Muncie, Indiana, is located 50 miles from Indianapolis, the State capital, and 70 miles from Fort Wayne. With more than 73,000 residents, Muncie is one of the State's larger cities. Ball State University is situated within the city's boundaries, and the municipality is serviced by Delaware County Airport at Johnson Field.
The city will work to meet critical housing needs, better serve the homeless population, and develop parks and recreation areas. Muncie plans to meet short-term priority needs with strategic targeting of $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds (including $15,000 in program income) and $541,500 in HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funds.
To develop this Consolidated Plan, Muncie initiated an extensive consultation process involving public agencies, local groups, and nonprofit organizations. Citizen forums were held in public schools, a community center, Muncie City Hall, and in all public housing complexes. Over 150 people attended the forums. This process led to the creation of a Citizen's Advisory Board that included homeless, elderly, public housing, and low-income residents who were appointed for a 2-year period. Armed with citizen and community input, the city ranked needs and established priority levels for all programs in the plan.
Although they make up only 10 percent of Muncie's population, large numbers of African-, Asian-, and Native-American households earn less than $15,000 annually. Only one-third of these households rely on public assistance as their main source of income; in general, they constitute the city's working poor.
Just over half of Muncie's total population lives in moderate-income (under 80 percent of median family income or MFI) households, but 66 percent of Hispanic households, 67 percent of African-American households, and 73 percent of Asian-American and Pacific Islander households are in this category. Of Muncie's 14,534 moderate-income households, 88 percent are white.
When income categories are broken down further, the contrast increases. Low-income (0-50 percent of MFI) households make up 36 percent of all city households. In comparison 54 percent of African-American households and 68 percent of Asian-American and Pacific Islander households are low income.
Real estate prices and income levels in Muncie are not high, and the locality continues to experience a low sales rate. In 1992 building permits were issued for only 37 new single- family homes, which had an average value of $48,000. During 1994, 58 building permits were issued, but their average price had dropped to $33,105.
The efforts of nonprofit organizations to create new homeownership opportunities contributed to the lower costs. In 1990 homeowners outnumbered renters 57 percent to 43 percent, and the nonprofit organizations are working to increase this difference.
Rents, however, are high relative to income. One-bedroom apartments rent for $400 on average, and two-bedroom apartments rent for $522. Overall, the city contains 10,000 rental units for all income levels. Apartments and other attached housing types accommodate most of Muncie's low-income residents -- less than one-third live in single-family houses. High rents pose great difficulties for the poor. Among the lowest income residents (30 percent of MFI), young and minority renters bear the largest burden.
One-fourth of all households have severe cost burdens, paying more than 50 percent of their monthly income for housing. More than 60 percent of extremely low-income households, however, face the same situation. The large majority of these residents are not receiving housing assistance in any form, despite being qualified on the basis of income and family size. Although only 5 percent of owner households (811) in Muncie have experienced severe cost burden, three-fourths of those burdened households have extremely low incomes (less than 30 percent of MFI).
In addition, two out of five renter households in Muncie have cost burdens, paying over 30 percent of their income for housing. This number increases substantially when adjusted for income. Nearly four out of five extremely low-income renter households have cost burdens.
The picture is not much brighter for homeowners. Approximately 2,300 owner households face cost burdens. Half of those represented by this figure have extremely low incomes. Low-income African-American homeowners experienced disproportionately greater housing needs than did all other low-income owners. Citywide, 52 percent of low-income households reported housing problems, but for African-American low-income homeowners that figure rose to 69 percent. The same disparity was not found for renter households, where need was relatively the same regardless of race.
Serving the homeless population is one of the Muncie plan's highest priorities. Emergency shelters for intact families are required, as well as transitional housing with supportive services, permanent supportive housing, and permanent housing for families and individuals. To adequately serve this population, more counselors and case management services must be provided.
Currently, the homeless population in Muncie receives aid through the CDBG, HOME, and Muncie Housing Authority programs. The Muncie plan requests a direct CDBG grant of $17,000 to support one case manager for transitional housing.
While the majority of persons who are homeless or threatened with becoming homeless live within Muncie, this plan also considers individuals living in rural areas within Delaware County, Indiana.
Minorities disproportionately represent Muncie's homeless population -- 20 percent are either African American or Hispanic -- making up only 10 percent of the jurisdiction's general population.
The Muncie Housing Authority has an inventory of 802 units in 102 buildings. Three of its public housing complexes have been modernized, but a great deal more work is required to modernize all of the city's affordable housing stock. The Housing Authority also administers 336 certificates and 306 vouchers.
In addition, the Delaware County Housing Authority has 162 public housing units in Muncie and contributes between 75 and 100 certificates and vouchers for use by Muncie residents.
Housing costs and incentives to develop, maintain, and improve affordable housing are affected by public policy in Muncie. Local barriers include lax code enforcement, discriminatory zoning, and tax hardships for new homeowners and landlords hoping to improve their properties. Increasing the density of housing developments would have little effect on the number of affordable units available because Muncie is "built out."
Muncie city officials have reported no discriminatory rental or sales policies within the city's boundaries.
Low-income households constitute a slight majority of households with lead-based paint hazards. Overall, the city estimates that there are 19,300 homes containing lead-based paint within its boundaries, and of those, 11,080 are low-income residences.
