Indiana News

Indiana Supreme Court calls for faster distribution of emergency rental assistance

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Supreme Court has issued an order to quickly start a program to more rapidly and effectively get federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds to landlords and tenants.

All justices signed off Monday on the order from the Indiana Supreme Court.

The order created the Indiana Eviction Task Force to come up with the program. Robert R. Altice Jr., judge with the Indiana Court of Appeals will head the group. Members will be Jennifer DeGroote, Allen Superior Court; Kimberly Bacon, Marion County Small Claims Court; Magistrate Kathleen Belzeski, Lake Superior Court; Brandon Beeler, Indiana Legal Services Inc.; Christine Hayes Hickey, Rubin & Levin law firm; Jacob Sipes, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority; and Patrick Price, Indiana Office of Management and Budget; and Brandon Spaulding, Indiana Apartment Association.

The group must create an interim report by Oct. 18 and a final report by Jan. 17. The final report is to include findings and recommendations for the program.

The federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program was created as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. The program received $25 billion from a law passed Dec. 27, and $21.55 billion from a law passed March 11.

In the order, Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush wrote, “Last summer, this Court — in partnership with the Indiana Bar Foundation and Office of the Governor — launched the Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program to provide landlords and tenants neutral facilitators to find viable resolutions and access resources, at no cost to either party and without filing an eviction case. And last week, the Indiana Office of Court Technology began sending postcards to all parties in eviction cases as they were filed, with links to eviction resources including funding.

“But our courts are both the front line in providing parties a fair chance to resolve their disputes and the last line of defense in getting resources—including millions of dollars available through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program — to the people who need them. And that money must move quickly.”

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