Indianapolis hoping to boost rental assistance funding by nearly $100M

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Indianapolis will try to more than triple the funds available in its rental assistance program by adding more than $90 million in state funding, city officials said Monday.

Indiana has underspent “upwards of $100 million” in federally allotted rent help from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act II, City Controller Ken Clark said.

The city began discussions with state officials earlier in the summer, Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett said, to use that money. The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority recently released an application for municipalities operating their own rental assistance programs, such as Indianapolis. The state received $371 million from the federal government to administer rental assistance programs but has used just a fraction of the funding.

City-County Proposal 249 would let the city apply for the $91.4 million in funds Bennett said it’s seeking, while Proposal 250 would allow the city to disburse it all.

The city’s IndyRent program—which launched last July with $15 million in funding and eventually grew to $96 million—has so far pushed out $53 million in rent payments to landlords of those seeking rental assistance, Mayor Joe Hogsett said at a City-County Council meeting Monday evening. Those funds have helped about 20,000 households stay sheltered, he said. That leaves about $43 million from the original funds.

CARES II Act funds must be spent by September 2022. The funding boost would likely allow Indianapolis to further stretch its American Rescue Plan Act allotment, which has a spending deadline at the end of 2024.

Proposal 250 will go to the council’s Administration and Finance Committee, which is set to meet Tuesday evening.

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