According to the 1994-95 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Study, 1,041 elderly households at that time needed additional support services. Presently, there is a 6-month waiting period to evaluate the need for in-home services provided by Area 6 Community and Senior Services, Inc.
Persons with mental disabilities and incomes less than 30 percent of MFI need shared and individual housing that they can afford. A local agency, Comprehensive Mental Services, built, with the assistance of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a permanent 20-unit housing project with support services for this group. The units were filled almost immediately, however, and another 100 units are needed this year.
There is a serious lack of accessible units in Muncie for persons with disabilities. The few accessible units that are available include units in several Public Housing 202 communities and five units in a HOME-funded development.
Chemically dependent individuals, especially alcoholics, present a special housing problem in the city. An estimated 5 to 15 percent of Muncie's adult population need supportive housing because they are chemically dependent. Many of these individuals have very low incomes and are subsisting on General Assistance or Work Readiness funds.
The number of persons in Muncie who are HIV-positive or living with AIDS has increased recently but has not yet raised housing-related issues.
More services and nonhousing facilities are needed for low-income residents. Among the city's most pressing needs are parks, health services, education and job training, and homeowner maintenance workshops.
Through more than 20 public forums, citizens identified a common vision to create a safe and attractive community where families want to live, work, and play. Muncie residents support the vision of their city as a cherished "hometown" with a revitalized downtown that is once again the heart of the city.
The groups in greatest need of assistance are low-income renters, moderate-income potential homebuyers, and moderate-income elderly homeowners.
Assisting low-income renters in Muncie will require increasing the number of available standard rental units. The city anticipates using $350,000 in HOME funds for construction or rehabilitation of 15 units in 1995-96. A greater emphasis may be placed on larger families. In addition, the Muncie Housing Authority will continue to subsidize low-income renters with its nearly 700 Section 8 certificates and vouchers. This assistance, however, will help few new families.
Annually 10 moderate-income, potential first-time homebuyers will have access to $100,000 in HOME program funds set aside to help families reduce their mortgage principals. The Muncie Homeownership and Development Center hopes to counsel and train at least 50 moderate-income potential homebuyers in the skills required to purchase and maintain a home.
Additionally, $300,000 in CDBG funds will be designated for a Neighborhood Services and Community Development (NSCD)-administered Housing Rehabilitation Program that anticipates helping 20 elderly homeowner households per year. The Furnace Program and Emergency Housing Repair Program, administered by ACTION, Inc., anticipate replacing furnaces in 15 households and performing repairs to 150 low-income residences, including 115 occupied by elderly households.
For the homeless population, Muncie will provide:
CDBG funds will be used for continued revitalization of neighborhoods and for activities that benefit low- and moderate-income persons. Public facility improvements are also targeted, including parks, recreational facilities, community centers, and new park playground equipment. Over the next 5 years, $1.5 million CDBG funds will be used to improve streets, sidewalks, and curbs. Public services for low- and moderate-income residents is a high priority -- over $277,000 has been earmarked for this effort.
NSCD's primary goal is to assist in providing Muncie residents with safe, decent, and affordable housing opportunities. The agency has helped institute the NSCD Emergency Rehabilitation Grant program to rectify health and safety violations, as well as the Forgivable Loan Rehabilitation Program to assist between 100 and 150 households over the next 5 years. The NSCD Summer Paint program provides free paint for the exteriors of owner-occupied homes, while the Architectural Barriers Program improves accessibility in up to 50 homes. Muncie Housing Authority Resident Initiatives enhance the environment of public housing complexes.
The primary funding sources for the Consolidated Plan are CDBG and HOME funds and Section 8 assistance.
The Indiana Department of Commerce administers the Indiana Community Assistance Program, which awards State tax credits to nonprofit organizations that develop projects in economically disadvantaged areas. These organizations, in turn, can give the tax credits to their projects' financial contributors, who deduct 50 percent of the contribution from their State tax liability.
The Indiana Housing Finance Authority administers both the Indiana Housing Trust Fund and the Homeownership Tax Credit, known as the Mortgage Credit Certificate. Eligible homebuyers use the programs to take credits against their Federal tax liability.
Muncie will donate any suitable city-owned land for housing developments that benefit low- and moderate-income families. The city is also considering abating local property taxes for such developments.
A survey of three local banks revealed that over the next 5 years these institutions estimate that they will make over 450 mortgages, which are worth approximately $9 million, to low-income persons. In addition, $1.5 million in loans will be made available for home improvements.
NSCD will continue to take the lead role in building cooperation and coordination among local units of government, between public and assisted housing providers, and between private and governmental health, mental health, and service agencies. NSCD participates in a number of coalitions that will help coordinate resources and programs more effectively. These include the Coalition for Human Services, the Homeless Providers Network, the Housing Coalition of Delaware County, Partners to Promote Community Collaboration, and the Muncie Alliance of Neighborhood Association.
The jurisdiction estimates it will provide affordable housing to 969 families during the current year and some form of housing assistance to an additional 1,000 families.
Key projects in Muncie's Consolidated Plan include:
All key projects are located within the boundaries of the city of Muncie or Delaware County.
In Muncie, NSCD plays the central role in disbursing CDBG and HOME funds, monitoring progress, and defining policy.
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 projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 9 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).