I-Team 8

Marion County has 9 of 10 Indiana ZIP codes with most evictions

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority says it’s gotten $55 million in rental assistance into the hands of families in need since March.

In total, the state government agency says, it’s obligated 58% in emergency rental assistance, which is a significant increase from federal data in August showing just 19%, during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve paid out $55 million, which, in a little less than six months, is a pretty substantial sum when it’s going to individual households,” said Rayanna Binder, director of emergency rental assistance for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. “If we were repairing a highway or something like that, (it’s) probably not (a lot). But when you’re looking at what was given to individual household, (it’s) approximately $3,500 at a time.”

I-Team 8 found in the city of Indianapolis, almost 70% of the $30 million from the U.S. Treasury Department has been given out to families. However, Binder says, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority gave Indianapolis an additional $88 million that has yet to be given out. She says the the extra money was to help create more of a balance across the state.

“When we look at Marion County, they have about 20% of the state’s renter population, but they only receive 6% of the ERA1 funding. So that’s what I’m speaking of when I say right-sizing their award to bring it more in line with the renter population that they need to serve.”

According to Binder, out of the 10 ZIP codes that have seen the most evictions across Indiana, Marion County has nine of them. It’s a big reason why the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority is giving rental and utility assistance for up to 15 months. Binder says the most challenging part about getting money to people is making sure people know they are eligible in the first place.

“Oftentimes when people are financially burdened, they stop opening the mail because they can’t pay those bills. They stop answering the telephone because they can’t pay that debt collector,” Binder said. “People have kind of shut down because they’re emotionally, they’re financially, they may be health burdens.”

I-Team 8 asked Binder if they had put any plans in place for those struggling after the 15 months. Binder says the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority is providing “housing counseling, (which will help people) understand how best to maintain their budget how to plan ahead for these emergencies.”

Binder also recommends people should apply first and then allow her team to figure whether or not they are eligible. To apply, check this Indiana rental assistance portal.