INDIANAPOLIS — Housing advocacy groups along with every day people came together Sunday to discuss access to affordable housing. The housing advocacy summit discussed ways to address the growing need for affordable and livable housing across the state.
According to the Hoosier Housing Need Coalition, Indiana is number two in the country when it comes to evictions. That number is based on court filings
Some people in the Indianapolis community are advocating for tenants by being a court watcher. Volunteers show up at a tenant’s court hearing who is facing an eviction.
" What we have real found out is that by being there we have an effect on the judge and the bailiff and the court people and also on the lawyer involved,” Dick D'alton a court watcher said. “They know somebody that cares about what's going on here is there watching and it's making a difference. “
While this is just one way housing advocacy organizations are encouraging everyday people to help their fellow Hoosier, they also want to see work get done on a state level. A charge State Senator Fady Qaddoura is planning on leading in the upcoming legislative session.
"If the private market cannot produce enough affordable homes then the state of Indiana has the responsibility to subsidize the construction of new home affordable homes and different types of homes and also come up with laws to allow us to maintain the current inventory of homes that we have in Indiana to be in good shape, " Qaddoura said.
Senator Qaddoura’s priorities align with those of the Hoosier Housing Need Coalition, they would like to see the following. Strengthening living standards for renters, increasing the supply of affordable housing and ensure existing housing is more affordable and accessible.
" If regular Hoosiers go to the statehouse and sit in on these committee which we are allowed to do by law that has an effect on the legislatures and how they create fair laws, " D'alton said.
While these priorities are something everyone and the summit agreed upon people like Mari Luna want to see more minority voices involved especially because black and Hispanic Hoosiers are the most affected by the lack of tenant rights in Indiana.
"I didn't see the voice of the community here today,” Mari Luna a community organizer said. “So moving forward we need to make sure that our communities voices, folks that are mostly directly impacted are also leading these conversations and being present. "
Indiana is 1 of 5 states that does not allow tenants to put rent in escrow or repair the problem themselves & deduct from rent for major health & safety violations. For more information about renters right and the Hoosier Housing Need Coalition click here.