During the Fall of 2022, students from the Qualitative Methods in Geography course at Indiana University and the Writing for Social Change course at Marian University focused their class projects on understanding evictions in Indianapolis and learning about the work of the Tenant Advocacy Project (TAP) program. The students conducted observations at the Pike Small Claims Court. They interviewed the TAP Tenant Navigators, listening to their stories, experiences, and perspectives connected to the TAP program and evictions in Indy. At the end of the course, students presented their findings in a public meeting in Indianapolis.
If you don’t know anything about the TAP Tenant Navigators, here is some info and the students’ findings about their work:
The city of Indianapolis created the TAP program in partnership with non-profit legal services organizations to help tenants with IndyRent applications and the eviction process. Andy Beck, a long-time housing justice advocate in Indianapolis, manages the TAP program and brought together a remarkable group of Tenant Navigators who are deeply rooted and connected with the people and communities they work to support. The primary role of Navigators is to help tenants navigate the eviction process by accessing legal support and/or applying for financial assistance. Nonetheless, students found that the work done by the Tenant Navigators goes far beyond their job description.
Throughout the duration of IndyRent, Tenant Navigators provided technical support and advice for tenants facing the threat of eviction. They also offer general guidance for clients, acting as case managers and tirelessly working to keep tenants in their homes by finding alternative resources, recommending social services, and helping navigate the bureaucracies of accessing such services. The Navigators often rely on their previous life experiences and deep connections to Indianapolis communities and services to find ways to support tenants.
In addition, Tenant Navigators offer moral support and encouragement to tenants during difficult times, listening to their struggles with respect and love. They care deeply about their work, the people they support, and the communities they try to keep together despite adversity. Ultimately, the Tenant Navigators provide spaces of care and love within the violent and demoralizing process of an eviction. The TAP program is a critical infrastructure for supporting tenants during times of need that should be made permanent in Indianapolis, a city with historically high numbers and rates of evictions.