EXPLAINER: How Indiana evictions could surge after moratorium ends July 31

The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes. Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and have fallen months behind on their rent.

Posted: Jun 25, 2021 3:53 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A federal freeze on most evictions that was enacted last year is scheduled to expire July 31, after the Biden administration extended the date by a month.

The moratorium, put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in September, has been the only tool keeping millions of tenants in their homes.

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Many of them lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic and have fallen months behind on their rent.

Landlords successfully challenged the order in court, arguing that they also had bills to pay.

They pointed out that tenants could access more than $45 billion in federal money set aside to help pay rents and related expenses.

Advocates for tenants say the distribution of the money has been slow and that more time is needed to distribute it and repay landlords.

Without an extension, they feared a spike in evictions and lawsuits seeking to boot out tenants who are behind on their rent.

As of June 7, roughly 3.2 million people in the U.S. said they would face eviction within the next two months, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey.

The survey measures the social and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic every two weeks through online responses from a representative sample of U.S. households.

Here’s the situation in Indiana:

WHAT’S THE STATUS OF EVICTION MORATORIUMS IN THE STATE?

Indiana is one of several states that enacted a moratorium last year halting eviction proceedings. The measure expired in August, though. The CDC’s moratorium has been in place since September.

Andrew Bradley, policy director for Prosperity Indiana, said more than 45,000 eviction filings have been made in Indiana during the pandemic, including nearly 16,000 in the Indianapolis metropolitan area.

WHAT’S BEING DONE TO HELP PEOPLE FACING EVICTION?

Housing officials said they’re reaching out to landlords in an attempt to reduce the number of impending evictions and are encouraging anyone who may be at risk of eviction to apply for rental assistance through their area’s housing authority.

Andrew Merkley, a housing specialist for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety, said more funding from the federal American Rescue Plan can be budgeted toward rental assistance if state and local governments choose to do so, noting that Indianapolis has already granted more than $10 million to nearly 4,000 households within the past two months.

Jacob Sipe, executive director of the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, said the state’s emergency program required only $10 million of the $371 million Indiana received from the federal government to administer rental assistance programs, however.

Although that funding has assisted more than 7,000 renters by providing up to four monthly payments of up to $500, or a year’s worth of utility bills, Sipe said program applications have slowed in recent weeks.

By September, 60%, or $222.6 million, of the money needs to be spent or earmarked. All of the money must be spent or assigned to renters by the end of the year.

HOW ARE THE COURTS HANDLING EVICTION HEARINGS?

Anticipating spikes in eviction petitions filed after the statewide moratorium lifted last summer, the Indiana Supreme Court’s Landlord Tenant Task Force encouraged landlords and tenants to talk to each other, explore options, discuss payment plans and put all agreements in writing. Procedures and practices have varied across the state, though many courts have launched mediation programs to provide an alternative to evictions.

HOW AFFORDABLE IS HOUSING IN THE STATE’S MAJOR RENTAL MARKETS?

Indiana has a gap of 127,000 affordable units statewide, with only 37 affordable and available units per 100 families, Bradley said. He added that although Indiana is a low cost-of-living state, small towns and rural communities have reported higher eviction rate surges than in larger municipal areas.

“People who (are low income), they’re spending a lot of their income on housing,” Bradley said. “So if they lost any income during COVID, that really quickly puts them under water.”

As of May, the median monthly rent in the Indianapolis metropolitan area had risen by 9.7 % over the last year, to $1,093, according to a report released June 16 by Realtor.com.

Median rents for a one-bedroom apartment rose by 8.7%, while two-bedroom units jumped by 14.1%.

ARE EVICTIONS EXPECTED TO CREATE A SURGE IN HOMELESSNESS?

A spike in evictions is expected once the CDC moratorium expires, which is what happened when the state’s moratorium expired last year, said Amy Nelson, executive director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana.

Although no statewide data exists, Indiana housing experts estimated that roughly 13% of tenants — about 106,000 Indiana households — are at risk of eviction. Recent census data showed that 56,000 state residents were concerned they could be evicted within two months.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 926604

Reported Deaths: 15083
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1262201958
Lake626901087
Allen52772747
Hamilton43283445
St. Joseph41475584
Elkhart33129488
Vanderburgh29927439
Tippecanoe26589247
Johnson23267415
Hendricks21902340
Porter21473341
Clark17150224
Madison17065379
Vigo15815273
Monroe14298190
LaPorte14108237
Delaware13771219
Howard13635262
Kosciusko11232134
Hancock10637160
Warrick10523176
Bartholomew10341167
Floyd10200202
Wayne9690218
Grant8939196
Morgan8734158
Boone8299109
Dubois7596123
Henry7469128
Dearborn745187
Noble7294101
Marshall7237128
Cass7097117
Lawrence6862150
Shelby6457107
Jackson643981
Gibson6036106
Harrison595585
Huntington591891
Montgomery5706102
DeKalb563591
Knox537599
Miami531983
Clinton527164
Putnam525367
Whitley516251
Steuben486367
Wabash477492
Jasper471961
Jefferson461991
Ripley444175
Adams439365
Daviess4064106
Scott394963
White386257
Clay382356
Greene380189
Wells379683
Decatur379595
Fayette367176
Posey354941
Jennings346356
Washington325847
LaGrange315774
Spencer313034
Fountain309753
Randolph305487
Sullivan299447
Owen279161
Starke272761
Orange272659
Fulton268851
Jay250634
Perry247451
Carroll241127
Franklin233637
Vermillion229750
Rush228930
Parke215220
Tipton206754
Pike202538
Blackford165634
Pulaski158751
Crawford142818
Newton140742
Benton139816
Brown132646
Martin126916
Switzerland123510
Warren113416
Union93511
Ohio77211
Unassigned0468

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1342777

Reported Deaths: 21471
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1502191556
Cuyahoga1327732318
Hamilton962791318
Montgomery659161136
Summit555141045
Lucas50248862
Butler46732653
Stark40741974
Lorain31004529
Warren29609328
Mahoning26462637
Clermont25206287
Lake24339416
Delaware22014143
Licking20180241
Fairfield20139221
Greene19955268
Trumbull19500508
Medina19478286
Clark17565325
Richland15949231
Portage15851228
Wood15438208
Allen13875256
Miami13549249
Muskingum12261149
Wayne11647237
Columbiana11344239
Tuscarawas10657265
Marion10509148
Pickaway10301128
Scioto10082126
Erie9618171
Ross9209174
Lawrence8516116
Hancock8298141
Ashtabula8180185
Geauga8066155
Belmont7966184
Jefferson7324168
Huron7253127
Union717849
Washington7037119
Athens681064
Sandusky6734133
Darke6559136
Knox6475121
Seneca6237137
Ashland5808112
Auglaize580488
Shelby5654101
Mercer552190
Brown551068
Defiance5361100
Madison535170
Crawford5299114
Highland527581
Fulton520082
Clinton515980
Logan503182
Preble4902110
Putnam4778106
Guernsey454661
Williams448281
Champaign436264
Perry432152
Ottawa431184
Jackson413260
Pike378941
Morrow369150
Fayette367652
Coshocton359466
Hardin350069
Adams348069
Gallia338054
Holmes3197108
Henry318868
Van Wert307170
Hocking291669
Wyandot276158
Carroll256752
Paulding236442
Meigs205242
Monroe185049
Noble164840
Morgan159228
Harrison151940
Vinton133918
Unassigned05
Fort Wayne
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Angola
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68° wxIcon
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Huntington
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69° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 60°
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Decatur
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Van Wert
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