Haughville home gets facelift from Hearts and Hands of Indiana

House after renovation
North Holmes Avenue and West Saint Clair Street in the Haughville neighborhood sits at a crossroads.

The large, historic Holy Trinity Catholic Church closed in November of 2014 just shy of its 110th anniversary. In Haughville, it's also estimated that one in every four homes sit abandoned or vacant.

The effort to change that continues, thanks to private-public partnerships.

A house at 914 North Holmes Avenue sits brand new as of Thursday; the two story home previously sat empty and in ruin. 

Abandoned and vacant homes are plaguing our community:  it's estimated there are up to 13,000 of them around Indianapolis.

They drag down property values while also causing crime rates to soar.

“When you have a house that's abandoned, you have all types of people, all walks of life that could come in that home. So just the security of knowing that the home is rehabbed, and that a family will move in it, and that we'll have more neighbors, that's a good thing,” said neighbor Zulieka Tillman.

She and her husband live next to 914. They've watched Hearts and Hands of Indiana spruce up the home. It's one of about four they rehab each year and sell to needy families.

“That investment then has that ripple effect through the rest of the neighborhood and the rest of the block so it is a slow process. Anytime you are trying to see that change it is going to take time but that is what is needed is that continued persistence and investment,” said Mark Buckingham of Hearts and Hands of Indiana.

That's also felt by those living within the four walls.

“There are a lot of statistics saying that children who are able to live in a home like this, that their parents own, they have that stability and they are not moving from house to house, it improves their educational attainment. So it is not necessarily an overnight change, but in another sense you are setting things up for the future,” Buckingham said.

One home at a time, city leaders hope the number of abandoned homes will continue to decrease. Hearts and Hands of Indiana will have an open house to show their finished product Thursday night from 5 to 7 pm.

A low-income family of six purchased home and will soon move in.