I-Team 8

Indiana Supreme Court pre-eviction program begins

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A new pre-eviction diversion program created by the Indiana Supreme Court is meant to make tenants aware of resources available before going through the eviction process.

Some tell I-Team 8 the program is a step in the right direction, but there’s still more to be done.

 “A really important piece is that if both parties are part of that settlement conference program, the eviction filing court case itself is kept confidential,” said Andrew Bradley, the policy director at Prosperity Indiana, an organization that helps leverage resources together to combat Indiana’s housing crisis. “An eviction filing that never goes to court can carry us what we call a scarlet E.” 

Bradley says the confidential part of the program is critical to help tenants access affordable housing moving forward. However, he says there is still some concern over the fact that the program is voluntary for landlords.

“The problem with that is that then neither side can get the benefit from it if the other side doesn’t agree,” he said.

Bradley said that this can lead to evictions still happening for tenants.

According to the Eviction Lab, which keeps track of evictions throughout Indianapolis, the city saw a drastic increase from September to October. There were 298 eviction filings last week alone. 

“Indiana has been — despite (the housing crisis already) happening — we’ve seen nearly 69,000 evictions filed during the pandemic, and that’s even when we have moratoriums in place,” Bradley said.

While there hasn’t been as big of spike in eviction filings as there was at the beginning of the pandemic, he says people have to watch out for the economic impact on everything else tied to housing.

“When the emergency rental assistance runs out or people stop being able to apply for it, then that’s where you’re going to start seeing some cases rise again,“ said Bradley. “It has a big impact on the community’s economy and therefore the state’s economy.”

To apply for emergency rental assistance, visit indyrent.org if you live in Indianapolis or indianahousingnow.org if you live outside of the city.

Indiana rental assistance programs