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Housing advocates propose policy solutions to help Hoosier renters

Lauren Chapman

Indiana lawmakers are expected to explore ways to help address the state’s housing crisis in the upcoming session.

Ahead of that debate, the Notre Dame Student Policy Network and Prosperity Indiana proposed policies to help renters.

Indiana is one of only five states without a rent escrow or repair and deduct policy. They deal with situations where rental units have serious habitability issues that landlords aren’t fixing.

Jessica Preddie is a case manager with Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, an organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness. She said she’s worked with families facing situations like this.

“A family who wasn’t able to pay rent because they weren’t able to work – because of all the mold that was in their home," Preddie said. "They were hospitalized several times because of it and fell behind on rent.”

READ MORE: Task force recommends more than a dozen policies aimed at addressing Indiana housing crisis

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Under repair and deduct, the family could make the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost from their rent.

Under rent escrow, the family could ask a judge to allow them to put their rent payments into a third-party account. It would get withheld from the landlord until repairs are made.

The Student Policy Network report also recommended expanding an existing tax credit program, the Affordable and Workforce Housing Tax Credit. The report suggests targeting the credit to the most vulnerable and in-need Hoosiers.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.