INDIANAPOLIS –Two state representatives are urging Gov. Eric Holcomb to speed up the state’s rental assistance program to help distribute federal funding to Hoosiers that are in need.

The letter sent Sept. 30 by Reps. Mike Andrade (D-Munster) and Renee Pack (D-Indianapolis) stresses the importance of spending the remaining $544 million of the $844.9 million in federal funding distributed to the state before the funding expires and must be sent back to the federal government.

The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition reports that 83% of those who qualify for relief have yet to apply for it. They also state on their website that 93,000 Hoosiers are behind on their rent.

In August the CDC issued a 60-day moratorium on residential evictions in areas that had high COVID-19 infections due to the spread of the new Delta Variant of the virus.

The order applied to over 80% of U.S. counties that have a high rate of infections. The CDC cited that in the United States, there were 6.9 million renters that were behind on their rent in June.

“We have been advocating to expedite rental assistance funds since June. Families and children are continuing to be hurt by the lack of action in expediting these funds,” Andrade said. “With school in full swing, it's important to keep children and families in stable housing to avoid additional crises that affect student performance, mental health and the future of our communities."

On Sept. 14 in Wayne Township Small Claims Court, there were 281 eviction cases in a single day. It was estimated by the National Equity Atlas that over 6,500,000 children are at risk to homelessness in the U.S. due to a parent or guardian not being able to pay.

“We must do everything in our power to ensure Hoosiers are aware of and have access to resources that will prevent them from losing stable housing,” Andrade said, “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we must do everything possible to prevent another public health crisis from growing-homelessness.”

Indiana continues to have increased eviction rates which puts more Hoosiers at risk for homelessness. Between Sept. 19 and Sept. 26 there were 1,605 evictions in Indiana after the eviction moratorium ended.

Andrade and Pack urged Holcomb to create a task force that would get funding to those Hoosiers who need it the most.

“We have the technology and funds to address this crisis, the longer we wait, the more Hoosiers families will continue to needlessly suffer,” Pack added.

The letter also urged Holcomb to use the remaining money to help Hoosiers who are facing evictions. The governor's office declined to comment on the letter according to IndyStar and referred questions to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

If you or someone you know is facing eviction in Indianapolis please follow this link for your options.

Claire Castillo is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.

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