A nine-member task force created by the Indiana Supreme Court will help landlords and tenants resolve their disputes and access federal rental assistance resources.
The Indiana Eviction Task Force will review the state’s eviction process and make recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program, including ways to more quickly and effectively distribute federal emergency rental assistance funds to landlords and tenants.
Members of the task force, which include local judges and representatives from nonprofits, will submit recommendations to the high court on how the program should work by Jan. 17. The task force will be led by Indiana Court of Appeals Judge Robert Altice.
“… (O)ur courts are both the front line in providing parties a fair chance to resolve their disputes and the last line of defense in getting resources … to the people who need them,” Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in her Monday order. “And that money must move quickly.”
Since the federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium ended Aug. 26, Indiana has seen a surge of residential evictions.
An estimated 93,000 Indiana households are behind on rent and at risk of eviction, according to National Equity Atlas’ Rent Debt Dashboard. Eighty-three percent of those Hoosiers haven’t applied for assistance, however.
Since early September, Indiana’s eviction filings have risen 22% above the prepandemic average, according to state data. Statewide, over 22,000 eviction cases have been filed in civil courts this year.
State officials said local eviction diversion programs like this one are necessary to prevent secondary problems driven by evictions, including homelessness, criminal justice issues and child welfare matters.