INDIANAPOLIS–People in Haughville are angry with the Buckingham Foundation and their colleagues for what they call “scheming and executing an ill-conceived permanent supportive housing project.” They aired their grievances in a news conference Friday morning.
“They decided to open it up regardless of what we had to say,” said one man at the news conference.
He’s referencing a project that has been facilitated by Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, the Buckingham Foundation, and the Horizon House. Chambers is the founder and president and CEO of Indianapolis-based Buckingham Companies. According to his biography on the Indiana Economic Development Corporation website, Chambers serves as a founder and board member of the Buckingham Foundation Inc.. He calls it “a philanthropic organization focused on making a positive impact on communities within the mission areas of affordable housing, community and economic development, arts and culture, and childhood hunger.”
The people in Haughville don’t see it that way.
“We were told that it doesn’t matter how we feel about this project. We’re going to do it anyway. We don’t have a lot of information because they haven’t been transparent with us,” said another Haughville community member.
Jeffrey Thomas is a pastor in Indianapolis. He mentioned that this plan by the Buckingham Foundation wants to build a specific housing type at the Pershing Place Apartments, which has been a “hot sport for illegal activity for many years.”
“Our community opposition is not rooted in resistance to their program or resistance to their progress, but rather, a plea for equitable development that would uplift all members of our diverse neighborhood,” said Thomas.
Aldron Williams is a Vietnam War Veteran who has lived in Haughville for more than 50 years and has raised 10 children in Haughville. He is the Chairman of the West Side Development Corporation. Both he and others claim that the partnership between the Buckingham Foundation and Horizon House shows their disregard for the needs of the community it is meant to serve.
“When they made this deal, we weren’t part of it. Our vision for Haughville is to grow homeownership, to grow opportunities for people to live in their own home, and minimize costs,” said Williams.
RESPONSE FROM THE BUCKINGHAM FOUNDATION:
We are aware of the comments and concerns expressed by the individuals in the Haughville community. Buckingham Foundation met with the community members on a number of occasions, including in June to listen to resident and community leader concerns. We met, again at the end of July, to share transparent information with the Haughville community regarding the permanent supportive housing project, addressing specifics on:
○ The stringent process proposed screening residents for criminal background checks
○ Proposed terms for lease agreement
○ Outline of supportive services offered by Horizon House to the residents of this permanent supportive housing project (not a halfway house)
○ Eviction Prevention Plan
○ Our responsibilities to the Housing Agency to remain compliant with all requirements
The concerns of the Haughville community were heard and thoughtfully considered along with the concerns of those most vulnerable whose voices are often ignored if even heard. We remain committed to the Haughville Community in that we will remain transparent, collaborative, and communicative throughout the project’s inception and beyond. We also remain committed to improving the Haughville neighborhood through grant funding opportunities and volunteerism. It is our intention that our partnerships with neighborhood communities and organizations like Horizon House, will continue to strive to meet the holistic needs of our neighbors and to support community-level solutions to end homelessness.” Ashley Parker, Director of Philanthropy, Buckingham Foundation.
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