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Allen County selected for national program aiming to reduce evictions

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Rebecca Green
/
WBOI News
Allen Superior Judge Jennifer DeGroote announced the community's selection for a national eviction deferment program.

Allen County is one of 13 communities around the country selected to participate in an eviction deferment program through the National Center for State Courts, funded by a grant from Wells Fargo.

The $164,000 grant will fund an increase in staff in the Allen Superior Court to boost the county’s efforts to build sustainable and community-driven approaches to resolving housing problems.

Allen County Superior Chief Judge Jennifer DeGroote has handled eviction cases in her years as a small claims judge, and served on the Indiana Eviction Task Force.

"When we prevent housing instability, we stabilize our community and that is what our efforts will be with this grant. We see this as an opportunity to interrupt the cycle of poverty often initiated by an eviction," DeGroote said.

Prior to pandemic eviction moratoriums, Allen County saw as high as 5,300 eviction cases in 2018. In 2021, as eviction moratoriums wound down, there were 2,811, according to court statistics.

Eviction deferment strategies include legal aid and mediation services, housing and financial counseling and rental assistance programs, according to a release.

Marion County is also participating in the program. Other states benefiting from the grant include Alaska, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Rebecca manages the news at WBOI. She joined the staff in December 2017, and brought with her nearly two decades of experience in print journalism, including 15 years as an award-winning reporter for the Journal Gazette in Fort Wayne.