Indiana Legislature advances bill aimed at rehabilitating dilapidated housing

Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 6:23 PM EDT
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INDIANAPOLIS (WNDU) - It looks like housing help may soon be on the way to St. Joseph County.

House Bill 1627 continues to advance through the Indiana General Assembly.

On Thursday, it cleared a Senate committee by a vote of 9-to-0. Last month, it passed the full house 96-to-1.

“Well, I’m excited to think that maybe in St. Joseph County and South Bend where I live that we’re adding this legislation,” Sen. Linda Rogers told committee members today.

More than 18 million people in the U.S. spend more than half their paycheck on housing, and 14,000 of them are in St. Joseph County. The housing stock in St. Joseph County is 5,000 homes shy of meeting the demand for low and moderate-income dwellings.

While Habitat for Humanity is mainly in the business of building new homes, it also rehabilitates existing homes.

The bill gives nonprofits special treatment in finding new flips at the annual county tax sale. Qualified nonprofits have the first option to bid on up to five percent of the tax sale properties.

The program began as a pilot in Marion County, where it led to the rehab of 23 homes.

St. Joseph County is poised to be the second pilot participant, although there was talk today of amending the bill to expand it statewide.

“This bill will help us address the number of delinquent vacant abandoned homes and increase the inventory of low to moderate housing for first-time homeowners,” said House Sponsor Rep. Maureen Bauer, D-South Bend.