The Supreme Court struck down the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium last week, but emergency rental assistance is still available.
St. Joseph County ERA Administrator Corey Szczypka said Tuesday the county is currently processing 343 rental assistance applications and has another 630 waiting in the online portal.
Since the state has received more ERA funding than it can distribute and St. Joseph County is coming to the end of its current allotment, Szczypka asked the county board of commissioners to approve a $3.3 million grant request for state funds.
“We’ve had an influx in applications – more than we originally anticipated – so this extra money through the state program would be like a sub-award,” Szczypka said at the commissioners’ meeting Tuesday morning.
Szczypka said the county’s current allotment will cover the 340-plus pending applications, but it needs the additional funds to continue serving county residents who are struggling to pay rent.
The CDC’s eviction moratorium was originally supposed to run until Oct. 3. It covered those adversely economically affected by the pandemic and who lived in counties with “substantial” or “high” transmission of the coronavirus.
The Supreme Court struck the ban down in a 6-3 decision on Aug. 26, raising concerns about a possible nationwide wave of evictions.
Rental assistance is still available through the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority, but St. Joseph County is one of seven statewide that has its own ERA program. Elkhart County also has its own program.
To apply for assistance through St. Joseph County, applicants must meet the following criteria:
- Are currently a resident of St. Joseph County
- Name appears on the rental lease
- Income is less than 80% of the median household income in St. Joseph County, which is $52,769 for a family of four and $27,208 for an individual.
- Demonstrate housing instability or risk of homelessness due to COVID-19
In addition, they have to meet one of the following requirements and provide supporting documentation:
- A member of the applicant's household has received unemployment benefits since April 1, 2020
- The applicant's household has experienced a reduction in household income due to an involuntary job layoff, reduced work hours, or reduced pay
- The applicant's household incurred significant costs or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
Priority consideration is given to applicants who have already received a notice of eviction, have a household member unemployed for at least 90 days at the time of submission and applicants with a household income of less than 50 percent of the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2020 Fiscal Year Income Limits. You can submit a program application online, or reach out to the following agencies for offer assistance:
- St. Vincent De Paul Society
- REAL Services, Inc.
- Indiana Parenting Institute of St. Joseph County
- Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc.
- United Religious Community of St. Joseph County
The commissioners voted unanimously to approve the ERA grant proposal.
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