The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the financial state of many Grant County residents, leaving some without the ability to pay their housing rent.

In March of 2020, the CDC instituted an eviction moratorium, protecting renters from eviction for a period of time. Since the moratorium officially ended on Aug. 19, many local residents have been in danger of eviction, but financial assistance is available to renters and landlords in need.

The U.S. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is working with the Department of Treasury to help renters and landlords through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Grant County renters and landlords can apply for assistance through the Indiana Emergency Rental Assistance (IERA) program at IndianaHousingNow.org.

Steven M. Sapp, chief executive officer of Marion Housing Authority (MHA), said many of his residents have received assistance. One resident in particular recently received $6,000 to pay for the rent that had accrued during the moratorium. Tenants can receive up to 15 months of rental and utility assistance.

Though the moratorium was helpful to residents who were in danger of eviction, many local landlords suffered, Sapp said. The IERA program will benefit both renters and landlords recovering from the financial devastation caused by the pandemic.

Because assistance is available to tenants, Sapp said MHA has resumed evictions of those who do not pay rent.

“We’re in the business of helping people because they can’t pay the higher rents or whatever – that’s what we do,” Sapp said. “If they’re not willing to get the help that’s available, then we can’t make people get assistance. We are evicting some. It’s not a lot because the assistance is out there.”

The process to apply is fairy simple, according to Sapp. Those who are unable to visit the website and apply online can call 2-1-1 for assistance with completing the application.

“They’ve made it as easy as it possibly can be,” Sapp said.

Sapp encouraged landlords and tenants to visit the website and apply. Landlords are now able to fill out an application on their tenants behalf if the landlord has the tenant’s email address. Landlords and tenants can view their application status in real time.

“The process is simple, and it can bring in some relief and help during what’s been a difficult and challenging time for a lot of people,” Sapp said. “It’s definitely worth a few minutes.”

Applications are available in English and Spanish. Applicants will need a valid lease in the name of the applicant, identification documents of all adults on the lease, a copy of the most recent utility bill if requesting assistance, and proof of household income.

Anyone who has experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19 is eligible.

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