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State housing agency visits local success story

Theresa Blake of North Harrison Senior Apartments welcomed members of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority to the facility at 111 N. Harrison St. on Thursday. The IHCDA board holds meetings at different facilities the authority has funded around the stateso board members cansee the operations first-hand.

By JOHN WALKER - jwalker@shelbynews.com

In 2015, the city of Shelbyville partnered with RealAmerica LLC to address a blighted block along the city’s northern gateway to downtown.

Four worn out buildings came down; one new one went up.

Now, North Harrison Senior Apartments, 111 N. Harrison St., has 45 subsidized units for tenants age 55 and older.

The building also houses an Excel Center, a charter school operated by Goodwill, that offers classes leading to Core 40 high school diplomas for its adult students.

Funding from the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority made the project possible, and now members of the IHCDA board of directors have seen the result of their investment.

“We have a waiting list,” Theresa Blake, property manager at North Harrison Street Apartments, told the board at a special on-site meeting at the local apartment complex.

The IHCDA board sometimes meets at a facility the agency has funded so board members can see it first-hand.

In October, the IHCDA presented North Harrison Senior Apartments with its Excellence in Affordable Housing Award.

The apartment complex offers monthly activities for the residents, including an upcoming Thanksgiving dinner, Blake said.

And the building is now on the city’s ShelbyGo bus route, she added, at the meeting Thursday.

ShelbyGo is operated by Shelby Senior Services. Buses run a loop Monday through Friday that visits senior housing centers and takes riders to Kroger and Walmart, and to special stops if they call ahead.

In addition, the Excel Center at North Harrison Street Apartments has 170 students enrolled and has graduated three classes, Blake said.

RealAmerica LLC is also the developer of the Hendricks Pointe Apartments, 415 W. Taylor St., which was an elementary school before it was remodeled into subsidized living spaces.

In other matters before the IHCDA board, Alan Rakowski, a tax credit manager with the agency, reported that 19 out of 51 project applications were recommended for funding next year, a total of $17.6 million. 

The agency received 51 applications asking for $47.6 million in funding, he said.

Rakowski said this year the agency moved up the date for approving projects to November to allow contractors extra time to get bids in before construction season starts in the spring.

The board approved the 19 funding requests unanimously. Shelbyville did not apply for any funding this year.

Jacob Sipe, executive director of the IHCDA, thanked North Harrison Street Apartments for hosting the meeting.

He noted the challenges the agency faces, including tighter markets and rising interest rates. 

The 472 properties built throughout the state in the 1970s are “tired,” Sipe said, and at least 30 are to be rehabilitated with help from United States Department of Agriculture rural development funds.

And, with companies having a hard time finding workers, the IHCDA is trying to address that issue as well, he said.

“One of the things we’re working on ... is work force housing,” said Sipe.