Indiana rolling out pandemic rental-assistance program

The state of Indiana is preparing to launch a new rental and utility assistance program after receiving an additional $372 million in federal funding for that purpose.

The Emergency Rental Assistance program will be designed to help Hoosiers struggling to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible households can receive up to 12 months in assistance, and that can include a combination of past due rent and upcoming rent payments.

To qualify for the program, a household must have at least one person who qualifies for unemployment, has experienced a reduction in income, incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19.

An individual or family must also demonstrate a risk of homelessness or housing instability and have a household income at or below 80% of the state’s area median income. A two-person household, for example, would qualify for the program if income was at or below $46,250.

Residents in all but six communities that directly received federal funding for rental assistance will be eligible for the program. Those communities include Marion County, Hamilton County, Elkhart County, Fort Wayne, Lake County and St. Joseph County.

Marion County has received $28.9 million and Hamilton County has received $10.1 million for rental assistance.

The state is still waiting for final guidance on the program from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Shortly after state officials receive that guidance, applications for assistance will open.

Anyone in need of assistance can sign up for updates at IndianaHousingNow.org.

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