Tippecanoe County residents host strike for renter's rights

Community activists are asking Greater Lafayette leaders to create a plan to protect renters during this pandemic.

Posted: May 23, 2020 7:29 PM
Updated: May 24, 2020 1:05 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Tippecanoe County residents are demanding action for renter's rights. On Saturday afternoon, more than a dozen community activists came together at the courthouse. They're asking Greater Lafayette leaders to create a plan to protect renters during this pandemic.

Five Greater Lafayette activist groups including members of Younger Women's Task Force, Showing Up for Racial Injustice, Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies, Greater Lafayette Indivisible and Hoosier Action, gathered to address what they believe the county could look like if state leaders lift the ban on foreclosures, evictions, and utility shut-offs during this pandemic.

"We staged boxes, things that you would see during the time of people being evicted," said Arissa Beck, event organizer, and director of Younger Women's Task Force. "We are asking the city to do everything in their power to help stop evictions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis."

Governor Eric Holcomb has extended the statewide ban on foreclosures, evictions and utility shut-offs until Jun. 30. But with not knowing if he'll extend it again, Beck wants city leaders to start making plans to protect renters.

"We'd like the city to make a relief program for renters during this time and maybe develop a program to inform renters of their rights," said Beck.

According to Beck, 52.5% of Lafayette residents are renters. Out of that, about 46% of them are at risk of being evicted.

"We know the reality," said activist Emily Rames. "Until the city does see housing as a human right, none of us are safe. None of us are safe until the least of us are safe."

"I've seen a lot of people that I know personally scared for their housing and scared for their jobs," said activist Rachel Scarlett. "If people don't have a job and they're not earning money or income, then they can't pay their rent." 

These groups of activists have created a petition with a goal of 500 signatures. As of Saturday, they have more than 430 people signed up. They plan to present their petition to city leaders on Tuesday, May 26.

"We just want the city to help our citizens," said Beck. 

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