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Housing advocates propose policy solutions to help Hoosier renters

A row of housing units, each four stories high, with an Indiana state government building in the background.
Lauren Chapman
IPB News
Indiana lawmakers are expected to address the state's housing crisis in the 2023 legislative session. For Hoosier households earning less than $50,000 a year, there’s a gap of 419,000 available housing units.

Indiana lawmakers are expected to explore ways to help address the state’s housing crisis in the upcoming session.

Ahead of that debate, the Notre Dame Student Policy Network and Prosperity Indiana proposed policies to help renters.

Indiana is one of only five states without a rent escrow or repair and deduct policy. They deal with situations where rental units have serious habitability issues that landlords aren’t fixing.

Jessica Preddie is a case manager with Family Promise of Greater Indianapolis, an organization dedicated to eliminating homelessness. She said she’s worked with families facing situations like this.

“A family who wasn’t able to pay rent because they weren’t able to work – because of all the mold that was in their home," Preddie said. "They were hospitalized several times because of it and fell behind on rent.”

READ MORE: Task force recommends more than a dozen policies aimed at addressing Indiana housing crisis

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Under repair and deduct, the family could make the repairs themselves and then deduct the cost from their rent.

Under rent escrow, the family could ask a judge to allow them to put their rent payments into a third-party account. It would get withheld from the landlord until repairs are made.

The Student Policy Network report also recommended expanding an existing tax credit program, the Affordable and Workforce Housing Tax Credit. The report suggests targeting the credit to the most vulnerable and in-need Hoosiers.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.