Millions of emergency rental funds still available in Indiana as eviction moratorium expires

Local News

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Many renters are in danger of losing their home following a decision by the Supreme Court to end a temporary ban on evictions.

With this pandemic-related moratorium scrapped, local and state officials are urging eligible tenants to apply for emergency rental assistance as soon as possible.

As of Monday, the City of Fort Wayne has distributed about 75% of its $8.1 million in federal allocations. Kelly Lundberg, the City’s director of housing and neighborhood services, says about $6 million in rental assistance has been distributed to more than 2,000 families in Fort Wayne.

“We’re finding that it’s probably not enough for us,” Lundberg said. “Obviously we have approved more than enough applications. I’m positive that we have fully obligated the full $8 million, and obviously there are still people out there that need more assistance.”

Lundberg added that nearly 3,000 applications are still not complete, and is urging those who need assistance to submit those as soon as possible. Fort Wayne residents who could qualify for emergency rental assistance due to the pandemic can apply on the city’s website.

While the City of Fort Wayne has distributed most of their federal funding, the same cannot be said for the rest of the state. Over $371 million was allocated in federal funding for Hoosier residents not living in Fort Wayne and certain metropolitan areas. As of Aug. 23, $68.6 million has been distributed to tenants throughout the state, or just 18% of the state’s allocated funding.

Why have these funds not gone out as quickly compared to a metro area like Fort Wayne? A spokesperson with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) clarified that Hoosier tenants can apply for both rental and utility assistance.

“Our decision to pay utilities has caused some delay in moving the funds but we continue to work diligently to assist renters and landlords throughout the state,” said the spokesperson.

The table below shows how federal emergency rental assistance funds have been allocated throughout northeast Indiana and the rest of the state.

CountyHouseholds AssistedTotal Assistance Paid and ObligatedApplications in progressEligible applications in progress
Allen (non-Fort Wayne)91$746,268.819057
Huntington 35$251,106.053816
Data is current as of Aug. 23 | Source: Indiana Housing Community and Development Authority

Hoosier residents that live outside of Fort Wayne can apply for emergency rental assistance by visiting the Indiana Housing Community and Development Authority’s website.

Paying rent becoming is more out of reach

According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the pandemic has deepened the divide between what a tenant earns and what is considered affordable housing.

The graphic below shows Hoosiers on average need to make at least $16.57 per hour to afford a two bedroom rental home. According to the NLIHC, the average renter’s wage is $14.58.

Click here to see the full “Out of Reach” report from the NLIHC, including a breakdown on housing affordability in Indiana.

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