The Hamilton County Township Association will open applications March 15 for renters who qualify to receive assistance for rent or utility payments of up to $5,000.
Westfield Washington Township Trustee and Hamilton County Township Association President Danielle Carey Tolan said she’s expecting 6,000 applicants. She estimates the more than $10 million in funds will help 3,000 renters in the county. The funds were awarded to Hamilton County by the Federal Emergency Rental Assistance. The township association is overseeing distributing the funds.
To qualify for up to $5,000 in assistance with rent or utility payments, applicants must rent property in Hamilton County, have had their income affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and earn up to 80 percent of the median-area income. Funds are scaled as incomes rise, so people making up to 30 percent of the median-area income are eligible for up to $5,000. Those making up to 50 percent of the median are eligible for up to $4,000, and those making up to 80 percent of the median are eligible for up to $3,000. However, if someone needs more assistance than what the federal funds provide, they can receive help through the individual townships.
“The great thing about this program and running it through the Hamilton County Trustees Association is that every township is going to be verifying their own residents,” Tolan said. “The software program is a modern application software program, and it’s doing initial verification and making sure applicants qualify and have the right documents. Then, (applications) go to a case manager at each township location, and that case manager is doing second quality control, checking the documents, and then at that moment they are able to see, ‘Oh, Jane Smith has $8,000 (in needs) and we can only cover $4,000 because of her area median income.’
“Now, the trustee can step in and say she also can apply for township assistance to help close that gap.”
Tolan said there are more than 26,000 renters in Hamilton County, and 39 percent are house burdened, meaning most of their paycheck goes toward rent, so they have trouble covering other bills.
Renters who receive assistance through the program never see the money. When they are approved to receive funds, the township association sends the money directly to the landlord or utility company.
To market the assistance to qualifying applicants, the Hamilton County Township Association sent informational postcards to 200 landlords in the county and have marketed the program to all cultures by translating the documents and website into 11 languages. The program is marketed on Latino radio stations as well.
For more or to apply for assistance, visit hctaindiana.com.