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Indiana Black caucus leader disappointed by lack of GOP support for housing issues in 2024 session

By Brandon Smith, IPB News | Published on in Community, Government, Politics
Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) is the chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The head of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus said he’s disappointed Republicans ignored the caucus priority bills on housing this session.

But Rep. Earl Harris Jr. (D-East Chicago) also said he and his colleagues are playing the long game on trying to improve access to affordable housing for Hoosiers.

The Black caucus’s focus on housing issues included bills to create a down payment assistance fund, prohibit foreclosures based on medical debt, and ban discrimination in housing appraisals.

None of them even got a hearing.

Republicans note that they passed major bills last year on housing. That includes a $75 million loan fund to help pay for local housing infrastructure costs, aimed at bringing down the price of new homes.

Harris said if Republicans think they took care of the problem, they’re wrong.

“Clearly, the fact that everyone’s still talking about housing being an issue means it’s still an issue and there’s still work to be done,” Harris said.

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Harris said he hopes that next year’s long, budget-writing session will help more Black caucus housing priorities advance.

Brandon is our Statehouse bureau chief. Contact him at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.