Evictions numbers skyrocket in Allen County, but new programs can help those in need

Local News

ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — It’s been one week since Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the eviction moratorium in Indiana. The moratorium put a hold on landlords evicting renters who had fallen behind on paying rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now counties are seeing an increase in evictions.

Currently, there are more than 660 pending evictions in Allen County, with 235 of those filed in the past week of the order being lifted. In a normal week, Allen County sees anyway between 70 to 80 eviction filings.

“It’s higher,” Allen County Superior Court Judge Jennifer DeGroote said. “It’s also, for some people, may be not as high as they may have expected because of some many months of having the moratorium. I think a lot of other things have happened in that window of time. Landlords and tenants have been able to work things out, tenants left, they obtain assistance, and landlords are continuing to work with them.”

With the rise in evictions, local officials are working to create new programs to help those impacted. One of those new programs is the Tenant Legal Assistance Clinic. The program was created by Indiana Legal Services, Brightpoint, and the local volunteer lawyer program as a way to see if there is a way to come to terms with the landlord or to reach a settlement. Tenants who think they may be evicted can also call the program and get information and learn more about what will happen next.

Judge DeGroote explains the eviction process below.

Another program in the development stages is the Facilitated Settlement Conference Program. This program will allow landlords and tenants to have a neutral third party to the facilitator, rather than a judge or attorney, to listen to both sides, and in the end, come out with a resolution.

There are other state-level programs to help those facing eviction. The Indiana Rental Assistance Program is a voluntary program that helps cover the cost of unpaid rent.

“These kinds of programs are also there to help get that information to both parties,” Judge DeGroote said.

Judge DeGroote said the best advice she can give to landlords and those facing eviction is to communicate with one another.

To participate and learn more about Tenant Legal Assistance Clinic (Fort Wayne), call (260) 424-9155.

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