(UNDATED) – At Noon on Saturday, community groups across the state of Indiana delivered a dozen petitions calling on their local municipal and county leaders to do everything in their power to stop evictions due to COVID-19 and protect residents experiencing homelessness.
As a part of their local housing day of action, Hoosier Action in partnership with the Greater Lafayette Young Womxn’s Task Force, GLIA greater Lafayette immigrant, Greater Lafayette SURJ, Lafayette Indivisible, and Organized and United Residents of Michigan City has collected and delivered over 1,750 petition signatures to leaders of the following municipalities:
- City of Carmel
- Clark County
- City of Evansville
- Greater Lafayette
- City of Jasper
- LaPorte County
- Lawrence County
- Marion County
- City of Martinsville
- Monroe County
- City of New Albany
- City of Valparaiso
On May 21, Governor Holcomb extended the statewide eviction pause from June 4 until July 1. While this order will protect Hoosiers for one more month, it’s not enough.
To prevent a dramatic rise in homelessness due to COVID-19, Indiana must establish local and statewide programs for rental assistance and create a long-term plan to ensure housing security for all Hoosiers, no matter where we come from or what our color.
“I am doing this because I’ve lived in the New Albany area my entire life and I’ve seen the hardships that many in our community experience today, including my own struggles with paying rent, homelessness, and addiction,” explained New Albany resident and Hoosier Action leader Tracy Skaggs. “Five years ago, I began my journey in recovery and enrolled in college. Although my life began taking a positive turn. I was still faced with financial burdens that led me to sleep in a van while trying to maintain a full-time class schedule, homework, and family life. A year ago, I graduated as an honors student, found employment, and found stable housing.”
For Carmel resident and Hoosier Action leader Meena Moorthy, participation in the day of action was a moral imperative.
“I don’t want to stand by while COVID-19 threatens the physical, and economic health of my family, friends, and fellow Hoosiers. Especially when our state has the financial means to provide all Hoosiers with protection. Housing is a necessary protection for all right now, and it is immoral to strip people of their property during a global pandemic.”
According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, 258,782 low-income and newly low-income Hoosiers are going to need short-term emergency rental assistance due to COVID-19. Over half a million Hoosiers have already filed for unemployment, and the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will undoubtedly continue long after July.
In response, Hoosier Action is calling on Governor Holcomb as well as all local Indiana municipalities do everything in their power to prevent evictions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and to protect those already experiencing homelessness by:
- Keeping public restrooms & facilities open
- Letting people use public spaces and benches as shelter if necessary
- Putting a moratorium on water or utility shut-offs
- Establish a rent relief program
- Development of a local plan to inform renters of their rights
- Asking judges to stay all local eviction orders