Two northern Indiana cities, South Bend and Mishawaka, joined forces with the county they occupy to form the St. Joseph County Consortium. These governmental units recognized that affordable housing, homeless assistance, and support service needs extend beyond jurisdictional boundaries. They also recognized that by sharing resources and planning cooperatively, they could advance their collective housing and community development goals more effectively. The Consortium developed the Consolidated Plan for all three jurisdictions and will coordinate efforts to carry it out.
This Consolidated Plan proposes to use Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership, and Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) for a variety of projects including housing rehabilitation, weatherization, fair housing, revolving housing loans, services for low-income and special-needs populations, neighborhood improvement, and business development. Total CDBG expenditures will be $4.1 million in South Bend and $700,000 in Mishawaka. ESG funds will total $99,000 and HOME expenditures will be $990,000.
To solicit potential citizen input into the Consolidated Plan, the Mayor of South Bend convened a Neighborhood Planning Forum in the spring of 1994. As a result more than 250 people, including at least 65 from lower income neighborhoods, were asked to attend subsequent planning forum meetings. Participants in earlier planning processes, such as the CHAS, took part in these sessions. Information, comments, and suggestions made at these meetings were used in developing the consortium's plan.
Copies of drafts of the plan were available at public locations in South Bend and Mishawaka, including all St. Joseph County branch libraries. Four formal public hearings were held on the plan and consortium staff responded to comments. The consolidated plan will be reviewed annually for updating.
MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.
South Bend and Mishawaka are parts of a strong industrial center near the Michigan border. South Bend traces its manufacturing roots to a plant the Studebaker brothers converted from wagon building to automobile production. St. Joseph County is the home of the University of Notre Dame.
The county's population has been generally stable over the past 30 years, increasing from 238,614 to 247,052. The minority population of the county increased from 6.3 percent to 12.2 percent between 1960 and 1990. Eighty-four percent of the minority population lives in South Bend, as does 92 percent of the African-American population and 68 percent of the Hispanic population. The "area of minority concentration" is an area where at least 20 percent of the population in any given block group is either African-American, Hispanic, Asian, or Native-American.
In the past decade, the South Bend/Mishawaka area has experienced growth in retail trade, professional services, health care, and educational facilities. High-paying jobs that once abounded in this and other older manufacturing areas no longer exist. While average real earnings rose nationally between 1956 and 1984, they fell 8 percent in South Bend. The 1990 median family incomes in South Bend ($29,576) and Mishawaka ($30,782) were below the St. Joseph County median of $34,206.
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.
From 1980 to 1990, St. Joseph County experienced significant growth in new housing development, 60 percent of it occurring in unincorporated areas. Twenty-six percent occurred in Mishawaka and 14 percent occurred in South Bend.
Needs of both homeowners and renters in the generally recognized income categories are described as follows: Extremely low-income, homeowning households (0 to 30 percent of median family income, or MFI). A majority of owners in this category live in the two cities, with more than 55 percent of them in South Bend. There are almost twice as many elderly households than all other types of extremely low-income owners. This income group includes the largest percentages of households with cost burdens of greater than 30 percent and 50 percent. In general, owners in this income category need assistance with rehabilitation, maintenance, utilities, and budgeting. Elderly homeowners often need food delivery and home nursing care.
In general, renters in the extremely low-income category need income assistance and a first-time homebuyer program. There appears to be a higher incidence of vacancies in the renter-occupied market. Counter to conventional free-market economic theories, however, the current excess number of rental units has not lowered rental rates sufficiently to make them affordable to the more than 2,500 families on the Housing Authority's waiting list.
Very low-income households (31 to 50 percent MFI). Elderly owners in this category also need assistance with rehabilitation, maintenance, utilities, food preparation, and home nursing care. Renters need income assistance and first-time homebuyer programs.
Low-income households (51 to 80 percent of MFI). The needs of owners and renters in this classification do not appear to be significantly different from those in the very low category. However, large-family renting households would benefit from rehabilitation to make more suitable units available.
Moderate-income households (81 to 95 percent MFI). Because of maintenance expenses, owners at this income level may still need some degree of assistance. Many of those in need live in smaller towns where housing is limited and therefore relatively expensive. Renters have rather static housing expenses. Higher income does not necessarily mean higher housing expenses. Fewer renters in this income category need housing assistance.
