September 14, 2021

Indiana Supreme Court Establishes Eviction Task Force

The Indiana Supreme Court created the Indiana Eviction Task Force to review the state's eviction process and make recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program. - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana Supreme Court created the Indiana Eviction Task Force to review the state's eviction process and make recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A nine-member task force created by the Indiana Supreme Court will help landlords and tenants resolve their disputes and access federal rental assistance resources.

The Indiana Eviction Task Force will review the state's eviction process and make recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program, including ways to more quickly and effectively distribute federal emergency rental assistance funds to landlords and tenants.

Members of the task force, which include local judges and representatives from non-profits, will submit recommendations to the high court on how the program should work by Jan. 17.

“Our courts are both the front line in providing parties a fair chance to resolve their disputes and the last line of defense in getting resources ... to the people who need them,” Chief Justice Loretta H. Rush wrote in her Monday order. “And that money must move quickly."

READ MORE: Less Than 20 Percent of Hoosier Households In Need Of Rent Help Getting Resources

Since the federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium ended Aug. 26, Indiana has seen a surge of residential evictions.

An estimated 93,000 Indiana households are behind on rent and at risk of eviction, according to National Equity Atlas’ Rent Debt Dashboard. Eighty-three percent of those Hoosiers haven’t applied for assistance, however.

Since early September, Indiana’s eviction filings have risen 22 percent above the pre-pandemic average, according to state data. Statewide, over 22,000 eviction cases have been filed in civil courts this year.

READ MORE: Resources Are Available For Renters Facing Eviction. Should Courts Be Obligated To Notify Them?

State officials said local eviction diversion programs like this one are necessary to prevent secondary problems driven by evictions, including homelessness, criminal justice issues and child welfare matters.

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