FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 22, 2022
CONTACT: Andrew Bradley | (317) 222-1221 x403| firstname.lastname@example.org
Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition statement on the passage of HB 1214 Residential Eviction Actions
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – The Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition (HHNC) released the following statement on the Senate’s unanimous passage of HB 1214 Residential Eviction Actions:
We applaud the Indiana General Assembly taking action with HB 1214 to address the ‘Scarlet E’ of eviction filing records if the case is dismissed or found in favor of the tenant. This has been a top HHNC policy priority for the past two sessions and has developed broad support and momentum from housing advocates, providers, and community stakeholders alike. HHNC thanks Representative Ethan Manning (District 23) for addressing Indiana’s eviction crisis through this provision, and to the House and Senate for unanimously passing it.
This action to seal eviction filing records is desperately needed in Indiana, which even before the pandemic had the highest eviction rate in the Midwest at 4.07%, and nearly twice the national rate of 2.34%. Families who carry the ‘Scarlet E’ of an eviction filing on their record can face years of difficulty in finding stable housing, with effects that damage the entire community when children perform more poorly in schools; employers can’t fill openings; and good-actor landlords, community services, and taxpayers bear the costs.
The crisis of the ‘Scarlet E’ has only worsened since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Since March 15, 2020, Indiana has seen 85,841 evictions filed according to EvictionLab’s Eviction Tracking System, nearly twice the next-closest state tracked. And with 31 percent of Hoosiers renting their homes across 794,237 households statewide, that means more than one in 10 Hoosier renter households has experienced an eviction filed against them during the pandemic, despite 16 months of state and federal moratoriums and three rounds of emergency rental assistance.
HHNC remains concerned about the provision in HB 1214 that will limit the effectiveness of court-based eviction diversion programs by stipulating that all such programs must be voluntary. Data from the Indiana Supreme Court found that of 1,363 requests to the court’s Landlord Tenant Settlement Conference Program (aka Fast Track Facilitation), 93% were not facilitated, largely because one party refused to participate. However, of the 73 facilitations that occurred through February 8, 2022, 75% resulted in some sort of agreement between landlords and tenants.
If data shows that HB 1214‘s provision requiring these programs to be voluntary does not help increase the use of the Indiana Supreme Court’s current Landlord-Tenant Settlement Conference Program, HHNC believes the Assembly should be quick to revisit this provision to ensure all parties can access the benefits of these proven programs.
“We are glad to see our legislature take one step forward this session to help Hoosiers find and keep our roof over our heads,” said Stephanie Zhang, Housing & Bartholomew County Organizer for Hoosier Action. “We still have a long way to go to fully address our state’s eviction crisis, though, and want to work with the legislature to take larger strides forward to protect Hoosier families and ensure access to safe, quality, affordable housing.”
“Each day we learn more and more about how far too many hard working Hoosiers are experiencing housing barriers,” said Amy Nelson, Executive Director of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana. “HB 1214’s passage will provide an option for those who may have experienced the unfairness of the eviction process to not let that previous action haunt them for years to come in their housing options.”
“As a member of HHNC, we are encouraged that the passage of HB 1214 demonstrates a growing understanding by state legislators of the scope of Indiana’s housing crisis,” said Jessica Love, Executive Director for Prosperity Indiana. “By helping address part of the ‘Scarlet E’ caused by eviction, it is our hope that HB 1214 begins broader action to address the underlying causes of Indiana’s high eviction and housing instability problems. And we are committed to working with Indiana’s policymakers on solutions that ensure no Hoosier is evicted or made homeless due to the ongoing effects of the pandemic.”
 2016 Pre-pandemic eviction data for Indiana from Princeton University’s EvictionLab.
 COVID-19 Eviction Tracking System, EvictionLab data through February 12, 2022.
 ‘Out of Reach: Indiana’, National Low Income Housing Coalition, 2021
 Data provided via email by staff of the Indiana Supreme Court, February 8, 2022.
About the Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition:
Hoosier Housing Needs Coalition (HHNC) was formed by members of Indiana’s housing security advocacy community in April 2020 to support advocacy and education related to housing and homelessness prevention in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staffed by Prosperity Indiana through advocacy and coalition building grants from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Central Indiana Community Foundation, HHNC convenes partners from across Indiana to advocate for immediate, medium- and long-term housing stability policy solutions and conduct education and research to achieve federal, state, and local policies for an equitable response and recovery to the pandemic and beyond.
The HHNC Steering Committee is comprised of members from AARP Indiana, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP), Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, Hoosier Action, Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Indiana Community Action Poverty Institute – INCAA, Indiana University McKinney School of Law, Prosperity Indiana, The Ross Foundation, and United Way of Central Indiana.