Bauer addresses Indiana’s eviction crisis head-on
INDIANAPOLIS – State Representative Maureen Bauer (D-South Bend) today issued the following statement about her efforts to face Indiana's eviction crisis head-on, including authoring multiple proposals and voting to maintain Governor Eric Holcomb's veto on controversial landlord-tenant legislation.
“When families fall on financial hardship and are displaced from their homes - entire communities and economies suffer,” Bauer said. “South Bend is no stranger to crises around affordable housing, high eviction rates and retaliatory landlord-tenant relations with some of the most abysmal renter's statistics in the nation. We have a moral and collective responsibility to use every tool available to meet the most basic needs of our neighbors.”
South Bend tenant evictions are among the nation's highest, ranking in the top 20 of all major cities. Hoosier renters came under further attack when Indiana Republicans overrode the veto of Senate Enrolled Act 148-2020, which prohibits Indianapolis and other cities from regulating landlord-tenant relationships. Housing and tenant rights advocates maintain the effort stifles cities' abilities to intervene and protect Hoosiers from abusive landlords.
Bauer voted to maintain the Governor's override, and offered an amendment in the Indiana House Judiciary Committee to advocate for tenant protections. The amendment was blocked from debate.
“With 30% of Hoosiers being rental dependent, this eviction crisis affects cities across the state,” Bauer said. “Families need a roof over their heads. Employers need employees in stable housing. Local landlord-tenant agreements provide increased protections to tenants and provide legal protection against retaliatory actions. As a state representative, I have become all too familiar with these retaliatory actions like increased rent, evictions, or termination of a rental agreement as a result of a tenant filing a complaint, joining a tenant organization or testifying in court against the landlord. These actions often leave Hoosiers unhoused and vulnerable.”
Bauer also introduced legislation that would create a bill of rights and statewide health and hygiene program to serve individuals facing homelessness.
“Homelessness has been a result of the long-neglected eviction crisis,” Bauer said. “There are at least 5,491 homeless individuals in Indiana, including over 800 children. That number will only grow as the COVID-19 pandemic accelerates our housing crisis. My proposal was about recognizing the humanity in Hoosiers who have fallen on hard times, and I am disappointed it did not get a hearing in committee.
“Indiana House Republicans could have spent this session protecting Hoosiers, and instead they have done the opposite. I will work with my colleagues as the legislative process continues to secure these protections.”