Hamilton County Emergency Rental Assistance Helping Residents Through COVID-19 Pandemic
The Hamilton County Township Association (HCTA) released their 2021 Annual Report on the Hamilton County Emergency Rental Assistance Program (HC ERAP) today. It outlines how the program helped stabilize the rental market during 2021. $7,771,772 was awarded in rental/utility assistance to Hamilton County residents. Specifically, $7,266,070 was awarded in rental assistance and $505,701 in utility assistance, helping 1,380 unique households from being homeless due to the effects of COVID-19.
“The median combined household income of applicants receiving assistance is $17,297 so clearly, we are assisting county residents really struggling to make ends meet,” says Danielle Carey Tolan, HCTA President and Westfield Washington Township Trustee. “As the winter months continue to bring spikes in COVID-19 along with inclement weather and dangerous temperatures, this program is more important than ever and vital to many of our renters and landlords,” says Carey Tolan.
“Not only is this helping our struggling residents, but it’s also helping our landlords, who have invested in our county, get paid the money they are owed,” says Mark Heirbrandt, Hamilton County Commissioner. “This program served 97 veteran households and 337 households with disabilities. It also helped households where the primary worker needed to be at home to care for children out of school, or family members ill with COVID. 43% of applications were in these three categories so we had a real need. Taking advantage of federal funding to help our residents is something we should all be proud of,” says Heirbrandt.
“There has been a concern among some residents that programs like ERAP have been contributing to the labor shortage,” says Carey Tolan. “We know businesses are hurting, and in an economy operating at full employment a top priority is for us to keep a roof over someone’s head so they can stay in our community and retain or identify employment. Evidence shows that when that housing stability falters the ability to effectively work or participate in education or training goes with it.” 57% of the households served by ERAP had at least one resident working.
Out of the 3,618 total applications received in 2021, 511 were denied assistance due to either fraud or not meeting eligibility. To be eligible for financial assistance from HC ERAP, you must be a renter in Hamilton County, Indiana, at least one adult in your household must have experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19, and your household income is at or below 80% of the area’s median income.
The online application can be found at www.HCTAIndiana.com. A call center (317-618-3125) is open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm to assist renters and landlords. The website also provides a list of local partners, throughout the county, available to help residents with the application process. You can visit your local library or a partner site if you need internet access. The Hamilton County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is included in two stimulus packages from the U.S. Department of Treasury. Six Indiana counties, including Hamilton County, were allocated funds in terms of grant dollars for COVID-19 relief assistance for rent and utilities, with the purpose of stemming homelessness and helping the economy.