In the past 30 years, the number of rental units increased by 10,860 in all of the consortium's jurisdictions. Approximately 85 percent of these units were built in South Bend and Mishawaka. General perceptions indicate that owner-occupied housing stock in South Bend is being converted to rental units, but little reinvestment in these properties is occurring. Consequently, deterioration leads to higher vacancy rates, abandonment, and ultimately demolition.
A strong increase in owner-occupied units has occurred in Mishawaka and the rest of the county. South Bend has lost approximately 3,000 owner-occupied units. Despite this reduction, low vacancy rates illustrate the continued strength of homeownership in that city.
The consortium recognizes four basic concerns of the homeless in St. Joseph County:
There are more than 1,200 project-based assisted housing units in St. Joseph County. The South Bend Housing Authority has 877 units. For them, it has a renovation program at a cost of $1.5 million a year. The Authority also administers 44 scattered-site units. It has a waiting list of 1,500 households with some waiting periods lasting well over 18 months. In addition, the South Bend Housing Authority administers 1,395 Section 8 certificates and vouchers.
The Mishawaka Housing Authority administers 347 units at 4 sites. Renovation is under way at 2 sites.
The Housing Assistance Office (HAO) of St. Joseph County administers 211 Section 8 units for the Mishawaka Housing Authority and 200 Section 8 certificates and vouchers in the county outside the 2 cities.
A systematic study of potential barriers to affordable housing has not been undertaken in St. Joseph County. The consortium's review of permit procedures, building and tax codes, and standards for manufactured housing did not find any significant restrictions to the development of affordable housing.
The South Bend Human Rights Commission administers antidiscrimination legislation within the city and conducts research to determine the extent of residential discrimination. An audit of the area rental market in 1984 led the Commission to conclude that discrimination, both blatant and subtle, existed in St. Joseph County. This finding prompted HUD to provide a grant to expand its rental and sales market studies. The agency plans to expand its jurisdiction for fair housing enforcement to include all of St. Joseph County. This will be preceded by a countywide education effort.
Both Mishawaka and St. Joseph County have certified that they will affirmatively further fair housing within their jurisdictions and complete analyses of impediments to housing choice.
Of the 23,599 housing units in St. Joseph County built before 1949, 21,239 (90 percent) may contain lead-based paint.
The consortium lacked the time to adequately develop guidance principles for community development. It found that there is more than sufficient material to support expenditures for community development needs and will devote more attention to this subject when the consolidated plan is reviewed in 1995.
The Consolidated Plan brings housing and community development needs and resources together in a coordinated manner. Among the factors that will influence implementation of the plan are refinement of housing and support services by providers and the program capacity of these providers.
Priority activities to assist lower income residents, not listed in order of preference, include:
Activities to assist the homeless will be directed toward developing a "continuum of care" model. These activities include provisions for transitional housing, efforts to provide permanent supportive housing and services, and support for emergency shelters. The continuum of care model will be extended to provide services aimed at preventing an "at risk" population from becoming homeless.
The priorities established for nonhousing community development are:
Antipoverty measures will help family heads gain stable and challenging employment. This strategy must also include a safety net for residents in need. A major underpinning of this strategy is an active economic development program to help progressive businesses remain in the community and to attract new firms.
The bulk of the funds to carry out the consortium's strategy will be supplied by CDBG funds. Other sources include an $84,000 commitment from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, State assistance totaling $73,000, and commitments from the cities of Mishawaka and South Bend totaling $825,000. These public funds will be supplemented by resources provided by private-sector housing sponsors.
An extensive network has been established to coordinate implementation of the strategic plan in conjunction with elected officials and the housing authorities in South Bend, Mishawaka, and St. Joseph County. Efforts to coordinate service delivery will be undertaken by task forces on housing for disadvantaged citizens, social services, and assistance to AIDS/HIV victims. A housing consortium made up of the three collaborating jurisdictions administers the HOME program. Housing and community development panels formed as part of the citizens participation process will monitor implementation strategy.
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; as well as, provides a table with information about the project(s).
A broad range of projects will be undertaken in each jurisdiction in the consortium using CDBG, HOME, and ESG funds. Examples are: