Holcomb says he’s willing to add more money to rental assistance program

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb says he’s willing to add more funding to the state’s $25 million rental assistance program if needed.

The state’s program, which launched July 13, has already received more than 20,000 applications, but the funds are expected to be enough to cover only about 12,000 households.

The program will provide households assistance of $500 per month for up to four months.

To be eligible for assistance, an individual must be able to show a loss of income from an involuntary job layoff, reduced work hours or reduced pay due to the pandemic. Applicants’ current household income, including unemployment benefits, must be less than their household income was on March 6.

A household also is ineligible for the program if it has already received emergency rental assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Individuals won’t qualify if they are already receiving rental assistance through Section 8 vouchers or U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance.

A renter’s landlord must also agree to participate in the program. Payments will be made directly to the landlord, who must agree not to evict the tenant until he or she is at least 45 days delinquent.

The state is still processing the applications, but on Wednesday, Holcomb said his administration “will find the resources necessary to meet that need.”

Holcomb said that’s why he has been prudent with spending the $2.4 billion in federal CARES Act funding the state received. The rental assistance program is funded through those dollars.

“We want to be in a position where we can help people that need help,” Holcomb said.

The first payments are expected to go out to landlords as early as next week.

Also on Wednesday, Holcomb announced that he would be extending the moratorium on evictions though Aug. 14. The moratorium, which prohibits landlords from initiating court proceedings to kick out their tenants, has been in effect since mid-March.

Holcomb said it’s “too early to say” whether this will be the final extension or not.

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