Bloomington agencies partner to prevent evictions
The most effective method to fight homelessness is to prevent people from becoming homeless in the first place. That is the focus of a new emergency eviction prevention program managed by New Hope for Families and Shalom Community Center.
In May, Governor Eric Holcomb issued an executive order to stop landlords from evicting tenants. But Indiana’s moratorium on evictions expired Friday, August 14, creating a nightmare scenario for thousands of Hoosiers whose lives have already been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know that many of our neighbors are behind on rent due to loss of income and inconsistent unemployment relief during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, many area residents are facing eviction -- a potential tsunami of evictions that could overwhelm local courts and social service agencies.
Assistance is available. The Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program is designed to decrease evictions and increase housing stability by helping renters whose income has been adversely affected by COVID-19.
Indiana Housing and Community Development Association (IHCDA) has awarded more than $500,000 in rental assistance funding for homelessness prevention to our 6-county region (Greene, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, and Owen counties). Renters who face eviction (either through a formal court order or an informal notice to vacate) can apply for funding to cover their delinquent and/or future rent to their landlords.
“Our community can use Rental Assistance Funding to stem the tide of the pandemic's economic effects and landlords are key partners in that effort,” said New Hope’s family shelter director Chase Techentin. “Homelessness Prevention is a cheaper and more efficient use of charitable dollars compared to shelter. When landlords accept this emergency funding, they are helping protect our community's social safety net from being overloaded and saving valuable resources for the long recovery ahead.”
Any tenant who has lost income due to the pandemic and is facing eviction can apply for assistance through the IHCDA’s portal at IndianaHousingNow.org.
Once approved by the state, applications are sent to area “hubs” to disperse the funding needed to prevent homelessness. For our 6-county region, those designated hubs are New Hope for Families and the Shalom Community Center. New Hope and Shalom Center staff are trained professionals with experience connecting residents to support services.
“Our agencies are in the business of helping the families that need it most, so we are unfortunately used to seeing families in serious turmoil,” said Emily Pike, New Hope’s executive director. She added, “Any time we can work to keep a family in their home, we are keeping a small crisis from turning into a big one. We are thrilled to partner with Shalom and IHCDA to do just that.”