INDIANAPOLIS ─ Yesterday the Indiana Legislative Council announced the topics that will be taken up by study committees this summer. These study committees consider numerous subjects and recommend legislation for the next legislative session. Only topics referred by the Legislative Council can be studied by a study committee.

The Council assigned the Interim Study Committee on Fiscal Policy to study affordable housing, workforce housing and “Missing Middle” housing in Indiana, a study topic requested by State Senator Shelli Yoder (D─Bloomington) in a letter to the Council Chair.

Sen. Yoder had the following comments when asked about the inclusion of affordable housing in Indiana as a study topic:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused crises in unimaginable ways, and one specific area that is experiencing the brunt of this unprecedented crisis is the housing market,” said Sen. Yoder. “Currently, the Lt. Governor’s Office and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority are gathering raw data, county by county, on existing housing. This information is timely, given increased demand and low supply. Having more granular specifics on the housing crisis in Indiana will help all Hoosiers and provide Indiana a competitive edge while we work to attract new businesses.

“I’m extraordinarily happy to see that our State Legislature will be studying the factors that have contributed to housing instability here in Indiana. This study topic has the ability to lead to real, measurable outcomes for working-class Hoosiers if we can come together and find ways to develop a more affordable housing supply.

“Developing affordable housing, workforce housing and “Missing Middle” housing will make public transit more accessible, our cities more walkable and bikable and lower the cost of rent. I’m glad to see that this legislature is taking the housing shortage seriously and will consider all of the tools at our disposal to support Hoosiers, promote investment in our communities and reduce rent. We also need to address housing accessibility and costs in rural communities.

“The tools at our disposal are extensive. Whether we’re discussing traditional affordable housing, workforce housing, townhomes, other forms of Missing Middle housing or even accessory dwelling units, Indiana has options to expand our housing supply and help Hoosiers who are paying excessive amounts of their income to rent. As of 2015, 38% of Americans spent more than 30% of their pre-tax income on rent. Working-class folks with that burden of rent have a harder time putting money away into savings accounts, paying for educational opportunities and keeping food on their table and are much more likely to face homelessness.

“We have solutions available to us, and I look forward to putting forward legislation next session, following the final report from this study committee.”