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What the latest eviction moratorium means for Hoosiers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The new eviction moratorium through Oct. 3 is not retroactive.

The idea is to give cities and states with money in the pipeline the time to get that money to renters facing eviction.

The Wednesdasy afternoon docket at the Center Township Small Claims Court was packed with tenants facing eviction. Almost all nine of the Marion County small-claims courts are seeing a tremendous increase in evictions. Rachel Hockenkamp is trying to stop them. She’s a staff attorney for Indiana Legal Services Inc., an organization providing no-cost advice to renters facing eviction.

Hockenkamp believes the new moratorium will cover evictions that were filed this week, but not evictions that have been completed. 

She said Wednesday the latest moratorium from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “went into effect last night and does not cover any eviction completed before yesterday.” 

I-Team 8 has been following the numbers for more than a year. There are close to 100,000 Hoosier households facing eviction, close to 30,000 in Indianapolis and the rest of Marion County.

Andrew Bradley is with Prosperity Indiana, a community economic development organization keeping a close eye in evictions.

He said, “And really what it means is that it gives the state and the six different locally run emergency rental-assistance programs an opportunity to get those resources into the hands of renters and landlords who are still waiting to receive them.”

The CDC’s latest moratorium is based upon the infection rate of the virus in each county. It covers all Indiana counties except the eight listed in yellow on the state’s coronavirus map. A county can lose the moratorium protection if the virus infection rate drops over a 14-day period. Bradley says the latest moratorium will provide some relief in the short term, but he expects multiple waves of evictions ahead.

“I think the larger point is a moratorium itself is really just a Band-Aid that kind of covers and to some extent delays the underlying conditions of housing instability and affordability that really predate COVID and have just been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Bradley said. 

The Biden administration has said it hopes the new moratorium will buy enough time for states to get COVID relief money to renters and landlords.