The city of Indianapolis’ rental assistance program, which got its start in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and was shut down temporarily in November, is being revived through the end of 2023 and possibly longer if more funding can be found.
The relaunch of the IndyRent program will be funded with $6.7 million from the federal Emergency Rental Assistance II program, the city announced Monday.
“We are looking at all possible funding sources because the city of Indianapolis cannot and will not be an eviction capital,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
Indianapolis renters have recently experienced a higher rate of evictions than the rest of the nation. In the first six months of 2022, 6.7 evictions were filed for every 100 rental households, according to The Polis Center at IUPUI. The same report says that Indianapolis ranks among the highest cities in the country for total eviction filings, behind New York and Detroit.
Jeff Bennett, senior policy advisor to the mayor, said the city will seek future assistance from the federal government and local philanthropic sources. Some hope hinges on Congress, which has shown bipartisan support for eviction-prevention assistance. The Eviction Crisis Act, introduced in 2019, was co-authored by Republican Sen. Todd Young of Indiana.
The IndyRent program got its start in July 2020 and has provided $178 million in rental assistance to 60,000 approved applicants. In July 2022, the assistance program shifted gears from providing assistance to individuals who experienced a pandemic-related disruption of income to being solely eviction-based. Under the initial model, it distributed about $7 million a month. Now the aim is to distribute about $1 million each month.
Renters making less than 80% of Indianapolis’ median income will be eligible. For a family of two, the annual household income cap is about $58,450. For a family of four, the income cap is $73,050.
Allocations can be made for up to six months of rent and while tenants can reapply, they cannot receive more than 12 months total of rental assistance.
Another change to the program is that renters on fixed incomes are now eligible, too.
Changes have been made to the program to speed up the process of cutting checks to renters or landlords. The city spent four months retooling the application to quicken the process. Landlords now have the option to pre-register their properties and will have a shortened timeline of five days to respond to applications. Bennett said the city is aiming to have a 30 day turnaround for renters after submitting an application.
Six community organizations will assist the city in processing the applications: John Boner Neighborhood Centers, Indianapolis Urban League, Edna Martin Christian Center, Community Alliance of the Far Eastside, Hawthorne Community Center and Community Action of Greater Indianapolis Inc.
The application requires an eviction case number. This can still leave a mark on a renter’s record, so the city’s tenant advocacy program and local courts will provide expungement resources, Bennett said.
The application will be available at IndyRent.org.
7 thoughts on “Indianapolis relaunches rental assistance program”
Free money from the taxpayers just in time for the Mayoral election.
Heck, just Biden’s promise of student loan forgiveness helped in the midterms.
Joe! You’re killing me with all the give-aways! There are jobs to be had and people need to be signing up!
This is still trump socialism bucks…. At least be educated if you’re going to complain
Thankfully no one in this comment section has any authority in city government. It should be striking that Indianapolis ranks near NYC for most evictions in the country. Anyone with a brain would realize the state needs more tenant friendly laws. Landlords, developers, and other special interest groups own the Indiana GOP, so nothing will be done.
As someone who rented houses for over 12 years and now owns multiple rentals (mom and pop status) I disagree. Tenant friendly laws don’t stop people from making poor decisions with money. And it does nothing for the housing shortage in this country.
What we need are many more affordable housing options. People get evicted not because they don’t want to pay the rent, but because housing is far too expensive, in many cases, for this market. Low wages and overpriced housing lead to increased evictions. People who say “but… there are jobs to be had!”, just don’t know the realities of the situation. Indianapolis has a very low unemployment rate. People ARE working.