Indianapolis relaunches rental assistance program

Indianapolis Business Journal – 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.

Read the full story on the Indianapolis Business Journal.