A lending hand

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New executive director Nate Lichti looks to expand HAND’s work in Noblesville, Hamilton County

Meet Nate Lichti

  • Hometown: Shipshewana
  • Residence: Indianapolis
  • Education: Bethany Christian High School, bachelors degree at Goshen College and masters degree at Indiana University
  • Hobbies: Bicycling, watching his 10-year-old daughter’s soccer career and preparing their home for a new puppy.
  • What excites you about your job: “Though it’s a small office with two people, we rely on dozens of people to get a lot done. The volunteer board of directors is responsible for our vision and the direction the organization goes. I love how I get to work and accomplish a mission with groups of people that are non-profit driven and aspire to have an impact on their community.”
  • Personal motto: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

 

Hamilton County Area Neighborhood Development, Inc. is defying a market trend. While the housing market has hit a snag during the recession, HAND is moving forward with new construction and developments.

It is also moving forward under new leadership.

Nate Lichti, who replaced Stephanie Burdick after her family relocated to Louisville, was named executive director in August. Prior to joining HAND, Lichti served as assistant director of Mapleton-Fall Creek Development Corporation in Indianapolis since 2008. While there, Lichti oversaw programs which invested more than $6 million in a targeted neighborhood, impacting more than 200 households.

“I found a passion for community development,” he said.

HAND is a non-profit, community housing development organization which addresses the housing needs of low- and moderate-income individuals, families, and seniors through the development of rental properties and assisting residents in obtaining homeownership.

“HAND creates and promotes quality affordable housing for residents of Hamilton County,” said Lichti.

The organization currently has three finished properties which all except for The Roper Lofts are designated to senior citizens.

“Baby boomers are getting ready to retire,” said Lichti. “The senior population is on fixed income and struggle with living costs.”

HAND receives state grants and is subsidized by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indiana. The organization also receives funding from Hamilton County through the community development block grant. Lichti explained that the proceeds from apartment units is reinvested in the next property or development.

On the horizon for HAND is completion of Pebble Brook Gardens, an affordable apartment community in Noblesville consisting of nine two-bedroom patio apartments for seniors aged 55 and older. The project is being built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards to be energy efficient.

“The bills for seniors are going to be terrific,” said Lichti. “It’ll be significantly lower than what they are used to.”

Pebble Brook will also feature native plants in a neighborhood rain garden.

“All storm water on site will be captured and slowly returned to the garden,” Lichti explained.

Located within the Pebble Brook subdivision, Lichti said the amenities within walking distance like the daycare, Pebble Brook Golf Course, Hazel Dell Elementary School and commercial strip are selling points for the apartments.

“I love the location,” he said. “It fits well into the fabric of this community and within an existing plotted neighborhood.”

Once Pebble Brook Gardens hosts its grand opening next month, HAND will begin focusing on its next development – a five apartment complex two blocks north of Ind. 19 in downtown Cicero. Lichti said construction will begin next spring or summer.

In addition to providing more housing units, Lichti wants to talk to all county cities and towns and possibly reevaluate HAND’s strategic plan. He thinks other opportunities could include transitional and family housing.

“I want to really listen and hear what the community has to say,” he said. “We’ve got to be actively looking at what the next opportunity is. Senior apartments are very successful. It’d be irresponsible to not keep this in our portfolio.”

To learn more, visit www.handincorporated.org.


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