A New Start in Mapleton-Fall Creek
In 1989, Karen May was living in a downtown neighborhood with her husband and 3 year-old son. Concerned about the educational opportunities at the time, she decided to move her family to Speedway in hopes that her son would benefit from the Speedway school system. It was an important decision for her at the time. IPS didn't seem like the best opportunity for her family. After her husband passed away, with her son grown and in the Army, Karen found herself wanting to start again in a downtown neighborhood. "I just found myself missing everything," she said. "This is where I found myself spending most of my time, and I thought I should look into plugging back in." She had a friend in real estate who alerted her to a home at 33rd & Meridian for a price she couldn't believe. "When I got there, though, the place was in shambles." Crestfallen, Karen began to head home, when she noticed a home at 29th and Broadway. After checking the price, it seemed too good to be true. "It was the INHP price, and it looked way too low, but when I called them about it, they told me about how I could get that price, and put me in touch with the Mapleton-Fall Creek Community Development Corporation (MFCDC)." The Indianapolis Neighborhood Housing Partnership is a homebuyer assistance program that enables people to realize their dreams of downtown living. Programs for potential homebuyers include credit counseling, loan guidance and homebuyer classes. For Karen, participation in their programs consisted of a one-time Saturday homeowner class. From 8-5, she heard information from bank and insurance reps, realtors, and others about the home ownership process. "Had I known what I know now, I would have started the process even earlier. But as it was, the closing process took barely a month." While she's thrilled to move into Mapleton-Fall Creek, Karen was impressed with the change in other downtown neighborhoods, too. "I didn't realize that there were so many pocket neighborhoods doing the same thing. I learned that there are 9 active CDCs (community development corporations) where people can get the same assistance I did."
Karen has looked forward to many things since she made the decision to move back downtown, but one of them is a little unusual: "We're opening two community gardens in the coming months," Karen says, "And I can't tell you how excited I am about that." For Karen, it's more about the sense of community than the gardening work itself. "It's the kind of activity that brings people together, helps us build a better community. It's a good thing for residents to know each other by face and name."
Best of all, Karen has been able to make this move and lower her living costs. "In my rental house, I was paying $900 a month. But with the assistance of MFCDC and INHP, I've been able to cut those costs nearly in half! The best part is, I'm paying my mortgage and not the mortgage for someone else." .