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Panelists talk policies and solutions to statewide housing, energy issues

By Violet Comber-Wilen, IPB News | Published on in Community, Economy, Government, Politics
Panelists at an Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute event proposed policies and solutions to things such as housing availability and electric vehicle production. (FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks/IPB News)

One statewide organization is facilitating the conversation about energy and housing issues in Indiana. Panelists at an Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute event proposed policies and solutions to things such as housing availability and electric vehicle production.

Stephanie Wells is the president of the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute. She said one of the issues panelists at the event discussed was the importance of additional or “middle” housing options.

“We basically have multifamily apartments, and we have single family homes,” she said. “And missing in the middle are the other kinds of housing options that exist between those two. That could solve a lot of our problems, and what policies would we need to implement in order to make that a reality in Indiana.”

Other conversations included how to combat homelessness in rural and urban areas, and innovative ways to develop and build housing.

READ MORE: Here’s what Indiana’s Republican gubernatorial candidates have to say about housing

Join the conversation and sign up for the Indiana Two-Way. Text “Indiana” to 765-275-1120. Your comments and questions in response to our weekly text help us find the answers you need on housing and statewide issues.

Wells said energy issues were also a focus of this year’s conference, specifically electric vehicles and the electrification of auto manufacturing.

“Indiana is the most manufacturing intensive state in the country,” she said. “And as we pivot from internal combustion engines to EVs, how’s it going to impact all the supplier manufacturers, and Hoosiers? And how is it going to impact road funding as well?”

Wells said the transition to clean energy was another prominent topic.

“Coal is still part of our energy mix, but we have been embracing of more solar wind, battery storage and other – and natural gas. And just how that’s going to impact Hoosiers, how that’s going to impact communities and how it’s going to happen,” she said.

She said panelists and audience members also discussed ways to make this clean energy more sustainable and renewable.

“Bringing on renewables in such a way so that you can always turn your light on, so we need to build them up, we need to pair them with battery storage, and we need to have a mix of all of the above,” Wells said.

Wells said the goal of these discussions is to educate Hoosiers and provide awareness, and she urges Hoosiers to continue to do their research about these topics.

She said her organization aims to present this information in an unbiased and partisan way, and that this event serves as a way to facilitate conversation rather than advocate for certain issues.

Violet is our daily news reporter. Contact her at vcomberwilen@wfyi.org or follow her on Twitter at @ComberWilen.