State opens new round of rental assistance for struggling Hoosiers

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INDIANAPOLIS – A new round of rental assistance is available for Hoosiers in need of help during the pandemic.

The state said more than 2,100 people have applied so far. Indiana Housing Now is offering $15 million in a second wave of rental assistance that can pay up to six months in rent for those who are past due or struggling to keep up with payments.

The program is not available for Marion County residents because the county has its own rental assistance program.

“I think it’s really encouraging that the state is reopening its rental assistance portal since it’s been closed at the end of August,” said Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana.

There is no deadline to apply. However, there are some new requirements. Applicants must not earn more than 50% of the local median income and are required to show proof of an eviction notice.

“If this is the only way that tenants and landlords can get rental relief then it could provide a perverse incentive for landlords to file for an eviction in order for tenants to get help,” said Bradley. “Can you imagine even a tenant asking their landlord to file an eviction so they can get this help? It can be really tough.”

It’s estimated that up to 313,000 Hoosiers are at risk of eviction, with a rent shortfall expected to reach nearly $400 million by 2021.

“We haven’t seen any lessening of the need for rental assistance,” Bradley added. “It continues to be among the top unmet need of Hoosiers across the state. And that’s even while the CDC’S moratorium is in place.”

Bradley said it has been difficult for many Hoosiers who’ve fallen behind to catch up because many are still unemployed.

The first wave of rental assistance ended on Aug. 26. The state said 36,000 people applied for it. This second phase comes from the Emergency Solutions Grant CARES Act (ESG-CV) rental assistance program.

Learn more about the program here.

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