New eviction diversion program starts Monday in Indiana

Published: Oct. 29, 2021 at 6:21 PM CDT
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INDIANA (WFIE) - Hoosiers now have another resource to help fight evictions across the state of Indiana.

It’s called the Pre-Eviction Diversion Program. This comes on the heels of a couple of efforts by the state to help prevent evictions, but local experts say this one is different.

Scott Wylie is the executive director of Pro Bono Indiana. He spends most of his mornings inside the Law Library in Evansville helping local residents work out evictions filings.

Starting Monday, he will have a little more assistance from the Indiana Supreme Court.

“What this program does is allows the landlord and tenant to stall the eviction for up to 90 days,” says Wylie, “While they can work out obtaining rental assistance or other solutions to the tenancy issue.”

Wylie says this new program is the first time judicial officials are stepping in.

“Designed to get landlords their rent paid,” says Wylie, “and tenants the ability to save their tenancy.”

Wylie says if the program is successful, the landlord gets paid and the eviction record is sealed. Then, it will not show up on a tenant’s record.

“That becomes so important for our communities to avoid homelessness,” says Wylie, “and the cost to landlords, when you evict someone, it costs a lot of money to then replace them.”

Where does the assistance come from? Wylie says some of it is still CARES Act money.

“The first round is basically over, but the second round of money is still there,” says Wylie.

What about accessing that money? Wylie says he suggests both landlords and tenants call 211 if they need help to get connected to the right agencies in the community.

Wylie says programs like the Pre-Eviction Diversion Program are crucial because most areas are seeing a 20% to 30% increase in the number of evictions, with urban areas suffering the most.

Locally, Wylie says the Evansville Bar Association and the Volunteer Lawyer Program still host their helpdesk Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in the Law Library of the Vanderburgh County Courts Building.

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