The Hammer and Nigel Show
Investigation Reveals Hogsett Fell Short in 2017 Pledge To Conquer Urban Blight
(CQ Archive/Getty Images)
It looks like Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett has some explaining to do.
In 2017, Hogsett pledged to “rehab, transform or demolish 2,000 homes within the next two years” as part of a broader plan to tackle urban blight and crime in the city.
The Mayor and his staff have proclaimed the initiative a "success" in recent weeks, stating in multiple speeches, press releases and social media posts that the mayor “blew past” his goal, asserting that more than 2,500 homes were "transformed" as a result of the program.
The reality of Hogsett's well-intentioned initiative is a bit more grim, however.
Tuesday morning, James Briggs and Ryan Martin of the Indianapolis Star published the findings of a monthlong investigation into the Mayor's program.
The house at 942 S. Kenwood Ave. is uninhabitable.
The doors and windows are boarded up, there is black graffiti sweeping across the south side and some kind of plant is peeking up out of the chimney — all signs pointing to a future when the house is likely razed to make way for Lucas Oil Stadium parking.
The crumbling dwelling is emblematic of nearly 14,000 vacant or abandoned homes that Indianapolis counted as of January 2018. Yet, Mayor Joe Hogsett considers it part of a success story — one of more than 2,500 homes that are nonetheless classified as "transformed" thanks to an initiative intended to combat blight and criminal activity.
The following are among the more unfortunate findings of the investigation by IndyStar's James Briggs and Ryan Martin into the failures of Mayor Hogsett’s housing program:
- Has not targeted violent neighborhoods that are most in need of help.
- Inflates numbers by counting everything from hundreds of new luxury apartments to existing homes that received minimal maintenance and sometimes remain in unlivable condition.
- Calculates work by such a scattered spectrum of government departments and programs that it is impossible to pinpoint a focused or consistent strategy.