If you are having trouble paying your rent, mortgage, or utilities, you are not alone. Here are some options available for getting assistance.
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Customer Assistance Program (CAP)
The City of South Bend has launched an assistance program to help its low-income customers with their utility bills for services such as drinking water and wastewater. (CAP) provides a credit for sewer service on the monthly bill of qualifying residential utility customers. Qualifying customers could see a reduction in their bill from $10 to $19 every month for a year. Applicants must have a City of South Bend utility account in their name and receive sewer service.
Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)
The City of South Bend is partnering with REAL Services to qualify customers utilizing the same criteria used for the LIHEAP, which provides assistance for electric and heating expenses during the winter months. Interested customers must first apply for LIHEAP through Real Services by calling 574.232.6501. The application deadline is May 15, 2021. Customers who qualify for LIHEAP will be automatically enrolled in the City’s Customer Assistance Program. The credit will be reflected on their next bill.
Portage Township Trustee’s Office
The Portage Township Trustee’s Office helps with:
- past utility bills and current rent assistance
- client referral to Real Services for Energy Assistance
- final arrangements
- food and non food needs
They are currently closed to the public, so help is given over the phone at (574) 233-2126. Their hours are 8:00-4:30 M-Th and 8-12 Fridays.
- Go to ccfwsb.org and click the “Financial Assistance” tab to fill out the application.
Mortgage & Rental Assistance
St. Joseph County’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA)
To apply, click here.
For questions, call 574-800-6242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
An “eligible household” under the IERA program, as defined by the U.S. Department of Treasury, is a renter household in which at least one or more individuals meet the following criteria:
- Qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19
- Demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability
- Has a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median
Informational documents about the program and an online application can be found at: www.indianahousingnow.org.
IERA has also partnered with Indiana 2-1-1 to assist households unable to complete the application online. After being asked to enter your zip code, individuals calling 2-1-1 can select option 3 to speak with someone about the IERA program.
Renters living in Elkhart, Hamilton, Lake, Marion, and St. Joseph counties, along with the City of Fort Wayne will need to apply through their local Emergency Rental Assistance program. Referral information can be found below:
Fill out the intake form and be sure to include a working email address so program staff can get back to you. This link provided has a google form they can fill out for the initial intake form, (Bottom of the webpage), but then the patron will be emailed a link for the actual application so if you’re helping a patron please make sure that they have a working email address they actually have access to before applying. We’re not sure how long it takes them to send the link yet since this is a newer program, so we may have to advise them to return to the library to check on that status and help them fill it out again.
The program’s contact information is below if they have more complicated questions:
ERA Program Contact:
- Qualified applicants can receive up to three months of rent payments.
- Call 574-284-6020 to apply.
- Currently only taking applications for those financially affected by COVID
St. Vincent de Paul Society
- Visit https://www.svdpsb.org/rent-utility-assistance
- Qualified applicants can receive up to three months of rent and/or utility help.
- Call 574-234-6000 Ext. 2. Phone requests taken Mondays.
IHCDA Mortgage Assistance Fund
Submit an application at www.877gethope.com or call: 1-877-GET-HOPE (1-877-438-4673).
- This is a federally funded program managed by the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network.
- Eligible Indiana homeowners who have fallen behind or are unable to make future payments on their mortgage due to an involuntary loss of employment or reduction in employment income can receive up to $30,000 in mortgage assistance.
- Counselors are also available to provide free foreclosure prevention counseling.
United Religious Community’s Help
The URC’s Advocacy Center is one of the organizations helping to distribute aid for individuals/families affected by COVID in some way. Help is available for rent and utility assistance with St. Joseph County’s Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program; other providers include REAL Services, St. Vincent de Paul, Our Lady of the Road, Catholic Charities, and Penn Township.
Should you need help, or wish to refer someone for help, please email URC at the following address: URCSJC@gmail.com
IHCDA Coronavirus Eviction and Foreclosure Resource Guide
Review this resource guide for answers to frequently asked questions for those having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage.
- The first and most important step to take is to communicate your situation to your property manager or mortgage lender.
- Although the state of Indiana has halted court proceedings, individuals are still obligated to continue paying rent or mortgage to keep credit in good standing. If you fail to pay your rent or mortgage and do not make other arrangements, eviction/foreclosure proceedings will resume after the governor’s declared pause on evictions and foreclosures has ended.
- Check directly with each of your utility providers to see if they are offering help at this time.
Hoosiers who are unlawfully subjected to eviction and foreclosure proceedings during the ongoing public health emergency should file a complaint with the Office of the Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
If you are facing eviction, this website has a form to determine if you are covered by the Federal Eviction Moratorium and to create the correct letter (or “Declaration”) to send to your landlord. It will help you produce the letter you need.
- Reach out to Notre Dame’s Economic Justice Clinic or Indiana Legal Services, Inc., if you receive an eviction notice for a hearing.
Information about the Eviction Moratorium
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an Order to temporarily halt certain residential evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, under Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) and 42 CFR 70.2. This order is in effect until January 31, 2020.
- Declaration form for those who do NOT have a pending court case to say they are unable to pay rent due to COVID.
- Declaration form for those who DO have a pending court case to say they are unable to pay rent due to COVID.
- Checklist of items needed to bring to court in order to avoid eviction.
Does the CDC order prevent all evictions?
No, the moratorium only covers claims solely for non-payment of financial obligations (rent, fees, etc.). If there are other breaches of the rental agreement (i.e. engaging in criminal activity while on premises, threatening health or safety of other residents, damaging or posing an immediate and significant risk of damage to property, other violations of the rental contract, etc.), an eviction may still take place. See this article for more information.
Information about Foreclosure
Can I be evicted from my rental or lose my home through foreclosure even though there is a public health emergency?
Yes. However, there are some protections that remain in place. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) each extended their eviction moratoriums to January 31, 2021.
- Joint Mortgage and Housing Assistance Website
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Learn more about mortgage relief options and protections
- Coronavirus Eviction & Foreclosure Prevention Guide
If you are looking for help to meet immediate needs, call 211 or visit https://in211.communityos.org/
211 call specialists are ready to provide direct aid to individuals and families in need (food, shelter, utilities, mental health, and health care resources).
Indiana Legal Services is a nonprofit law firm that provides free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income residents throughout the state of Indiana.
They are continuing to do intake and accept new cases.
- Call 1-844-243-8570 (M-F, 10am-2pm)
- or apply online at indianalegalservices.org/applyonline
University of Notre Dame’s Economic Justice Clinic
The Economic Justice Clinic takes cases through referrals or through Notre Dame Law Center’s intake form.
- Call 574-631-6704
- or submit this online form
IN Free Legal Answers
IN Free Legal Answers is a website operated by the American Bar Association.
- You can post a question about your non-criminal legal issue and have it answered for free by an attorney. This service only answers questions about civil legal questions.
- In order to qualify, you must be unable to afford to hire an attorney.
- To see if you are eligible and to ask a question now, visit IN Free Legal Answers.
The South Bend Tenant Association’s primary focus is educating tenants about their rights.
Contact: Rodney Gadson | email@example.com