Martindale-Brightwood Receives Big “Lift” from City with $3.5 million in Federal Funding

Indianapolis Mayor, Joe Hogsett, names Martindale-Brightwood as a Lift Indy neighborhood, joining the Near North Corridor as the second Lift Indy area for 2021. As a designee, Martindale-Brightwood will receive $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, spanning over the next three years. Community leaders and advocates praised the announcement as a celebratory win for the neighborhood, as funding will aid housing repairs & improvements, and support career coaching, financial, and asset-building programs.

Martindale-Brightwood is the City’s fifth Lift Indy neighborhood and the third Lift Indy neighborhood within the IEPZ Share the News

The historic Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood resides five miles northeast of downtown Indianapolis, with boundaries overlapping the IndyEast Promise Zone (IEPZ). The Martindale-Brightwood Community Development Center (MBCDC) and the Edna Martin Christian Center (EMCC), two organizations leading the programs funded through Lift Indy, are both active members of the Buy IndyEast committee. MBCDC is also a member of the Live IndyEast committee. Renew Indianapolis, an IEPZ partner, will lead homeownership and mortgage programs funded through the designation.

“Collectively, we’ve combined the strengths of a full-service community center at Edna Martin and two strong economic and community development organizations committed to empowering and transforming Martindale-Brightwood,” says President and CEO of EMCC, Barato Britt.

This is the first year the City has selected more than one neighborhood to participate in the comprehensive community development program. “We took a unique approach to expand the program and adapt the application process to focus on projects well-positioned to help residents affected by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19,” said Hogsett at the virtual press release conference.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected many communities across the nation, significantly impacting People of Color at disproportionate rates. Taking a snapshot of the national death toll for ages between 45 and 55 indicate that 2,461 deaths were of Black and Latinx peoples, whereas 1,013 deaths (22% of the total) were of white people in the same age group. 62% of the population in that age group are white.

“While the rest of the city wrestles with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, no neighborhood has been harder hit than Martindale-Brightwood,” says City Councilman Zach Adamson of District 17. Residents living in the 46218 zip code, which includes Martindale-Brightwood and part of the Near Eastside, were impacted more heavily than any other zip code in Indianapolis, suggested by data from researchers at IUPUI’s SAVI program. Unemployment claims were double the average of Marion County, and 211 calls were three times the average zip code rate.

“Our community is made up of many working-class residents, retirees, and some households taking care of elderly and disabled family members,” says Amina Pierson, Executive Director for MBCDC. ACS data specifies 73% of the population living in the 46218-zip code are Black.

The pandemic has exacerbated existing racial and economic inequity, alarming community centers like the John Boner Neighborhood Community Center to implement robust strategies in efforts to combat these adverse effects, such as the formation of the Eastside Economic Recovery and Mobility District, which includes the Martindale-Brightwood neighborhood. These problems have highlighted the need for community investment and development programs like Lift Indy.

As a historic neighborhood, 75% of the homes in Martindale-Brightwood were built more than fifty years ago, requiring regular maintenance, such as roof and electrical repair. While household income is already scarce in the neighborhood, the pandemic has further limited families’ financial resources needed to afford home repairs.

“These grants will allow us to uplift and stabilize the neighborhood, providing critical resources as neighbors recover from the pandemic”, says Pierson.

Programs funded through Lift Indy increase opportunities for Martindale-Brightwood families that opt in participating, having access to additional two-generation services that provide low-cost quality healthcare, quality childcare & education, out-of-school opportunities, asset-building, employment training & job certifications, and access to employers in the area seeking talent. Opportunities for local business owners increase as well, as the Lift Indy investment can lead to even greater investment, deeming an area as “lower risk”, which can persuade hesitant investors to reevaluate where they choose to spend their money.  

Martindale-Brightwood is the City’s fifth Lift Indy neighborhood and the third Lift Indy neighborhood within the IEPZ. In 2019, East 10th Street was named a Lift Indy neighborhood, spurring millions of dollars for affordable housing projects, infrastructure improvements, and developing a thriving commercial corridor that provides neighbors the services they need. All Lift Indy neighborhoods receive $3.5 million coming from HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership Program and the Community Development Block Grant program.

“We have always been able to, as a resilient community, walk and chew gum. That means making sure that our community is provided and afforded all the immediate and emergency access they need, but also thinking ahead about how we can continue to make sure our community is transformed,” says Britt.

The IndyEast Promise Zone looks forward to supporting our community partners as they begin implementing the 3-year Lift Indy program.

Projects and programs Lift Indy will support include:

  • Martindale Brightwood Education Zone Housing Village Initiative, led by the Edna Martin Christian Center, will provide wraparound services such as employment, career and financial coaching, credit and asset building and adult education programs. 
  • The Martindale Brightwood Community Development Corporation will lead a home repair program to provide long-term residents with the resources needed to restore siding, porches, patios, gutters, HVAC systems and roofs, among others. 
  • Renew Indianapolis’ Edge Fund – Mortgage Refinance Loan Program will help long-term residents. 
  • The Edge Fund-Affordable Mortgage Loan Program, also led by Renew Indianapolis, will help make below-rate mortgage loans available for up to 10 low-to-moderate households. 
  • Renew Indianapolis’ New Construction Homeownership Program will create homeownership opportunities for up to 10 low-income households.