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Melissa Benton

Indianapolis, IN

I work for the John Boner Community Center here in Indianapolis, Indiana. I'm the resource development coordinator and I'm responsible for bringing any kind of resources to help the Center. So mostly grant writing is what I focus on, but whole our organization is focused on providing social services near east side of Indianapolis resident. 

I think we do have a lot of divides in our community, mostly I think they manifest themselves in housing. We have a lot of home owners vs renters and then kind of socio-economics...We have one neighborhood that was decimated by the housing crisis, over 40 percent vacancy. At one point in time that led the nation in foreclosures in that neighborhood. Right next door to it is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Indianapolis, where half sell for $200,000 and up. So, that's a pretty sharp divide when you're looking at those two neighborhoods that are geographically located right next to each other. 

So how do you honor longtime residents that have a vested interest in the neighborhood because they made their home here and they have a higher socioeconomic status, but still be able to make sure the neighborhood gentrified and residents are displaced when you're bringing in new development?