INDIANAPOLIS — Finding a place to live with the right price tag is becoming harder in Indianapolis.
“The more housing that we add, the more we can reduce the strain on the housing market," Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
The City of Indianapolis is helping bridge the gap — the IndyRent program relaunched Thursday.
The rental assistance program has distributed over $178 million to 60,000 applicants since it launched at the beginning of the pandemic.
On Wednesday, local leaders and community members gathered on the Old Southside to break ground on a new apartment complex with a focus on affordable housing.
Indy-based company BWI, LLC announced the $25 million project will include 70 new units of housing priced at or below the area median income with an additional 35 units set by market rates.
“We’re gonna be targeting what we call the workforce population. That’s that missing middle," BWI CEO Gary Hobbs said.
Hobbs says this type of housing is desperately needed in the Old Southside neighborhood.
“Many of the folks are just slightly above the 60% median income, but they’re not able to afford the super luxury rents into downtown," Hobbs said.
The first of the month is fast approaching and for many that means rent is due.
But just how much are folks in Indianapolis paying every month?
“I think out the door we’re paying a little over $2000," one resident said.
“I pay about $300 a month plus utilities," another Hoosier said.
WRTV spoke to three different renters who live around the Indy metro.
Madi McSwain is a 24-year-old insurance agent who moved to her pricey downtown pad a year and a half ago.
“I love the nightlife. It’s a lot of fun and I like to be busy," McSwain said.
The hustle and bustle of the city drew her to her high rise, but she says the cost keeps going up to the tune of hundreds of dollars.
Across town, 19-year-old UIndy student Justin McWilliams rents a room in a house with seven other guys.
“My girlfriend hates it. We have two bathrooms. It’s not great," McWilliams said.
McWilliams says you have to do what you have to do to save some money.
“Living at this place gives me more money to spend on groceries because I’m not renting downtown for like $1000 a month," McWilliams said.
21-year-old Emily Mellentine, on the other hand, knows a thing or two about paying a grand plus on rent every month.
She currently lives on the canal with a roommate and says even with sharing a space, she's had to call her mom for help.
“I have to CashApp her quite a bit," her mom, Kim, said.
And now, in addition to going to school full-time, she’s considering a second job to make ends meet.
“I can’t afford afford to live. I can’t. With all my bills and food, it’s impossible to just have one stable job," Mellentine said.
The IndyRent program focuses on preventing evictions.
Applications will require an eviction case number, a standard in place since July 2022.
The maximum income for applicants will be 80% of the area’s median income.
The total funding available this round is $6.7 million.
The new application will be shorter and more user-friendly, and is available at IndyRent.org.
All tenants will need to submit a new application, even if they have received rental assistance in the past.
Tenants will be eligible for up to six months of assistance in this round but can receive no more than 12 total months of assistance going back to April 2021.