Indiana only has 34 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely impoverished Hoosier households, according to housing advocates. (Photo/


By Marilyn Odendahl

The Indiana Citizen

June 10, 2024


A letter signed by nearly 500 Hoosier organizations and individuals was presented to Gov. Eric Holcomb on Monday as part of a continued effort to persuade him to establish a statewide housing commission to tackle Indiana’s “extreme housing crisis.”


The 485 signees to the letter, which include housing providers, developers, community service organizations, faith-based groups and individual Hoosiers, are asking the governor to issue an executive order creating a Commission on Housing Safety, Stability and Affordability. They see a commission as improving coordination among government agencies and assorted stakeholders to help address the state’s housing shortage and a shortfall in enforcing health and safety standards.


“Our state is in the midst of an extreme housing crisis,” Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana and a signee to the letter, said in an email. “This is not new to housing consumers, whether renters or wannabe homeowners, who have been struggling to keep roofs over their heads or build generational wealth through homeownership. There is a dire lack of affordable housing options in both our home sales and rental markets. We need a Commission that can thoroughly address these issues impacting so many Hoosiers.”


The idea for the commission was born from the failure to pass meaningful housing legislation during the 2024 session of the Indiana General Assembly and in previous legislative sessions. Despite 10 bills related to housing needs being introduced into the legislature in January and the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus focusing its agenda on housing concerns, the issue did not gain any traction.


The signees see a commission as overcoming the frustration in the Statehouse in two ways. First, they explained in the letter, a commission could find avenues through administrative and court rules to expand the housing supply without the need for legislation. Second, a commission could speak in a united voice to Indiana lawmakers and recommend new state statutes.


In the letter, the signees highlight Indiana’s ongoing housing problems. The state currently has only 34 affordable and available rental homes for every 100 extremely impoverished Hoosier households, the second-lowest rate in the Midwest, and 76% of those households spend more than half their income on housing expenses, the single-highest rate in the Midwest, according to  data cited in the letter.


Moreover, housing instability is threatening many Hoosier families. The signees said more than 72,000 Hoosiers households had an eviction notice filed against them in the past year, and an estimated 86,000 households – which includes 98,000 children – remain at risk for eviction.


In March, Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition released their report – “The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes” – which detailed the depth of Indiana’s housing problem. The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition, at that time, encouraged housing advocates to sign the letter asking for the commission.


“Contrary to the common claim that Indiana is an affordable place to live, the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition believes that the findings of this report confirmed what our members have witnessed on the ground throughout the state – that Indiana is failing to supply safe, healthy and affordable places for the most vulnerable Hoosiers to live,” Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana, said at the March news conference.


Those who signed the letter to the governor see a housing commission as functioning like the Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children, established in 2013, which has brought numerous stakeholders together to address the problem of abused and neglected youth. Similarly, the signees said, a housing commission could get administrative agencies, courts, local governments, legislators and advocates to work together to find solutions, rather than working in silos.


“Safe and stable housing is fundamental to the physical and mental health of all Hoosiers,” the letter states, “to the education and development of children, to the employability of adults, and to a thriving state economy.”


Dwight Adams, a freelance editor and writer based in Indianapolis, edited this article. He is a former content editor, copy editor and digital producer at The Indianapolis Star and, and worked as a planner for other newspapers, including the Louisville Courier Journal.


The Indiana Citizen is a nonpartisan, nonprofit platform dedicated to increasing the number of informed and engaged Hoosier citizens. We are operated by the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) public charity. For questions about the story, contact Marilyn Odendahl at




Related Posts