FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Allen Superior Court received a $164,040 grant to cut down on the number of people being evicted from their homes.

Allen County was selected for the National Center for State Courts’ Eviction Diversion Initiative through a competitive application process.

It was one of 13 jurisdictions selected nationwide.

Allen Superior Court Chief Judge Jennifer DeGroote said the county was selected to continue the work it is already doing, not because there’s an eviction issue.

“Over the past two years our community has faced challenges that we never imagined. The pandemic aggravated already serious problems posed by the number of evictions we experience in Allen County,” said Judge DeGroote. “It’s fair to characterize this as a community that saw the need to keep improving on the work we’ve already done. We’ve already been a community very committed to eviction diversion through the work of the state task force and recommendations for the Indiana Supreme Court. This is something we saw as an opportunity to go for the grant, hopefully get the grant so we can just keep improving upon the work that we’re all doing.

The Superior Court will use the grant to hire dedicated staff to help create different strategies for resolving legal problems related to eviction. Successful eviction diversion programs provide landlords and tenants with more time, information and resources to help resolve housing problems.

“Building a dedicated Eviction Diversion Initiative will benefit tenants and landlords, keep more people in their homes and diminish the profound impact on lives that can result from a loss of housing,” said Judge DeGroote.

Allen County had 5,300 evictions in the year 2018. Since then, those rates have dropped slightly with 2,811 filed eviction claims in 2021.