Pictured (L to R) are, front row: Alan Tio, KEDCO; Suzie Light, KEDCO and Housing Steering Committee; Sue Ann Mitchell, Kosciusko County Council and Housing Steering Committee; Joni Truex, Kosciusko County Council; Kathy Groninger, Kosciusko County Council; Mayor Joe Thallemer, City of Warsaw and Housing Steering Committee; back row: Stephanie Overbey, Kosciusko County Community Foundation and Housing Steering Committee; Lori Shipman, KEDCO; Ernie Wiggins, Kosciusko County Council; Bob Conley, Kosciusko County commissioner; Brad Jackson, Kosciusko County commissioner; Cary Groninger, Kosciusko County commissioner; and Jon Garber, Kosciusko County Council. Photo provided.
Pictured (L to R) are, front row: Alan Tio, KEDCO; Suzie Light, KEDCO and Housing Steering Committee; Sue Ann Mitchell, Kosciusko County Council and Housing Steering Committee; Joni Truex, Kosciusko County Council; Kathy Groninger, Kosciusko County Council; Mayor Joe Thallemer, City of Warsaw and Housing Steering Committee; back row: Stephanie Overbey, Kosciusko County Community Foundation and Housing Steering Committee; Lori Shipman, KEDCO; Ernie Wiggins, Kosciusko County Council; Bob Conley, Kosciusko County commissioner; Brad Jackson, Kosciusko County commissioner; Cary Groninger, Kosciusko County commissioner; and Jon Garber, Kosciusko County Council. Photo provided.
The Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) and local elected officials and community leaders today announced the launch of the Hoosier Homes program in Kosciusko County, and provided updates on the ongoing effort to encourage greater housing development in the community.

KEDCO began developing its Housing Initiative in response to a housing needs study completed by the Housing Resource Group in partnership with the Kosciusko County Community Foundation (KCCF), the City of Warsaw and Kosciusko County. The study highlighted the need for nearly twice as many housing units in Kosciusko County as the market has been producing, and specifically housing that helps to reduce commuting from outside the county and grow the local workforce, according to a news release from KEDCO.

"This study was a critical part of understanding what our communities need in order to support the housing needs of our workforce," said KCCF CEO Stephanie Overbey. "Our local companies are more likely to retain talent when employees have shorter commutes to work."

Additionally, The Housing Resource Group worked with leading employers in the community to launch an initial survey in late 2021 to gather feedback from local employees about housing preferences. Survey data showed where in or outside the county they currently reside, their interest in home buying, what type of home they’re seeking and more.

The Hoosier Homes program is a down payment assistance tool that helps individuals and families buy homes in approved areas of the state of Indiana. The Kosciusko County Commissioners passed a resolution which authorized the Hoosier Homes program to be implemented throughout the county. Through Hoosier Homes, qualified homebuyers will receive up to 6% assistance for down payment and closing costs, and will gain access to home loans with competitive interest rates.

"By making these tools available locally, we hope to support more individuals and families on their journeys to homeownership. These partnerships and resources add to the many great amenities and offerings we have here in the county," said Kosciusko County Commissioner Cary Groninger.

KEDCO is also partnering with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) to offer Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) that assist low-to-moderate income individuals and families build wealth and credit as they prepare for homeownership through matched savings and incentive programs. The IDA program focuses on asset building as a key component toward family and self-sufficiency.

Ongoing partnership with the Housing Resource Group also provides access to the Club 720® mobile app, which supports individuals along their journeys to equity building. The free mobile app offers individuals access to their credit score, goal setting, access to tools such as Hoosier Homes and the IDA program, financial courses and trainings and ongoing support.

"We want people to have the tools they need to be confident and successful in purchasing a home and reaching their financial goals, and the Club 720 app is a free tool customized to Kosciusko County, to help potential homebuyers and residents access helpful resources all in one place," said KEDCO Workforce Housing RLF Program Administrator Lori Shipman.

KEDCO is partnering with leading employers throughout the county to encourage development of housing in proximity to anchor employers and to share information about these housing resources with their employees to encourage talent recruitment and retention in our community, the news release states.

"Ultimately, we need to be creative with the work we’re doing to support employers and residents," said KEDCO CEO Alan Tio. "These programs and tools support our efforts in attracting and retaining talent, because people come and choose to plant roots in communities where they feel supported and have access to tools for success. We’ve learned employees are more likely to stay at a place of employment when their commute time is 15 minutes or less."

Additionally, through KEDCO’s Housing Initiative, new partnerships, plans and development are taking place in the city of Warsaw and throughout the county. KEDCO now has memoranda of understanding in place with Kosciusko County, the city of Warsaw and the towns of Milford, Pierceton and Syracuse to encourage housing development in those areas of the county.

"The city of Warsaw is pleased to be a partner in these efforts to bring more homes and home-buying resources to our community," said Mayor Joe Thallemer. "As a hub for innovation and entrepreneurship, and with unique amenities supporting our quality-of-place, Warsaw is a place where people want and choose to be, and it’s because of the intentional progress we’re making together."  

KEDCO and the Housing Resource Group will develop virtual and in-person open houses for interested homebuyers in the coming months.

Anyone interested in these programs can start by downloading the free Club 720® app via the Apple Store, Google Play or online via club720.org or by contacting KEDCO at info@kosciuskoedc.com or 574-306-4119.

For more information on the Hoosier Homes and the IDA programs visit hoosierhomesdpa.org and www.in.gov/ihcda.

To learn more about KEDCO and how the organization is making an impact in Kosciusko County, visit www.kosciuskoedc.com. Connect with KEDCO on Facebook, Linkedin and Instagram @kosciuskoedc.