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Nearly 18,000 people on waiting list for Indianapolis rental assistance program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis has close to $25 million in federal CARES Act money to help pay the rent for people out of work due to the pandemic.

To get that money into the hands of people that need it, the city has set a website to process all the application, but the real boots on the ground are the 13 community centers and not-for-profits that are reviewing the applications.

But there is a small catch to how this program works: Both the tenant and landlord have to apply for the assistance.

“When they submit their applications, the landlords also come to the site to their portions of the application, verify the information, how much rent is paid, how much is the delinquent balance or not and complete that information,” said Dean Johns of the John Boner Neighborhood center. 

Landlords have not taken full advantage of the program, which has slowed down the process. Since the program started a few weeks ago, more than $7 million has gone to 9,000 people.

“Those individuals who have traditionally been able to support their household expenses are now finding themselves in a place they haven’t been before and having this resources has been critical for them,” said Johns.

The rent assistance will pay three months of rent. The assistance is based upon HUD fair market rent values; a one-bedroom apartment or house could receive $778 in assistance, while a six-bedroom residence could get up to $1,800.

According to the Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, as of Monday afternoon, 17,643 people are on the waiting list, and the number is growing by the minute.

“Right now the site is suspended, but we are allowing individuals to enter their information on the waiting list, and as of the 14th or 15th, we have been inviting small groups of those to come in and complete a full application,” said Johns.

This funding is limited and as of right now is going pretty fast. For instance there is $500,000 available in the Old Southside for rent assistance. Once that is gone, another $250,000 is allocated and once that is gone, thatt’s it. 

One hangup of the program has been getting landlords to complete applications. The city has said applications cannot be completed without their participation.