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Reviving hope: Indianapolis announces relaunch of IndyRent program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city’s pandemic rental assistance program is returning.

City leaders say thousands of people are in desperate need of financial help in order to keep their homes.

According to city officials, the new IndyRent rental assistance application will be shorter and more user-friendly. For example, people won’t have to upload as many hard documents and its language will be more conversational.

They say more than 4,000 people have reached out about the application.

The Program Manager for the city’s Tenant Advocacy Project, Andy Beck, said, “It is an emotional rollercoaster. People are in crisis.”

Since the start of the pandemic, it’s been an uphill battle for people facing eviction notices in Marion County.

“It’s very stressful and people are panicking,” Beck said.

According to Beck, Indianapolis averages around 400 evictions every week.

Beck leads a team of legal aid providers and tenant navigators that are in eviction courts to help answer any questions about rental assistance and more.

“There’s minimal legal protection and legal rights for renters in Indiana, so the money is the best legal argument,” Beck said.

City leaders say the IndyRent program was paused last year in November to revamp its framework. The goal was to make it more sustainable in the long run.

According to the Mayor’s Office senior advisor Jeff Bennett, starting this Thursday residents will see some of those changes.

“Tenants will need to submit a new application whether they’ve received assistance in the past or not and come Thursday landlords themselves can more easily initiate an application themselves,” Bennett said.

Bennett says applications will require an eviction case number.

Tenants will be eligible for up to six months of assistance, and he says it might take up to 30 days for funds to be disbursed.

“The money, the check for the rent assistance is the best way to keep people housed,” Beck said.

The program will be available to households at or below 80% of the area’s median income.

According to Bennett, for a family of two, that’s about $58,400, and for a family of four that’s about $73,000.

Additional information will be available at when the application reopens on Thursday, April 27.