44.3 F
Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Renter’s assistance during and after the pandemic

More by this author

Police have a legitimacy problem to address first

Lauryn Smith sat on the sidewalk during a sit-in on Indiana Avenue earlier in September and thought about whether it’s actually possible for police...

City leaders, community members disagree on demilitarization

When protesters came face to face with Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officers downtown May 30, the anger and confusion from the crowd was...

IU School of Medicine to participate in COVID-19 vaccine trial

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine will be looking for volunteers to receive a two-round COVID-19 vaccination when the trial resumes in...

Substance use disorder stigma: the ‘scarlet letter’

They say when white folks catch a cold, Black folks get pneumonia. The saying usually applies to economic disparities, but what about when white...

In the early days of the shutdown in response to COVID-19, Jada Williams was worried. Not just about getting sick — she’s immunocompromised — but also about losing her home. 

Williams, 25, works in the food service industry, and when her hours were cut, she feared she would no longer be able to pay her monthly rent. 

“It was lose-lose,” Williams said. “The more I worked, the more likely I was to catch the coronavirus. But that first paycheck after my hours got cut, it just wasn’t enough to make ends meet.”

Williams’ story is not unique, and due to an unpredictable virus, renter’s assistance programs and rent relief have been focal points for local and state governments in recent months. 

In June, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a renter’s assistance grant, funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, that will provide eligible Indianapolis residents with up to three months of rent assistance. Gov. Eric Holcomb also announced $25 million of CARES Act funds was to go toward renter’s assistance throughout the state.

In Indianapolis, city government is working with the Indianapolis Urban League, Indianapolis Public Library and several neighborhood organizations to help residents sign up for the program. The neighborhood organizations will be helping eligible residents receive the funding. The application is a two-part process. The first part is completed by the renter, and the second part of the application must be completed by a tenant’s landlord or property owner, who have the right to not accept the funds from the grant.

However, Jacob Sipe, executive director of Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, said he hasn’t seen any instances of landlords refusing the funds. Sipe — who oversees the state, not Marion County — said many landlords and tenants are working together. 

“From the conversations I’ve had with landlords and the Indiana Apartment Association, there’s been a high percentage of landlords who are working with their residents to get on a payment plan,” Sipe said. “ … We need to make sure we open up lines of communication between the landlord and the renter, and in my experience, everyone has been trying to do that.”

Sipe said the only issues he’s heard from landlords relates to tenants breaking stipulations in their lease other than nonpayment, such as destruction of property. 

“For this agreement, the landlord has to agree to not begin any eviction process for at least 45 days,” Sipe said. “Since we’re in the middle of a moratorium, that’s not an issue. Right now, the only thing we’re hearing is that there are some who want to start the eviction process as soon as it’s lifted for other issues a resident is causing.”

However, Sipe encourages anyone who feels they are being discriminated against by a landlord or property owner to take advantage of Indiana Legal Services or the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. 

“Indiana Legal Services is offered free for anyone who is feeling they are being harassed or their landlord is violating any form of fair housing,” Sipe said. “If their landlord has began the eviction process for nonpayment of rent, that’s a clear violation of moratorium, so I would refer them to either of those two sources. They are in their corner.”

Under Indiana law, tenants cannot be discriminated against on the basis of race, gender, religion, ability or age. 

There has been a statewide moratorium on evictions since March. When the moratorium is eventually lifted, Sipe hopes organizations and state departments work to make applying for assistance easier than it is right now. 

“One of the things we’ve recognized from the very beginning — and it’s been magnified now with the pandemic — is … it’s a very complex web to figure it all out to apply for assistance,” Stipe said. “We in the housing industry and community leaders should be focused on trying to untangle that web, and help Hoosiers understand where and how they can get assistance.” 

Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.

For more information about tenant rights and assistance, visit indianahousingnow.org.

concerned black coupleProstock-Studio

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest local news.

Stay connected


Related articles

Popular articles

Ethics and professionalism in the workplace

If you look up the word ethics in the dictionary, you’ll find this definition: “rules of behavior based on ideas about what is morally...

Why influenza is still more dangerous than coronavirus

February is the peak season for the influenza virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most people believe the virus...

Cook Medical supplier facility coming to northeast side

A new manufacturing facility on the northeast side will bring up to 100 jobs that will average $16 an hour and include...

Veterans: Here’s what you need to know to select a Medicare plan for your health needs

Americans have faced many important decisions this year, with more on the horizon. As we look to overcome the challenges of the...

Standing on the promises of God

“When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, he swore by himself, saying, “I...
Español + Translate »
Skip to content