Diversity Magazine Southern Indiana June 2022 - Page 9

PAULINE SHANKLIN LAVERNE VAUGHN LINDA RUSSELL
Moon feels that decisions made about Claysburg over the decades have been “ destroying communities instead of building them up .”
She mentioned the closing of Spring Hill Elementary School in 2020 , saying it has been a loss for the neighborhood . Both Spring Hill and Maple elementary schools in Jeffersonville were closed as the new Franklin Square Elementary opened downtown .
Vaughn has lived in her house in Claysburg since 1976 . She said young people who grew up in Claysburg and go off to college are not returning to their community .
“ They ’ re not coming back ,” she said . “ They ’ re going somewhere else . They ’ ve made successful lives by not coming back here . They come back here if they still have relatives here , but to bring families back to get a halfway decent job as a nurse , lawyer , engineer or anything — they just don ’ t come back .”
COMMUNITY NEEDS
The 2021 Community Needs Assessment of Southern Indiana , a report published by the Community Foundation of Southern Indiana , describes affordable housing and living wages as some of the main priorities for the area .
Melissa Fry , a sociologist and director of the Applied Research and Education Center at Indiana University Southeast , led the development of the Community Needs Assessment . She noted the gap between wages and housing in Southern Indiana and the inequities for people of color .
In Southern Indiana , people of color “ comprise a larger share of the poor population than their share of the population as a whole ,” particularly among Black residents , according to the assessment .
“ The mismatch between wages and housing is even greater in the Black community because wages are lower ,” Fry said . “ The average wage for our Black residents is lower than for our White residents , so we have more people struggling to figure out , how do you find a place that you can afford to live . And it ’ s a problem .”
The study notes that diversity is increasing in Southern Indiana as more young families of color move to the area . However , the diversification of the area is mainly focused in population centers in Clark and Floyd counties , including New Albany and Jeffersonville , and the population at local elementary schools reflects “ significant racial segregation .”
Fry said neighborhoods such as Claysburg that face both limited investment and concentrated public housing are facing significant challenges .
2022 Diversity Magazine 9