EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- The COVID-19 pandemic has put an incredible strain on people across the country trying to make ends meet and avoid evictions. In Indiana, that problem has been compounded after the Hoosier State’s eviction moratorium ended last year.
Months after the eviction moratorium ended, however, the Indiana Supreme Court launched Hoosier Housing Help– an initiative designed to connect tenants and landlords with resources to avoid evictions. Evansville City Councilman and Aurora Executive Director Zac Heronemus (D-3rd Ward) calls the program “a start.”
However, Heronemus says there are deeper issues with housing to deal with in Evansville, namely the availability of quality, affordable housing. Heronemus says the city needs more subsidized housing, and permanent supportive housing for people, especially those with evictions on their record. Heronemus says legislation passed in Indiana last year prohibits local governments, including the Evansville City Council, from implementing their own tenants rights ordinances- making a tough situation even tougher.
Lawyer Garvin Senn deals with tenant law through the Legal Aid Society and calls evictions a “black mark and a scarlet letter” that could limit options for tenants with evictions on their record. Senn says the Hoosier Housing Help program will help, saying “we want our babies housed, so any program that is working to preserve tenancies to the extent that they can be preserved is good in my view.”
Heronemus calls evictions, and the process to find affordable housing, a “steep hill to climb,” but says greater advocacy is still important and will help alleviate some of the eviction crisis.