While the country awaits the next round of economic stimulus to pass through Congress, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is helping keep roofs over heads in Bartholomew County.
The Columbus Housing Authority (CHA) is set to soon receive $86,964 in federal funding from the CARES Act. That money comes from the over $5.3 million that has been allocated for 49 public housing authorities (PHAs) in Indiana. The CHA’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program will receive $76,410, and its Mainstream Voucher Program will acquire $10,554. Funds are not to be used for housing voucher payments, but for program administration.
HCVs, which are administered locally by PHAs, receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The program is the federal government’s major program for assisting very low-income families, the elderly, and the disabled to afford decent, safe, and sanitary housing in the private market. Since housing assistance is provided on behalf of the family or individual, participants are able to find their own housing, including single-family homes, townhouses and apartments.
There’s a short list of expenses the money can be used for, but all of the funds go towards the same cause: giving the CHA staff the ability to better serve those needing help.
Some Hoosiers are, and could soon be, in need of the program.
On Aug. 14, after multiple extensions due to COVID-19, the moratorium on evictions and shutoffs was lifted. Hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers are now at risk of losing their homes.
While the latest round of unemployment numbers were improved, the numbers were still historically high. A total of 1,720 workers in Bartholomew County were drawing unemployment on Aug. 8.
In recent weeks, the number of positive coronavirus cases has also risen, creating fear that another lockdown could be in store in the coming months.
Thankfully, the state has some additional money from the CARES Act allocated to help combat homelessness. To help Hoosiers avoid eviction, the state allocated $40 million from the CARES Act to a rental assistance fund. The rental assistance program is available for everyone in Indiana except for Marion County, which has its own program to help renters.
While many have felt frustrated by the government’s response to COVID-19 pandemic, some measures are impacting American citizens in a big way. The CARES money won’t last forever, but it’s making a difference for the time being.
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The state’s rental assistance program during the pandemic may be accessed at indianahousingnow.org, through the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). Renters from outside of Marion County are eligible for programs that help cover monthly rent payments and past due rent.
In Columbus, the rental assistance program is available through the website columbus.in.gov/community-development/cdbg-information/short-term-rent-assistance-program/. On the website is information about eligibility, requirements and application materials.
Learn more about the Columbus Housing Authority at https://columbushome.net or call (812) 378-0005 (Ext. 110)