For residents of Indus Communities properties, a helping hand is closer than they might think at first — in the form of computer labs, free groceries, free vaccine clinics — at their apartment complexes.

Those are just some of the ways the property owner gives back to the communities who call its properties home throughout the Gulfton Area Management District.

“Being able to provide health, wellness, health literacy, educational opportunities, food security, to our residents, since they’re part of underserved communities, was really a big, big deal,” said Avani Narang, managing director for marketing and digital communications at Indus.

Narang spearheads Indus Cares Foundation, the charitable arm of Indus Communities, which is run by her father, Ajay Gupta. The foundation was started in 2013 and in the last few years has gotten into full swing for its renters. The community outreach was especially central to helping tenants deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company provided free vaccination clinics at apartment complexes as well as holiday meals, gift giveaways and other celebrations. Some Indus communities provide English as a Second Language classes as well as early childhood development and parenting classes. Indus even  partnered with Social Motion Skills, a Houston organization that works with kids and young adults with autism.

“We did during the pandemic try to help connect people with new job training or job opportunities. And one of our partnerships starting in the last two years was with Social Motion Skills; they work with the Texas Workforce Commission to work with kids with learning disabilities, or young adults, and help them get the job skills they need to be fully able members of society,” Narang explained.

Indus created eight computer labs on their properties to aid people with career research, resume writing, and software that helps teach pre-schoolers to read.

The programs also provide access to participants who live outside Indus properties in the surrounding neighborhoods.

“It was amazing,” Narang said.“We have a center at our Sharpstown Garden Apartments, and they hold classes every day. And they have people (who) are 14 come and learn skills, and their parents drop them off and pick them up. And they have their teachers there. And we’re talking about expanding to multiple floors at one of our other communities where they can do their socialization class, and some of their other programs.”

“The secret sauce,” to Indus’ growth in the area, as Michael Harger, the company’s director of marketing put it, is that Indus “focuses on what our customer needs, to the point where we’ll survey our customers and say, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about doing this. What do you think?’ ”

— By C.H. Smith