INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday announced a $25 million program that will help thousands of Hoosiers struggling to pay rent due to the impact of COVID-19.
“This has been a very challenging time for Hoosiers, and the economic impacts of COVID-19 has left some renters in a tough spot,” he said. “The Indiana COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program will support our renters, improve our state's housing stability and help prevent evictions as the state gets back on track.”
The program will provide up to $500 in assistance for four months, totaling a maximum of $2,000 in assistance to eligible renters to help cover past and ongoing rent payments or late fees. Rental assistance is available to residents in all Indiana counties except Marion, where a local $15 million CARES Act-funded program will provide aid to renters.
To be eligible, renters must have lost their job or some income due to the pandemic, and the current household income – including unemployment – is less than the household income on March 6.
About 12,000 Indiana households could be helped. Payments will be made directly to the landlord, and the landlord must agree to participate.
Applications will be accepted beginning July 13 at www.indianahousingnow.org. The moratorium on filing new evictions will also be extended through July.
Holcomb's Democratic opponent for governor, Dr. Woody Myers, said “with his announcement today in requiring landlord permission for renters' participation in the program, Gov. Holcomb may as well have signed their eviction orders himself.”
Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box also updated the COVID-19 situation in the state. Indiana has 281 new cases for a total of 43,140. There were nine new deaths for a total of 2,386.
Another Allen County resident died from COVID-19 and 30 more have tested positive, bringing the total to 2,487 cases and 98 deaths Wednesday.
Overall, the rate of cases and deaths has slowed in Indiana – as has the number of hospital admissions.
For instance, there were 396 ICU beds in use for the virus a month ago compared to 263 now. And daily hospitalization admissions have been cut in half.
But Holcomb said “I'm not going to be so arrogant to start being giddy about where we are” – noting some states are seeing massive spikes.
He started Wednesday's briefing by pointing out about 12% of positive cases were in those under the age of 29 in March. But that has climbed to about 30%.
Holcomb said the elderly and those with underlying health conditions are being smart and hunkering down. But the younger folks are “being a little bit sloppy.”
Box said younger adults are going to clubs and bars, not properly distancing and aren't wearing masks.
She said they might be able to handle getting the virus, but they can spread the infection unknowingly to their parents and grandparents.