The city of Kokomo, Indiana, is about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. Kokomo was established in 1842 as a trading post on a site purchased from the Miami Indians. The town became the county seat of Howard County in 1844, and an incorporated city in 1865. Kokomo's factories have produced a variety of products, including auto parts, plumbing supplies, steel tools, glass, playground equipment, and electronic controls.
In its Consolidated Plan, the City of Kokomo describes its housing and community development needs and priorities, and provides a 5-year strategy for addressing these needs using Federal and other resources. For the first year of the plan, Kokomo is requesting $1,280,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. This money will be used to finance the 5 housing, community development, and service activities planned for Fiscal Year 1995-1996.
Community agencies and organizations were consulted during the initial preparation of the Consolidated Plan. Three advertised public hearings followed, two of which were held while the plan was still being developed. Written and verbal comments were accepted, and the Citizens Review Committee met to review potential projects for CDBG allocations. The State, county, and adjacent local governments were informed of the city's community development needs and plans. Although a summary of the plan was published for public comment, copies of the actual plan were available during the public comment period.
Kokomo's population, according to the 1990 census, was 44,962, a decrease of 6 percent from 1980. As the population declines, the availability of homes increases. Unfortunately, many of these homes are in older neighborhoods, and in disrepair. About 32 percent of Kokomo's houses were built before 1939, requiring repairs and improvements in order to meet building code standards.
Of the 18,659 households in Kokomo, about 47 percent have annual incomes at 80 percent or less of median family income (MFI). Analysis of 1990 census data showed the following levels of low- and moderate-income households:
According to the 1990 census, about 10 percent of Kokomo's households are minority households. There were 16,831 non-Hispanic white households. Households of racial or ethnic minorities included:
Housing is relatively inexpensive in Kokomo. Rent levels and sales prices of existing homes are lower than the average for Indiana. For the fourth quarter of 1993, the National Association of Home Builders ranked Kokomo's median home price of $71,000 as the third most affordable city in the Nation for a new home.
There is a need for affordable rental properties for low-income residents, (0 to 50 percent MFI). These residents are in the group most likely to be severely cost burdened by spending more than half of its income on housing or to be living in substandard quarters. At this income level, renters make up about 75 percent of households. About 25 percent of low- income households are elderly. 42 percent of the homeowners and 58 percent of the renters are cost burdened. There is a need for housing for large and extremely low-income families who spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses.
There are 20,340 units in Kokomo's housing stock. Of these, 18,664 are occupied, while 1,676 are vacant. Of the occupied units, 6,954 are renter-occupied, and 11,710 are owner- occupied.
Census data from 1990 indicate that the median value of owner-occupied housing was $41,400, with 57 percent (6,562 properties) valued less than $50,000. In the second quarter of 1992, the median price of a sold home was $50,000. By comparison, the median sales price was $73,500 for Indiana during the same period, and $106,500 for the Nation.
During the fourth quarter of 1994, the median price of a new home in Kokomo was $71,000, according to the National Association of Home Builders. New construction most often occurs in subdivisions on the outskirts of the city, and prices on these homes are prohibitive for low- to moderate-income families.
Rental prices are considered too expensive for extremely low- and low-income families, unless they receive rental subsidies.
A significant proportion of lower-income households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing, and utilities. Some are severely cost- burdened, paying more than 50 percent of their income for housing expenses.
Of households with incomes of 0 to 30 percent of the median family income, 76 percent are cost burdened, and 52 percent are severely cost burdened. Of those with incomes of 31 to 50 percent of median family income, 42 percent are cost burdened, while 10 percent carry a severe cost burden, paying over 50 percent of household income for housing.
A homeless count during the early morning hours of October 27, 1994, found a total of 34 homeless persons in two Kokomo shelters. No unsheltered persons were identified in a thorough check of abandoned buildings, vacant houses, parks, and other places where homeless persons might sleep. The sheltered homeless were all adults over age 18, and no homeless families were found.
Nine of the homeless were in the Family Intervention Center, which shelters persons fleeing domestic violence. This shelter is filled to capacity daily, and a larger facility is under construction with first occupancy scheduled for January 1996.
There are no sheltered youths because of a 60-bed youth center, which houses homeless as well as delinquent younger persons. Furthermore, homeless young people in this center are not considered homeless because they are under supervision.
The Kokomo Housing Authority (KMA) operates a total of 552 public housing units in 6 projects and scattered sites. It has 488 applicants on its Federal preference waiting list, 147 for low-rent public housing and 341 for Section 8 rental assistance. Federal preference is accorded applicants who must spend more than 50 percent of their income for housing, who live in substandard housing, or who are involuntarily displaced. However, only 13 percent of the combined waiting list qualifies for Federal preference, leaving 2,282 applicants without Federal preference on the waiting list.
No serious local impediments to the development of affordable housing have been identified. The Consolidated Plan points out that some Federal and State policies inhibit affordable housing. These policies include the lack of additional Section 8 certificates and vouchers, lack of funding to build more public housing, and excessive requirements for elderly housing.
Kokomo's Human Relations Commission, which conducts fair housing outreach, is funded through local public funds. For 1995, the commission will spend a projected $55,229.
18 months ago, the Howard County Board of Health created a Healthy Children's Clinic to screen children for high levels of lead in their blood. So far, of 782 tests given, two cases have been identified as Class 3 moderate risks.
