[ONLINE] - Displaced in America: Housing Loss in Indianapolis


Indianapolis is one of the largest cities in America, with a rich African American history. Like so many Midwestern centers, it blends innovation with a production economy and seeks to find balance with the smaller towns and rural communities with which it trades people, services, and culture. Also, like so many locations in the Great Migration region, Indianapolis struggles with rapid economic progress against the backdrop of segregation and systemic racism. An emblem and a casualty of this dynamic? Safe, affordable housing.

With one of the highest eviction rates in the country, property loss isn’t a new story in Indianapolis. And yet, as we brace for a tsunami of evictions and foreclosures as the result of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, we know little about these traumatic events. Where is forced displacement most acute? Who is most at risk? Why does housing loss occur? And what happens to people once they are displaced.

To understand how economic and racial dynamics are bound to housing, a fundamental human right, researchers from New America’s Future of Property Rights program teamed up with New America - Indianapolis and the Institute for American Thought at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to analyze five years of Marion County eviction, mortgage foreclosure, and tax foreclosure data and work with local leaders and residents to better understand property loss and the potential human cost. Over a five year period from 2014 to 2018, we found that:

  • 57,960 households were evicted in Marion County, a 6.8 percent eviction rate.
  • 18,765 households were foreclosed upon in Marion County, a foreclosure rate of 2.7 percent. Mortgage foreclosure accounted for 24 percent of all housing loss in Indianapolis during this five-year period.
  • Generally, census tracts with above-average eviction rates are on the periphery of downtown Indianapolis. These tracts are home to more Black households, the demographic group with the second-strongest association with evictions, behind Latinx households.

Join New America, The Indianapolis Recorder, NUVO Newsweekly and Indianapolis leaders for this discussion of new research, old stories, and a community’s vision for tackling one of the country’s most intractable problems.

Part 1: Exploring the Research (45 min)

Tim Robustelli (Future of Property Rights) and Abbey Chambers (New America Indianapolis) will discuss findings and Marion County insights from the Displaced in America report with Oseye Boyd of The Indianapolis Recorder and Dan Grossman of NUVO.

Part 2: Local Experts Respond - Why Race Matters When You Talk about Housing in Indy (45 min)

Indianapolis residents and leaders will discuss findings and a path forward:

  • Malcom Glenn, New America Fellow
  • Molly Martin, New America Indianapolis
  • Andrew Bradley, Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana
  • Dee Ross, The Ross Foundation

Thank you to our partners:

Indianapolis Recorder