Indiana’s new Eviction Task Force begins work with focus on rental assistance

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Supreme Court’s new Eviction Task Force is working to get renters the assistance they need to avoid losing their homes.

The group is also working to give guidance to landlords about emergency rental assistance, according to Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Bob Altice, who chairs the task force.

“Every week we’re finding more and more tenants are behind in rent and unaware of the resource,” said Brandon Beeler, director of the Housing Law Center at Indiana Legal Services.

Beeler represents some renters facing eviction and works to connect people with that funding. It’s a goal he shares with the Eviction Task Force he serves on.

The group will examine Indiana’s eviction process and work to prevent people from becoming part of it in the first place, according to Judge Altice.

“I think the purpose of the task force is to think how we can expand or how the courts can help aid in letting folks know, both tenants, landlords, about the programs that they exist and that there is money available,” Beeler said.

Judge Altice said that’s the group’s biggest priority right now. The task force is sending notices about the funding to renters facing eviction as well as landlords, he added.

The task force is also working on forms and guidance for small claims courts to ensure they’re getting the word out about the program and how to apply, Judge Altice said.

“For a lot of people, getting on the Internet, downloading files, trying to get the appropriate paperwork to show that you’re eligible for this program can be a little daunting,” Judge Altice said.

The task force’s members are also looking at the rental assistance system as a whole and may propose reforms if they feel it is needed, he added.

“Trying to look at our processes and make sure applications are getting processed in a quick fashion,” Judge Altice said. “Once that occurs, then making sure that we get the money to those individuals.”

The task force is expected to release an update in a month and a final report with recommendations in January, Judge Altice said.

For more information from the Eviction Task Force on applying for emergency rental assistance, click here.

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