INDIANAPOLIS — More than $26 million in rental assistance has been distributed since July to help Indianapolis residents who are facing financial challenges due to COVID-19.
The City of Indianapolis announced the deadline for tenants to apply for the Rental Assistance Program will be Wednesday, December 2, at 5 p.m. Landlords will have until 5 p.m. the following Wednesday, December 9, to complete the landlord portion of the application.
Tenants are encouraged to apply for a variety of reasons, such as if they lost a job because of COVID-19, faced a reduction of hours or are unable to work because they could not get childcare.
Access to applications and additional info is available at Indyrent.org. After December 2, residents may submit their name and contact information to receive notification in the event future federal funding is made available for rental assistance.
The city is closely monitoring the number of applications, approvals and available funding, and they’ve given themselves time between now and December 30 to ensure there is assistance available to every household that qualifies.
“The Rental Assistance Program has made a tangible difference for thousands of Indianapolis families,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett in a press release. “But we know the need is greater than what we can offer with the existing CARES Act funds. We continue to implore Congress to step up and make sure homeowners, renters, business owners and workers are protected from financial ruin.”
So far, the program has served more than 12,000 households. By the end of December, the city believes they will be close to helping 15,000 households with rental assistance. Indianapolis has received more than 15,000 applications, but not all have qualified.
The city anticipates it will distribute the full $30 million allocated for the program by the end of the year.
Indianapolis is required to spend its $169 million federal CARES Act allocation by December 30. Whatever money is not spent will be returned to the federal government.
“The mayor has said each time this is not going to be enough,” said Jeff Bennett, deputy mayor of Community Development. “Our effort here is to buy time. Buy time for vulnerable residents. Buy time for, hopefully for Congress to act and provide assistance, maybe rental assistance specifically, in a future round of CARES Act funding.”
There is growing concern about a wave of evictions after the end of this year. The Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is already helping residents who are facing eviction, even some who already received rental assistance. Chase Haller, staff attorney for Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, described the need for assistance from Congress as dire.
“The concern after December is there is nothing left. There is no rental assistance. There is no state moratorium. There is no federal moratorium. It really is the worst of all scenarios,” said Haller.
Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic set up a site for tenants having trouble keeping up with rent payments. The federal government issued an order that prevents landlords from evicting many of their tenants until after December 31. The site has a tool to see if tenants are covered and to produce the right letter to send to a landlord, as required by the order.