Staying home: Legal aid efforts help people maintain stable housing

“One of the things this project has done that surprised me, as well, is that it empowers our clients,” Hurst said. “Whether they win or lose these cases, they feel more like they’re mainstream than in the margins.”

News Story (Indiana)

Marilyn Odendahl
Indiana Lawyer
April 3, 2019

Tags: Housing: Eviction

Organizations mentioned/involved: Indiana Legal Services (ILS), Indianapolis Legal Aid Society (ILAS)


Davis, 52, was helped through the Eviction Avoidance Project at Indiana Legal Services. The program was launched in October 2018 with a $50,000 grant from the Indianapolis Bar Foundation and has, so far, represented 130 clients, already exceeding its goal of 110 over the course of a year.

Jay Chaudhary, managing attorney for the ILS Indianapolis office, developed the EAP using a right-to-counsel model. Previously for people facing evictions, the legal service agency could offer little more than advice and point to some resources within the community that might provide additional help. Now, with the project, eligible individuals in danger of getting kicked out of their residences have an attorney represent them and advocate on their behalf.

Clients are referred to EAP through a network of social service providers and government agencies such as food pantries, township trustee offices and the Marion County Probation Department. Almost all of the clients — most of whom are single mothers — had a hiccup in their employment and fell behind in rent payments.