Alexandria Burris (2019). More luxury apartments drive up Downtown Indianapolis vacancy rate, but rents remain steep. IndyStar, June 6.

Tim Cook & Tim Evans (2019). City cracks down on landlords after IndyStar probe of rental operation, investment schemes. IndyStar, July 17.

Indiana University Public Policy Institute (2019). Eviction Trends in Marion County (2010-2016).

Harvey Property Management. (no date). http://harveyproperty.com.