City-County Announces COVID-19 Rental Assistance Plan
Residents of Indianapolis and Marion County who are struggling to pay their rent because of the pandemic will be eligible to apply for an assistance program, applied to three months’ worth of housing.
Mayor Joe Hogsett says the initiative is funded by $15 million from the federal CARES Act. The city also received approximately $5 million from Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc.
Renters whose income was affected by the economic challenges of COVID-19 may start the online application process on Monday.
“This rental assistance fund can help more residents… stay afloat in an uncertain time,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.
Governor Eric Holcomb announced two weeks ago a similar rental assistance initiative for Indiana residents who lived outside of Marion county.
To be eligible for the Indianapolis/Marion county program, renters must have lost their job or part of their income due to COVID-19.
Rental payments will be made directly to the landlord, but that is if the landlord agrees to participate in the program.
“We can’t unfortunately force a landlord to take our money. As much as we would like to be able to do that,” said Jeff Bennett, deputy mayor of community development.
Bennett said landlords will be required to forgive fees and interest on unpaid rent that may have accrued since April 1. They must also agree not to evict a tenant for 45 days moving forward.
The city expects the program can help between 7,000 and 11,000 households.
“It’s probably not enough,” said Bennett. “We think it buys us some time to understand how much more might be necessary.”
The rental assistance program comes from $80 million the city received from the CARES Act. Bennett said the city has not allocated all the money to keep some in reserve for which could further fund the rental program.
The application process begins on July 13 at indyrent.org.
Click here to learn more about the state program.
Indianapolis Deputy Mayor Jeff Bennett says landlords are not required to take part in the program.