VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — After delaying evictions for more than a year, experts at Prosperity Indiana say 1,993 homes are at risk for eviction in Vigo County.
The Vigo County Sheriff is the only person who can enforce an eviction. But Sheriff John Plasse said it is not an overnight process.
“Someone has a court case or they file for an eviction and they have to have a hearing. Once they have a hearing then the judge will set a date, giving that person or persons time to get out of the premises,” Plasse explained. “A majority of the cases, they do that on their own. They follow the judge’s order. It’s just when they don’t, we go out and have to have them evicted.”
Sheriff Plasse said the CDC’s eviction moratorium created a backlog once it was lifted in August, putting more pressure on the county’s legal system as more landlords and tenants began looking for answers.
“It’s a pretty long process and obviously with the stays we’ve had it’s just now started coming back again,” Plasse said. “There’s just a lot of them that have gotten backed up and haven’t been removed from their residence. But we haven’t seen an increase in people not complying.”
Andrew Bradley, Policy Director at Prosperity Indiana, said that the state has struggled with an eviction crisis and affordable housing long before the pandemic began.
“We see that playing out among black and brown Hoosiers, families with children and low income renters are the folks who have been hit the hardest,” Bradley said. “It’s also true that a lot of those people may not have known that there are resources available. We hear that from people in the legal aid field all the time. They get to court and they didn’t know that there was emergency rental assistance available.”
He said it is important to let people know what resources are available to them to avoid a larger problem later on down the line.
“Housing stability effects the entire community. It’s not just the renter that we’re talking about. If you have large numbers of eviction filings… That puts a lot of stress on a communities resources,” Bradley said. “That means food banks and churches are going to be overburdened. What’s a shame is there is millions of dollars in emergency rental assistance that is there and we need to make sure it gets to the tenants and landlords who need it otherwise the whole community suffers.”
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