The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 10, 2024
HARRIS, IBLC UNVEIL 2024 AGENDA FOCUSED ON FAIR HOUSING
INDIANAPOLIS – Today, State Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago), chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC), led a press conference discussing the IBLC’s 2024 legislative agenda titled “Fair Housing, Fair Futures.”
Throughout the 2024 legislative session, members of the IBLC will prioritize making housing in Indiana more accessible, affordable and equitable. Harris’ key piece of legislation for the housing agenda is House Bill 1176, which would establish a housing down payment assistance fund to help more Hoosier families afford a home.
“The ability to have a house to call your own is an integral part of the American Dream,” Harris said. “Homeownership is a stepping stone that allows an individual and their families to plant their roots and build their lives. Owning a home is about far more than having a roof over your head; it’s about giving Hoosiers a sense of security and the ability to save up for upcoming milestones, like sending their kid to college or heading into retirement. This bill will help cut more everyday Hoosiers in on the American Dream and will strengthen the middle class along the way.”
During the press conference, members of the IBLC discussed several other key pieces of legislation, including House Bill 1128, authored by State Rep. Vanessa Summers (D-Indianapolis), which would prohibit foreclosure of a family or individual’s home due to a medical debt. Senate Bill 243, authored by Sen. Andrea Hunley (D- Indianapolis), enhances tenant protections by requiring landlords to deliver written notice of intent to sell a property and requires the buyer of a rental property to honor the written lease between the previous owner and their tenants. The group also discussed House Bill 1112, authored by State Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) which is a revival of her previous bill to ban biases in home appraisals, along with State Rep. Robin Shackleford’s (D-Indianapolis) bill to create the right to counsel eviction task force to help those in an eviction proceeding receive appropriate representation.
“Despite what our current practices convey, housing and tenants’ rights are not complex issues,” Harris said. “As lawmakers, we have an obligation to ensure that our constituents and all Hoosiers have the ability to own a home, and those homes and livelihoods they provide should not be threatened by factors outside of an individual’s control. This year, we in the IBLC are prioritizing fair housing to ensure every Hoosier can work toward a better future for themselves and their families.”