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Fair Housing Center report outlines rent spike’s burden on Marion County households

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Rising rent prices are placing a burden on many Marion County renters, according to research just released by the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

Representatives say the low vacancy rates compound the problem.

The data shows there’s only about six percent of multi-family rental units available, so landlords can be selective about who they accept. Historically, officials say black and brown people are the ones most often left out.

One woman says she spent roughly $2,000 in applications fees before finally finding a place for her family of eight.

Two months, that’s how long Ashley Eldridge and her husband had to figure out new living arrangements. The home they’d been renting had been sold.

“It was a long journey. Trying to find place to place. We spent a lot of money going to multiple homes. From the south side, the east side. So it was like a real long process,” Eldridge said.

During the process they lived with family members for a while. Waiting for rental approval and for a space big enough. Finally, the wait paid off.

“When I got the words I was like thank you. I know he just seen a smile on my face,” Eldridge said.

Her story is not unique. Rising rent and fewer places to rent continues to impact countless families. The Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana began fielding calls from concerned renters, wanting to know was the $200-$300 dollar rent increases legal.

“Because the market is just so tight right now. It makes competition more fierce,” Amy Nelson with the Fair Housing Center said.

The FHCCI released it’s housing report. Evaluating rent, burdens, evictions and profit in Marion County. Revealing a long list of concerns. Half of the renting population makes around $35,000 a year. Disproportionately impacting households of color, and families with multiple children.

“We feel it can also lead to more instances of housing discrimination. Because those bad acting landlords can afford to be more choosy in who they rent to. And who they refuse to allow into their properties,” Nelson said.

Eldridge says while her family is doing ok now, at this rate, there is concern what impact rising rent could have down the line.

“To know that they’re spiking up the rent everywhere is crazy… It’s just hard out here,” said Eldridge.

Eviction rates also continue to climb with some properties showing 50 percent rent increases since the pandemic began in 2020. The Fair Housing Center says, for households making $75,000, in they past they’d be buying homes. But many now can’t get into the market.