(The Center Square) — Hoosiers facing eviction will soon have greater access to information in the form of legal kiosks to be placed throughout the state.
The kiosks will enable people to fill out forms and contact a legal navigator to offer guidance through the process, Jacob Sipe, executive director of the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority said, according to published reports.
Indiana has more than 794,000 rental households, according to Eviction Lab, and averaged 5,674 eviction filings per month over the past year.
About 80% of tenants appearing in Lawrence Township Small Claims Court do not have representation Judge Kimberly Bacon estimates, according to a published report.
The initial project calls for 120 kiosks to be installed, beginning this month.
The $13 million project is a joint effort by IHCDA and Indiana Bar Foundation, funded by federal money through the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion stimulus package enacted by Congress last year in order to aid the nations’ recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s going to help people, but it’s also going to help the system,” said Charles Dunlap, president and CEO of the Indiana Bar Foundation. “It’ll help the legal system be more efficient, it’ll help individuals know and understand their rights, and it will hopefully give additional resources to people that are looking for them.”
Although Indiana ranks 41st in rent costs among 56 states and territories according to Rent Data, rents have been rising rapidly. The average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment in Indianapolis this month is $1,025, up 9% over last year according to real estate tracking site Zumper.
More than 42% of renting households in Indiana are cost burdened, meaning that housing expenses consume more than 30% of household income, according to the IHCDA data dashboard.
In 2021 the state issued $92.3 million in rental and utility assistance to nearly 17,000 households in 88 counties, according to the IHCDA annual report.