Indiana agencies prepare for spike in evictions as national moratorium ends June 30


INDIANAPOLIS – Hoosiers behind on rent will be at higher risk of losing their homes in three weeks when the CDC’s national moratorium on evictions expires, and some agencies organizations across Indiana are working to help those who may be affected.

“We’re looking at a race against time,” said Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana, which works to connect Hoosiers in need to rental assistance and other support services.

“From the partners that we have who are in the homelessness prevention business, they’re saying that the system is already taxed to the max,” Bradley said. “And they are not really in a place to handle an influx in capacity.”

But despite the federal and state moratoriums, thousands of eviction filings have been made in Indiana throughout the pandemic, according to data from the Eviction Lab at Princeton University.

“There have been over 45,000 evictions filed in Indiana since COVID began,” Bradley said, citing the data. “And nearly 16,000 of those are in Marion County alone.”

Bradley and some housing officials are expecting a spike in evictions once the national moratorium expires at the end of the month, similar to when the state moratorium expired last August.

But more government funding could be allocated toward rental assistance.

“The pandemic has been really difficult on a lot of families,” said Andrew Merkley, housing specialist for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety.

According to Merkley, Indianapolis alone has granted more than $10 million in rental assistance to nearly 4,000 households within the past two months.

But more money from the federal American Rescue Plan could be allocated toward rental assistance if state and local governments choose to do so.

“It would be critical to continuing the programs right now,” Merkley said.

“It’s going to be really critical to make sure that the emergency rental assistance transitions into affordable housing resources, and then we can avoid this type of housing crisis in the future,” Bradley said.

Housing officials encourage anyone who may be at risk of eviction to apply for rental assistance through their area’s housing authority.

Housing officials for the state and Indianapolis say they’re also in the process of reaching out to landlords to try to lessen the number of evictions that may be coming.

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