|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
February 10, 2021
Today, Indiana United Ways and Prosperity Indiana are pleased to co-release Shelter from the Storm: How Avoiding a COVID-19 Eviction Crisis Helps All Hoosiers. This report is the result of a months-long roundtable of stakeholders from across the housing sector to address the public health and economic threats from pandemic-related housing instability. Participants included representatives from Indiana’s housing developers, multifamily and affordable housing providers, advocates from community economic development, antipoverty, homelessness and domestic violence prevention organizations, as well as representatives from the legal and public health sector and from Indiana’s courts, family services, and housing agencies.
Roundtable participants came together to discuss how COVID-19 housing instability affects public health and economic impacts for the state’s providers, residents, and communities. Experts from the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State, Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI, and IU Public Policy Institute contributed presentations to help participants create recommendations for Indiana to take next steps. While resources, data, and presentations from the roundtable are reflected in the report, contributions do not imply organizational endorsement of any specific topics or involvement in next steps.
Throughout the roundtable, participants also contributed to a series of surveys that revealed a great deal of consensus about the threats of COVID-19 housing instability in Indiana, including:
· 84% percent of roundtable participants reported that the public health threat from COVID-19 evictions is a high or medium priority;
· 92% of participants reported that the overall financial impact of COVID-19 evictions to Indiana’s economy is a high or medium priority; and
· 92% of participants rated the issue of rental assistance not getting to where it is needed most as a high or medium priority for the state to address.
While agreeing that more work needs to be done, roundtable participants coalesced on three broad recommendations for Indiana to take necessary next steps to avoid a COVID-19 housing stability crisis:
· Emergency next steps include making more rental assistance available and incorporating landlord and tenant input into the design and outreach of any future rental assistance.
· Additional data collection is needed to assist with understanding the risk of evictions, assistance needs and filings/evictions, including learning more about the specific needs of smaller ‘mom and pop’ landlords.
· More partnerships, education, and outreach is needed, and Indiana should partner with providers and community-based organizations to help rental assistance reach the renters who need the assistance most.
In addition to these broad recommendations, co-conveners Indiana United Ways and Prosperity Indiana believe the release of this report coincides with a critical opportunity for Indiana’s policymakers to take immediate steps to improve housing stability. The state of Indiana and several localities will soon receive $448 million in new federal emergency rental and utility assistance. Ensuring this new assistance reaches the residents, properties, and communities who need it most embodies the greatest areas of consensus among roundtable participants.
This report and recommendations are by no means the last word on COVID-19 evictions and housing instability in Indiana. Instead, the roundtable is intended to model the kind of robust policy conversation and guidance for Indiana’s policymakers to use to make immediate progress, even as additional discussions and work are needed.
Indiana United Ways
About Indiana United Ways
Indiana United Ways is the state association for United Ways in Indiana that supports thriving United Ways through capacity building, shared services, and partnering. Visit iuw.org to learn more.
About Prosperity Indiana
The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development d/b/a Prosperity Indiana builds a better future for our communities by providing advocacy, leveraging resources, and engaging an empowered network of members to create inclusive opportunities that build assets and improve lives. Since its founding in 1986, Prosperity Indiana has grown to nearly 200 organization and individual members, representing thousands of practitioners statewide from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.