Estimates, based upon HUD guidelines and data on the age of the housing stock, suggest that 2,696 low-income and 5,034 very low-income households live in households that contain lead-based paint, which may be hazardous to younger children.
There are also housing and supportive needs for the elderly, mentally disabled, mentally ill, physically disabled, substance abusers, and victims of domestic violence. In general, each group has a similar need for affordable and accessible housing, although each group requires different types of supportive services.
Managers of organizations providing services for mentally disabled and/or mentally ill persons report a need for additional housing space for this population. The organizations note that competition for space in their programs has increased since the closing of Central State Hospital in Indianapolis. Howard Community Psychiatric Services say that mental health professionals expect to see a greater influx of patients over the next few years as the parents of mentally handicapped persons either age and die, or become physically unable to care for their dependent adult children.
101 persons, who are severely and persistently mentally ill, or who are mentally or developmentally disabled, are now receiving treatment and care from three local facilities. Another 107 persons are on the waiting lists of Howard County Psychiatric Services, the Howard County Home, and Bona Vista Comprehensive Rehabilitation Center.
A 1992 study of Kokomo's sanitary sewer system identified 16 local segments in need of improvements. Infrastructure needs also include street and sidewalk renovations in lower- income neighborhoods.
Public facility needs include improvements to a neighborhood community center and gymnasium, more childcare centers, and improvements to parks and recreational facilities, such as ball fields.
Economic development needs include rehabilitation of industrial space and sites as well as the upgrading of roads that serve commercial-industrial districts. A micro business loan program and technical advice for new businesses are also needed.
Continued assistance is needed for nonprofit organizations and facilities providing Kokomo's lower-income households with child care, substance abuse counseling, transportation, health care, and other services.
A diverse team of citizens and community representatives with specialized knowledge was formed to consider the community's total quality of life and needs. After completing individual survey forms, team members came together for two meetings in which they assessed the community's current status, "visioned" what the ideal would be, determined need, and considered actions. Factors considered were economic vitality, consumer opportunity, infrastructure, transportation, public services, health and safety, education, housing, natural environment, recreation, community character, and community life.
The city's general priorities for housing are to provide affordable housing for the widest possible segment of the community.
A goal of Kokomo's Community Development Plan is to use funding allocations to support the efforts of other entities, while undertaking tasks best suited tothe duties of municipal government. An example is this year's combined effort by the City and the nonprofit AZUSA Community Development Corporation to address the affordable housing priority.
AZUSA is using $1,925,000 in Indiana HOME funds, private money, and Home Loan Bank loans to rehabilitate or construct 275 affordable homes over 5 years. Kokomo is using part of its CDBG funds to construct a street, and storm and sanitary sewers, which will access a parcel of land AZUSA is developing for some of this housing.
Housing priorities established for Kokomo's 5-year strategic plan include:
Housing priorities for the homeless and persons with special needs (mental and physical health disorders) include:
Kokomo's infrastructure priorities include:
Goals for economic development are:
Public facility priorities are:
In the area of public services, there are a variety of needs, including improved public transportation, handicapped services, and expanded childcare capabilities. However, health-care services receive priority, especially Planned Parenthood of East Central Indiana for its continued funding, testing, and treating of sexually transmitted diseases.
An element of the strategy designed to reduce the number of persons and families living below the poverty level helps the impoverished spend less of their income on housing and more on the other necessities of life. Programs include rehabilitation of housing, such as weatherization, which makes units more cost efficient.
Kokomo's Revolving Loan Fund helps businesses increase the number of jobs for lower- income people. The Kokomo Housing Authority's Self-Sufficiency Program provides government assistance, including job training, but requires a participant to secure a job, become self sufficient, and waive all government assistance within 5 years.
Resources available for the strategic plan include estimated CDBG funding of $6,400,000 over the 5-year period, plus funds from Federal, State, and local general revenues as well as other sources.
Critical to the success of the 5-year plan is the involvement of over 25 nonprofit private housing and service-providing organizations as well as city, county, and State agencies.
Kokomo's Department of Urban Development and Design will continue to consult with local service providers, updating them on available Federal and State grant moneys, and coordinating implementation of planned strategies.
For the program year 1995-1996, Kokomo plans to use $1,280,000 in CDBG entitlement funds, for 5 activities that address specific housing, community development, and public services; and $26,600 in income from a revolving loan fund which will be available for additional loans in that program to assist eligible businesses.
Community development allocations include:
For housing, $365,000 is budgeted for the Kokomo Housing Renewal Program in order to continue a project that has completely rehabilitated 164 homes since 1980. This phase of the renewal program will assist eligible low-income homeowners citywide with moderate rehabilitation projects.
For social service funding, $10,500 is designated for the testing and treating of sexually transmissible diseases among low-income residents unable to afford such testing.
Housing rehabilitation, demolition and clearance efforts, and medical STD testing will be conducted citywide, as appropriate. Street improvements will be planned for East Lordeman Street and the Madison Street extension, both in Census Tract 2.
Activities planned for this year's Action Plan are expected to benefit 300 persons, and to improve 13 housing units, and to demolish and clear 5 structures. No estimate is made of the number of households that will benefit from the street improvements in the two neighborhoods where the work is planned.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).