JAY COUNTY, Ind.— Through the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs’ (OCRA) Owner Occupied Rehabilitation program (OOR), Jay County was able to secure $1M to aid a county-wide initiative to assist homeowners with limited to middle-range incomes in funding essential repairs for their residences.
Jay County successfully gained eligibility for the OOR Program by actively participating in the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program (HELP). As part of the requirement for a matching project, Jay County allocated one-third of its American Rescue Plan funds, received from the federal government, toward the acquisition of 68 acres in Portland intended for further housing development within the county.
“We have $1.2 million of property we didn’t have before plus $1 million coming in by OCRA. This is a win-win for the county,” said Jay County Commissioner Brian McGalliard, “This is a great program that will help homeowners that meet certain income guidelines, repair their homes and stay in their homes. This will have added benefits such as an increase in asset value, improving the appearance of our county, and will hopefully help reduce the abandoned and blighted housing situation in the future.”
A joint report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and Prosperity Indiana revealed a deficiency in affordable housing for low-income residents throughout Indiana this past March. Many counties in Indiana have made limited headway in addressing the state’s housing supply, affordability, and quality challenges to align with the needs of Indiana.
Currently, approximately 2,500 people commute to Jay County for work that live outside of the county. Commissioner Brian McGalliard envisions that this project will serve as a catalyst for addressing this pressing issue of housing and the economy.
By providing more housing options, the likelihood of attracting investors to the community increases, and the economy will have the capacity for improvement due to the income taxes from the new housing development as well as money being spent locally by the new residents. It’s important to note that all of these positive changes can be achieved without necessitating an increase in taxes for taxpayers. According to McGalliard, the state of Jay County’s economy is why he got involved in local government.
“We have nearly the lowest household income in the state of Indiana and a declining population,” said McGalliard. By helping secure this funding from OCRA as well as land for additional housing, the Jay County commissioner expects to see lasting positive change for the area.
If you have any questions regarding the OOR Program, please reach out to Jay County’s ECI Regional Planning District Representative, Nate Kimball [[email protected] / (765) 969-7180]