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Task force seeks to prevent evictions by speeding rental aid to Indiana tenants, landlords
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Task force seeks to prevent evictions by speeding rental aid to Indiana tenants, landlords

Loretta Rush

Chief Justice Loretta Rush established a nine-member Indiana Eviction Task Force Monday charged with speedily crafting recommendations to implement a pre-eviction diversion program, including ways to more rapidly and effectively distribute emergency rental assistance funds to landlords and tenants.

The Indiana Supreme Court is establishing a statewide task force to try to address the surge of residential evictions underway in the Hoosier State following the expiration of the federal COVID-19 eviction moratorium.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush said the nine-member Indiana Eviction Task Force created Monday by the state's high court will report back in 35 days with recommendations for implementing a pre-eviction diversion program, including ways to more rapidly and effectively distribute emergency rental assistance funds to landlords and tenants.

Rush said Indiana's courts already have been working for the past year to reduce the number of evictions using no-cost settlement conferences between landlords and tenants, and last week began sending postcards to tenants facing eviction directing them to programs and funding that could help them stay in their homes.

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"Our courts are both the front line in providing parties a fair chance to resolve their disputes and the last line of defense in getting resources — including millions of dollars available through the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program — to the people who need them. And that money must move quickly," said Rush, who lived in Munster as a child.

The task force's members include Lake Superior Magistrate Kathleen Belzeski of the County Division 2 Court, which handles evictions.

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