By Corey Ohlenkamp—
MUNCIE, IN– The American Electric Power Foundation (AEP Foundation), upon the recommendation of Indiana Michigan Power (I&M), has awarded a $100,000 grant to the Greater Muncie Indiana Habitat for Humanity to support the organization’s housing programs.
Muncie Habitat for Humanity has been providing housing solutions to families in the community for 35 years with a clear mission of building homes, communities and hope.
“All of us at Indiana Michigan Power want to see the residents within our service territories have the foundation to build a successful future,” said Steve Baker, I&M’s president and chief operating officer. “An investment in projects like those that Muncie Habitat lead help secure affordable housing for residents, which in turn help them invest in their community.”
A decent place to live can remove barriers to opportunity, success and health that might have been a part of a family’s life for years, if not generations. When a home is affordable and there is more money left over for things like transportation, health care and childcare, it can open up an array of education and employment opportunities for families.
Muncie Habitat has been facilitator and critical member of a growing coalition, including residents and over 20 organizations, who are working collaboratively to bring about broad- based improvements to two adjacent Muncie city neighborhoods – South Central and Thomas Park/Avondale.
“Indiana Michigan Power, along with the AEP Foundation has made an incredible investment in local families, neighborhoods and our Muncie community. From the very bottom of our hearts, and on behalf of our volunteers and partner families, we want to say, ‘thank you’ for investing in our shared vision of a community where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Eileen Oaks Molter, director of resource development with Greater Muncie Habitat for Humanity. “Each Habitat home is collaboration of volunteers contributing hundreds of labor hours, visionary investors, like I&M, providing essential funds, and our partner families, who invest their own sweat equity into providing a better future for their families.”
Beyond just housing, Habitat for Humanity introduced neighborhood revitalization into its core service offering about 10 years ago.
Many families in the Muncie community are paying a disproportionate amount of their income on housing costs. When a family is paying more than 30% of its income towards housing, a family is considered cost burdened. This leaves them making tough choices when it comes to other needs like health care, food or transportation.
That’s why Habitat’s homeownership program serves hard working families with income levels 30 to 60% of the area median income (AMI), which equates to an income range of $19,350-$38,700 for a family of four. Muncie Habitat ensures that families selected for homeownership will pay less than 30% of their income on housing costs.
Habitat partners with volunteers while using efficient building methods and modest house sizes to keep costs low. Habitat requires lower down payments and closing costs than standard lending practices, coupled with no-interest mortgages. They also utilize education classes that focus on home maintenance, mortgage loans, budgeting and more.
Ensuring that families have a safe, affordable place to call home is key to the AEP Foundation’s mission. Beyond this grant, I&M and the AEP Foundation have helped support partner family education classes and the dream builder’s breakfast. Volunteers from I&M have assisted in the home builds across the area. Muncie Habitat has, and will continue to be, a key partner in helping the Muncie community succeed.
Muncie Habitat for Humanity was formed in 1986 to serve families in Delaware County with housing and homeownership opportunities. In partnership with thousands of volunteers and donors, Muncie Habitat hasserved more than 275 families. Muncie Habitat for Humanity provides housing solutions through construction of new homes with sustainable building practices, rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed homes, and through repair of existing homes.
Indiana Michigan Power (I&M) is headquartered in Fort Wayne, and its approximately 2,100 employees servemore than 600,000 customers. More than 80% of its energy delivered in 2021 was emission-free. I&M has at its availability various sources of generation including 2,278 MW of nuclear generation in Michigan, 450 MW of purchased wind generation from Indiana, more than 22 MW of hydro generation in both states and approximately 35 MW of large-scale solar generation in both states. The company’s generation portfolio also includes 2,620 MW of coal- fueled generation in Indiana.
The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) and its operating subsidiaries. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area. The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math; by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger; and championing social and racial justice. Other Foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, promote healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.