He’s reviving a community in Indianapolis!
Comedian Mike Epps recently teamed up with HGTV for a new special called “Buying Back the Block,” USA Today reports. The show took a spin on the typical home makeover show to spotlight Epps’ endeavors in his hometown of Indianapolis, Indiana, and his mission to purchase and renovate every home on his childhood block. Epps began buying property in his hometown in 2003. He began with his childhood home and then the home where his grandmother raised the family during the 1960s. Over the years, those efforts expanded to more homes that were near and dear to his heart. Eventually, Epps’ wife, television producer Kyra Epps, had a bright idea.
“Mike bought [his grandmother’s house] back for a little or nothing and sat on them for a while. And after a very trying time and situation – 2020 and COVID and all of that – we decided to go back home, go back to Indy and put some love back into this block and build this community back up…We’re important. We’ve been here for 60-plus years, and we’re going to stay here,” Kyra told reporters.
Kyra said that as a producer, turning it into a TV show just made sense. They were more than happy to have HGTV get on board, and the couple served as the show’s executive producers. The show features them rehabbing homes, focusing on two properties that they renovated over the course of 12 weeks, one of them being Epps’ grandmother, Anna Walker’s home.
“This was about holding onto legacy. This was about holding on to what we come from,” said Epps.
“This is not just that we’re fixing the house, and we want to sell it and flip some money. We would never come back to Indianapolis and do that. You’re going to see us really make decisions based off of his grandmother, and how much she poured into it,” Kyra added.
The couple is currently rehabbing six total houses on Epps’ childhood block, all homes from which Epps and his family were evicted when he was growing up. They’re also focusing on building their own house in Indy from the ground up, and none of the homes will be for sale. Epps hopes that the show and the project will bring awareness to what he’s trying to do and eventually lead to the city of Indianapolis backing more projects, with the goal of bringing affordable housing to the community on the east side of Indianapolis. Epps has already begun purchasing plots of land there.
The Epps family has been spending their time between Indy and LA since COVID, with plans to eventually expand the home renovation projects throughout the state. He’s looking to expand to other cities like Milwaukee and Cincinnati. The couple also intends to offer financial literacy courses to residents to educate them about the intricacies of home ownership.
“This was the initial start and the beginning of a bigger dream and a bigger goal. In order for us to get that into play, we had to get the awareness out so that we can get assistance from the state of Indiana and the city of Indianapolis and get help. Our idea can only grow so far financially, and, community-wise, it’s going to take the help of the mayor; it’s going to take the help of the city to do what we were doing now on a larger scale,” Epps told reporters.
In addition to his home renovation, Epps has also purchased a club in his hometown with the goal of infusing some much-needed entertainment into the city.
“We have a nice formula, and what we have right here will give us a start to do something on a larger scale for the community and for people,” he added.
“Buying Back the Block” is currently streaming on Max and Discovery+.
Cover photo: Comedian Mike Epps Bought & Renovated Every Home on His Childhood Block/Photo by @TheHomeAesthetic/@TheRealMikeEpps/Instagram