Category Archives: Current News

We’re been staying home since before it was required!

Person in slippers relaxing by fire

In any other year, we would all be preparing right now for a busy holiday season — that fourth-quarter dash through office parties and school concerts and charity fundraisers.

That’s why we introduced Stay Home for HAND as our signature fundraiser in 2017, to give our supporters an excuse to take a Saturday night off and spend time enjoying the kind of comfort that HAND works to provide our less-fortunate neighbors.

Then came 2020.

Most of us have spent months at home this year, whether we wanted to or not. And we haven’t necessarily been enjoying it. Staying safe during a global pandemic has meant transforming our homes into offices, schools, and warehouses for toilet paper and other necessities.

But can you imagine doing all of that when you’re not sure how you’re going to pay your rent or utility bill? When making a mortgage payment means you have to get groceries at a food bank?

With your help, HAND is working to provide housing that low- and moderate-income families in our community can afford without stretching — or sacrificing. And we couldn’t do it without you.

So you’re invited to support HAND’s efforts by staying in the evening of Nov. 21 — or any Saturday night before the end of the year — and taking the time to really enjoy the place you call home. Soak up the warmth. Snuggle into the comfort. And rest well knowing you are making a difference.

Individual tickets are $25, household tickets $75 and VIP households $150. VIP households will receive a small token of our appreciation, and all “attendees” will have a chance to win one of three prize baskets we will announce in the coming weeks. Winners will be drawn on Facebook Live at noon, Monday, Nov. 23.

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New Indiana Supreme Court program tries to avoid evictions

The Indiana State Supreme Court last month unveiled a new statewide program designed to help landlords and tenants settle rent disputes before going to court.

The free Landlord and Tenant Settlement Conference Program allows the parties to work with a neutral facilitator to resolve their issues without filing for eviction. Even if an eviction case is later dismissed, the process can be costly and the stigma associated with eviction often has a long-term effect on a tenant’s ability to find housing.

State leaders announced the program as the courts face a backlog of eviction and foreclosure cases due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The increase in eviction and foreclosure cases requires swift action,” said Chief Justice Loretta Rush. “In the best of outcomes, more tenants will stay in their homes and more landlords will receive rent. That’s a win for the parties and the community.”

Landlords or tenants can request facilitation online; facilitators will help the parties discuss their situation and aid them in finding viable resolutions.

Facilitators are registered mediators, attorneys and senior judges who are provided with training, resources and compensation. Already, more than 100 facilitators have agreed to serve, including Senior Judge David Shaheed, who served as a trial judge during the mortgage foreclosure crisis in 2008.

“I’ve seen firsthand the results that can be achieved when all parties facing a difficult situation come to the table to discuss a resolution,” he said. “Facilitation is a way to help people in a tremendous bind move on to a successful next chapter.”

The Indiana Supreme Court’s Office of Judicial Administration started the Landlord and Tenant Program with support from the Indiana Bar Foundation and the Governor’s Office. The existing Mortgage Foreclosure Facilitation Program remains in place. 

Read the full press release here.

HAND, township trustees work to prevent COVID-related evictions

Eviction Notice image

Individuals and families that have problems paying their rent or mortgages due to the COVID-19 pandemic can seek assistance through a new program announced Aug. 10 by HAND Inc. and the Hamilton County Township Trustee Association.

“Since March, there has been a pause in any eviction proceedings at both the state and federal level,” explained Andrea Davis, executive director of Noblesville-based nonprofit HAND Inc. “But individuals and families who have lost their jobs or suffered medically due to COVID are still responsible for full payment of their rent or mortgage. This program will allow us to help those at risk of eviction.”

The federal moratorium on evictions ended in late July, and Gov. Eric Holcomb allowed the state moratorium expire on Aug. 14.

Danielle Carey Tolan, president of the Hamilton County Township Trustee Association, encourages all Hamilton County residents to seek assistance before their landlords initiate eviction proceedings.

“Our goal is to keep people in their homes,” Tolan said. “We know that stable housing is critical for a child’s success in school and better health outcomes—both physical and mental—for all family members. This then reduces the burden on our many social services in the county.”

Residents who need assistance should connect with their local township trustee to assess the situation and determine the best sources of help. You can find your trustee at http://wayeo.egis.39dn.com/   (Click “accept”, enter your address and click “trustee” on the right). In keeping with COVID safe policies, begin the process by calling your trustee to set a phone appointment time.

Township trustees will assess the needs and coordinate with local nonprofits to provide resources.  Other nonprofits participating in this program include:  Aspire Indiana, Family Promise of Hamilton County, Good Samaritan Network, and Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County.

Funding partners include Hamilton County Community Foundation, Hamilton County’s Community Development Block Grant program, and the Central Indiana COVID-19 Community Economic Relief Fund (C-CERF). C-CERF is a community fund established by founding partners Lilly Endowment Inc., Central Indiana Community Foundation, Eli Lilly and Company Foundation, Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation and United Way of Central Indiana to support human services organizations and the individuals and families they serve who are affected directly and indirectly by the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.

The state also is providing a total of $40 million in rental assistance to residents outside of Marion County. Applications for those funds are available at https://www.indianahousingnow.org/.

“By pooling our resources in a coordinated way, we can stretch our funding to reach as many people as possible while providing a variety of services to families in need,” Davis said.  “It is the smart way to work as a community to keep our community thriving for all our residents.”