Letter: Governor ignored Hoosiers in time of need



You might be shocked to learn that Gov. Eric Holcomb is going to give back $49.3 million dollars to the federal government that was meant for pandemic rental assistance for Hoosiers. Indiana failed to give out a whopping 65 percent of our emergency rental assistance funds, and the U.S. Treasury wants it back.

Don’t shoot the messenger. I mostly like Gov. Holcomb, and I was a huge fan of (former governor) Mitch Daniels. But I own rental property in Indianapolis, and I have seen the collateral damage of Holcomb’s pandemic response from a landlord’s perspective. These tenants are extremely fragile. So many of them have preexisting medical conditions.

It doesn’t do any good to threaten eviction when there’s no money for rent, because your heart is not in it. The CDC stopped all those evictions, anyway. And the Marion County eviction courts were closed by order of the governor. My tenants don’t have the hardware to Zoom-conference with the judge. Assistance paperwork was way too complicated for them. Township trustees weren’t in the office, either, and Gov. Holcomb shut them out of the rental assistance monies completely, anyway. So, it was a real mess.

Our taxes paid for the rescue plan, but we sure didn’t get any of it back for our neediest renters. And mom and pop landlords filed almost no evictions through the pandemic, anyway. The big corporate landlords were the ones who figured out how to evict. Most of the mom-and-pop landlords depend on every rent to fund their own retirements, and most of them ended up being the lifelines that kept their tenants afloat.

Just because we’re mostly Republicans here in Carmel doesn’t mean we can’t see Holcomb’s failures. I’ve read every one of his excuses for why his agencies didn’t act, and there is no excuse. His failure to take responsibility has ruined lives.

Many of us live charmed, idyllic lives here in Carmel. But let us not forget that when the neediest Hoosiers were in their most desperate hours, they were completely forgotten.

Mike Staley, Carmel