EXPLANATOR: How Indiana evictions can increase after the moratorium

EXPLANATOR: How Indiana evictions can increase after the moratorium

Even with the delay, roughly 3.6 million people in the U.S. as of July 5 said they would face eviction within the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey. The survey measures the social and economic effects of the pandemic every two weeks through online responses from a representative sample of U.S. households. Here’s the situation in Indiana:

Landlords successfully challenged the order in court, arguing that they also had bills to pay. They pointed out that tenants could access nearly $47 billion in federal money set aside to help pay rents and related expenses. Advocates for tenants said the distribution of the money had been slow and that more time was needed to distribute it and repay landlords. Without an extension, they feared a spike in evictions and lawsuits seeking to oust tenants who were behind on their rents. WHAT’S THE STATUS OF EVICTION MORATORIUMS IN THE STATE?

Indiana is one of several states that enacted a moratorium on eviction proceedings last year, but it expired in August. Despite the state and federal moratoriums, more than 51,000 eviction filings have been made in Indiana during the pandemic, including nearly 16,000 in the Indianapolis metropolitan area, according to Indiana Legal Services. WHAT’S BEING DONE TO HELP PEOPLE FACING EVICTION?

Housing officials said they’ve been reaching out to landlords in an attempt to reduce the number of impending evictions and encouraging anyone who may be at risk of eviction to apply for rental assistance through their area’s housing authority. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday also announced a new one-year tenant advocate program that will put a housing liaison in every small claims court in Marion County during the expected surge in evictions. Andrew Merkley, a housing specialist for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety, said more funding from the federal American Rescue Plan can still be budgeted toward rental assistance if state and local governments choose to do so.

By September, 60%, or $222.6 million, of the $371 million Indiana received from the federal government to administer rental assistance programs needs to be spent or earmarked. All of the money must be spent or assigned to renters by the end of the year. HOW ARE THE COURTS HANDLING EVICTION HEARINGS? Anticipating a spike in eviction petitions after the statewide moratorium ended last summer, the Indiana Supreme Court’s Landlord Tenant Task Force encouraged landlords and tenants to talk to each other, explore options, discuss payment plans and put all agreements in writing. Procedures and practices have varied throughout the state, though many courts have launched mediation programs to provide an alternative to evictions.

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