INDIANAPOLIS — COVID-19 has financially disrupted many Hoosiers' lives, especially those who cannot afford to pay rent.
"During a normal year, we serve about 500-600 clients. This year, we anticipate that number probably being double," said Terrence White, executive director of Community Action Network in Indianapolis.
The organization is one of many that have been able to provide rental assistance to those in need.
"Our clients have to be 200 percent at or below the federal poverty guidelines, which is significantly below the Indy rent," said White.
In a virtual meeting Monday, Mayor Joe Hogsett proposed a new COVID-19 relief fiscal package, which includes $16.3 million from the CARES Act, with an expansion to the rental assistance program of $7.5 million.
"COVID-19 has had a crippling impact on the lives of Indianapolis residents," said Hogsett.
The mayor said demand has exceeded capacity for the program.
"We must continue to come together to combat this virus while lifting our neighbors and needs," said Hogsett.
It's something organizations like the Community Action Network and lots of others like it are doing to help.
"Our organization's resources are limited, so if we're not able to serve the client sufficiently," said White, "we have plenty of partners we can make recommendations or referrals to."
Also included in the mayor's coronavirus relief funding package is nearly $3 million for the purchase and shipping of free face coverings for residents, and $25,000 to continue maintenance of handwashing stations and portable toilets in downtown locations. The council also approved $300,000 in supplemental completion grants for students at Ivy Tech or IUPUI who cannot afford college due to the pandemic.
The mayor included $1.1 million in additional adult education funding for those who need to re-train or transition to other employment, $150,000 for financial coaching and/or a credit repair program and nearly $80,000 for temporary housing and intervention and/or education efforts for victims of domestic violence.
The mayor also proposed a $1.29 billion budget for next year.
Public safety accounts for 37 percent of the budget, while criminal justice services account for 21 percent.
A $7.8 million increase would go to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for a total budget of about $291 million.
The Indianapolis Fire Department’s budget would receive as additional $3 million, increasing spending to $281 million.
The final budget is expected to be adopted in October.