The state of Indiana will soon begin a new emergency rental assistance and utility-home energy assistance program with federal money from the latest COVID-19 relief bill.
The state is still waiting on necessary federal guidance to open the program.
Indiana has received close to $450 million for rental assistance. Six municipalities will have their own programs. They are the following:
City of Fort Wayne: $8.1 million.
Elkhart County: $6.2 million.
Hamilton County: $10.1 million.
Marion County: $28.9 million.
St. Joseph County: $8.1 million.
Lake County: $14.5 million.
The remainder of the state will receive $372 million.
“Since this is a new program, any rental household that needs assistance and is not currently receiving it from another source, should consider applying for this program once it becomes available,” said Jacob Sipe, executive director of Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority. “Eligible households are ones in which at least one person qualifies for unemployment or had income loss during the pandemic. Eligibility could also include those who’ve incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship over the last year.”
Sipe said eligible households can receive up to 12 months of rental assistance and utility/home energy assistance. That includes a combination of past due rent and future months’ rent.
The household income must also be no more than 80% of the area median income. For a family of four, that’s about $58,000.
“It looks like they are really trying to streamline the process so this aid can get to the families and the landlords who need it the most,” said Andrew Bradley, the policy director for Prosperity Indiana.
Bradley has seen a draft of the proposal. He told WISH-TV it will be easy for people to apply and that there are enough guardrails to prevent fraud.
Hoosiers can subscribe to receive updates on the state program online at indianahousingnow.org.