Indiana officials, advocacy groups concerned about potential eviction spike once national moratorium ends

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national eviction moratorium set to expire at the end of the week, officials and advocacy groups are taking additional steps to try to avoid a spike in evictions.

Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana, estimates as many as one in 10 Hoosier households could be at risk of eviction once the moratorium ends Saturday.

“We are expecting several waves of evictions,” Bradley said.

It’s impossible to know exactly how many Hoosiers could be at risk of losing their homes come August, Bradley said, but that number was more than 250,000 households at the height the pandemic.

Now Prosperity Indiana has teamed up with other organizations to let renters and landlords know what help is available.

“Really one of the worst things that could happen is that you have an eviction moratorium expire, and then you have parties moving forward to court and not knowing that there were things that were there to help prevent an eviction,” he said.

But experts say that type of situation is not all that uncommon.

“Most tenants I talked to didn’t know they were protected under the CDC moratorium,” said Brandon Beeler, housing law center director for Indiana Legal Services. “They didn’t know that rental assistance was available to them, whether that was bad information from a friend or something they just didn’t research.”

Indiana Legal Services has teamed up with the City of Indianapolis and other organizations for a new program known as the Tenant Advocacy Project. 

The goal is to get renters the resources and legal representation they need to avoid eviction, according to city officials.

“This is really providing tenants with some assistance that they wouldn’t have had in the past,” said Andrew Merkley, housing specialist for the City of Indianapolis.

Indiana Legal Services is also working to assist tenants in other parts of the state, Beeler said.

“Just because a tenant comes to court and didn’t know about the program and maybe needs some time, or just needs time and applied and just hasn’t received the check yet, we just hope that courts and judges and attorneys, frankly, look at that,” Beeler said.

As for landlords, there are programs available to help resolve disputes in addition to educating them about the assistance available.

“Indiana has a landlord-tenant settlement program that will put the two groups together and make sure everyone is well informed and they can come to a reasonable solution,” Bradley said.

Emergency rental assistance is still available. You can apply through the housing authority that serves your area. Some cities and counties have their own, but the rest are under the state.

For more information, click here.

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