High demand for rental assistance continues to grow in Vanderburgh Co.

High demand for rental assistance continues to grow in Vanderburgh Co.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Vanderburgh County officials say they are still seeing a high demand for rental assistance for the state’s Landlord and Tenant Settlement Program.

As we first reported in August, this conference program for landlords and tenants is designed to keep eviction cases out of the courtroom and off permanent records. According to officials, it’s as simple as landlords and tenants sitting down for a no-cost conversation with a civil legal aid attorney.

But those on the frontlines tell 14 News the demand continues to grow.

In Vanderburgh County, the help desk, organized by the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana and the Evansville BAR Association, sits just outside the Small Claims Court. Organizers tell us they average 20 to 30 consolations a week, and that resource material is available any time the courts are open.

Despite their best effort, not all cases have been settled outside the courtroom.

Officials with the Vanderburgh Count Courts tell us they’ve seen 150 to 200 eviction filings since August 17. They say that’s upwards of 100 more cases than a typical two-month span.

The Executive Director of Pro Bono Indiana, Scott Wylie, says while eviction filings could happen for a number of reasons, the best step for tenants struggling financially is to ask for help.

“People are wanting to be helpful during the pandemic," stated Wylie. "We know there are a lot of challenges out there. That’s why people are volunteering for programs like this to make sure we get as many people through this as we possibly can with the least amount of damage to our local community.”

Wylie says with that in mind, the volunteer lawyers have found most landlords who use the help desk are looking for ways to help their residents, so the landlords are able to pay their bills as well.

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