On Tuesday, with the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program nearing its August 26 end date, Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) sent a letter to Governor Holcomb asking for an extension of this popular assistance program. Indiana currently has over $1 billion still available from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRVF). Sen. Lanane urged the governor to use this large amount of assistance money to continue to bolster the rental program and allow more Hoosiers to access it.

“We have an eviction crisis on our hands here in Indiana,” Sen. Lanane said. “Luckily, we have the resources to make sure that over half a million Hoosiers don’t find themselves on the street.

“Throughout the entirety of this public health crisis, we have urged Hoosiers to stay home and hunker down to slow the spread of COVID-19. How can we keep telling families to stay home and stay safe if they could soon be evicted due to no fault of their own? The pandemic-induced economic recession is hitting Hoosier families hard, and the state needs to be there to lift them up keep them safe.”

Sen. Lanane’s full letter to the governor can be found below:

Dear Governor Holcomb,

Over 200,000 Hoosier households, or over half a million hard-working Hoosiers, are currently on the verge of eviction due to the economic conditions this pandemic has brought to our state. With the expiration of the state eviction moratorium, and your housing assistance program ending on August 26, too many Hoosiers will be left without housing security. The Senate Democratic Caucus implores you to continue the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program by allocating more of the available money from the federal government’s Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRVF).

Indiana’s eviction crisis is being felt by folks of all backgrounds, and the statewide organization Prosperity Indiana has shared some alarming data to back up this concern. Across our great state, over 40 percent of white renters are cost-burdened by housing – an incredibly alarming number as we continue into the seventh month of this public health and economic crisis. Our minority Hoosiers find themselves in more harrowing situations. Almost 45 percent of Latino households and over half of Black households are cost-burdened. Unfortunately, with no eviction moratorium and the end of our housing assistance program, too many Hoosiers will still find themselves being forced out of their homes at no fault of their own.

We do have the ability to help our constituents, though. Currently, Indiana still has over $1 billion available in the CRVF. The COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program has been an incredibly popular program that has protected Hoosiers from homelessness. There have been over 30,000 applications to the program since it opened, nearly triple what your administration anticipated. It’s clear that if more funds were allocated toward keeping this program open, then this assistance would be put to good use. Until additional resources from the CRVF are available to the program, the state must allow Hoosiers to continue applying and be placed on a waitlist so that households are not turned away.

One of Indiana’s most important slogans is “A State that Works.” Unfortunately, we can’t have a state that works if hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers are at risk of losing their homes and being out on the street. In the middle of a pandemic where we encourage Hoosiers to hunker down and stay home to protect their health, we must do everything we can to make sure that they have homes in which to stay safe. Hoosiers’ health and economic stability must come first, and Indiana has the resources to safeguard them.

For these reasons, I ask you to please use available federal funds to continue the COVID-19 Rental Assistance Program. Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I look forward to your response.

Timothy S. Lanane