Three months since Governor Eric Holcomb declared a public health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic, Hoosiers are still waiting for a coordinated statewide housing stability policy response that aligns available federal, state, and local/philanthropic resources and provides emergency rental assistance. This blog post collects the analysis and recommendations that Prosperity Indiana and members of the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition have offered to Indiana’s state and federal policymakers and other partners to date.
A common theme of our analysis and advocacy is the importance for state policymakers to use the time available during the eviction moratorium to create a coordinated policy response and clearly communicate procedures and expectations to renter families, landlords, and community service providers and stakeholders alike. Because many of the resources available for emergency rental assistance to date come through the CARES Act but are allocated through existing programs at the state and local levels with differing eligibility requirements, it’s essential that state leadership provides the role of Housing Stability Lead to coordinate these resources to ensure they reach the hardest hit populations and communities. And because data has emerged showing that low-income renters, women, and Hoosiers of color have been most affected by the pandemic, by loss of jobs and income, and by housing insecurity, it’s all the more urgent that a state Housing Security Lead takes responsibility that these Hoosiers aren’t further endangered at this critical time. In addition, it is clear that not enough federal resources or guidance has been received to fill the need statewide. Congress will need to provide additional resources, and the federal administration must expedite authorization and guidance so that no Hoosier is evicted or made homeless due to the pandemic.
Updating Indiana’s COVID-19 Housing Response (April 3, 2020) “[J]ust as the state has adopted an approach of #INthistogether to successfully weather the long-term impact of the crisis, Indiana must also use the policy tools at its disposal to craft a longer-term housing security response that keeps Hoosier families secure over the months to come.”
Prosperity Indiana Joins Housing Providers and Advocates Calling on Senator Young to Champion Emergency Rental Assistance for Indiana (April 21, 2020) “While it will take Hoosiers #INthistogether to address the state’s response, Congress must come through to meet Indiana’s short term emergency rental assistance needs.”
New Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition urges actions to ensure housing stability response to COVID-19 (May 1, 2020) “In order to prevent a sudden wave of evictions and the damaging health and social disruptions that follow for affected families, Indiana policymakers must plan ahead to create an emergency short-term rental assistance program and communicate steps to be taken. It will take each level of Indiana’s elected leaders, working hand-in-hand with community leaders and advocates, to achieve these steps.”
Indiana extends evictions pause through June 4, but what’s happening in your community? (May 5, 2020) “Indiana’s pause on evictions has been extended through June 4, and that means the state has one more month to create and implement a COVID-19 housing security policy response to ensure no Hoosier is evicted or becomes homeless due to the pandemic.”
Prosperity Indiana comments on 2020 amendment to 2019 OCRA Annual Action Plan (May 9, 2020) “[Our comments] demonstrate our concern about the missed opportunity of not employing allowed uses of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) resources for emergency rental assistance as part of a recommended state COVID-19 housing stability plan.”
Indiana extends eviction pause again through July 1. The clock's now ticking for emergency rent assistance! (May 21, 2020) “[T]he state is now officially on the clock to have an emergency rental assistance program up and running so that no Hoosier becomes evicted or homeless due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosperity Indiana comments on State of Indiana 2019 Annual Action Plan ESG-CV HOPWA-CV Amendments (May 22, 2019) “Prosperity Indiana especially appreciates that the draft plan includes funding that would create a structure for emergency rental assistance to be delivered statewide to Hoosier renters most in need.”
Prosperity Indiana comments 2020 amendment to 2019 CDBG Long Term Annual Action Plan (June 3, 2020) “[W]e ask you to reconsider the opportunity to use part of the CDBG resources covered by this amended Long-Term Phase of the COVID-19 Response Program to align with the long-term needs for housing security, including emergency rental assistance, in response to the pandemic.”
Short Term Emergency Rental Assistance White Paper for INHP (May 29, 2020) “This white paper examines the pros and cons of several types of STERA [Short Term Emergency Rental Assistance] programs, including those delivered at the federal, state, municipal, and/or private philanthropic levels. Using examples of existing or proposed programs, the paper walks the reader through the features of STERA programs and the benefits or drawbacks of key decisions that go into program design, including implications for program outcomes.”
Housing and Rental Assistance Among Hoosiers’ Top Unmet COVID-19 Needs (June 2, 2020) “Without coordinated action this month by state policymakers to enact a working rental assistance program and support from Indiana’s Congressional delegation to fund it, many Hoosier families remain at risk of eviction and homelessness when the state’s eviction moratorium expires June 30.”
Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition: Indiana not making enough progress to avoid an eviction crisis when moratorium ends June 30 (June 10, 2020) “Without a clearly communicated comprehensive statewide COVID-19 policy response in place, ending the eviction moratorium would inflict even more harm on the most disadvantaged Hoosiers, undoing all of the strides made by the state’s COVID-19 response to date.”
Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition Virtual Press Conference (June 10, 2020) ““Being evicted come July 1 will only further escalate the division, the trauma, and violence within our communities,” said Dee Ross, CEO & Founder of The Ross Foundation and Founder, Indianapolis Tenants Rights Union. “Tenant screening companies will judge them more harshly in conducting future background checks due to having an eviction filed against them, forever impacting their ability to secure safe and affordable housing,” said Amy Nelson, Executive Director, Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.
Results of Entitlement Cities Survey on using CARES Act funds for emergency rental assistance (June 16, 2020) “Indiana needs statewide rent assistance, and CARES funds allocated to entitlement cities can be part of that if coordinated. Through a survey of cities conducted from late May through mid-June, here’s what we know to date about use of CARES Act resources by Indiana’s cities for emergency rental assistance.”
Recommendations for an Indiana Statewide Emergency Rental Assistance program using Coronavirus Relief Funds (June 16, 2020) “With an understanding that the full CRF allocation to Indiana may not be available for rent assistance, here are suggested guidelines for how a statewide rent assistance program could prioritize Hoosiers most in need.”