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Legal services keeps funding in Hammond

January 1, 2007
The city of Hammond will continue to give $20,000 to the local office of Indiana Legal Services Inc. after city officials initially recommended the council cut the funding entirely.

The city council voted 5-4 Monday to distribute funds from a federal Community Development Block Grant. The ILS office has received $20,000 for several years from the disbursement; however, the city received less CDBG money than in previous years and reduced funding for several agencies.

Richard P. Komyatte, an attorney who practices in Highland and who is on the state ILS board of directors, said it was the only agency to have all its funding cut.

Komyatte met with the council and explained that the local office served 218 Hammond residents in addition to other area residents who came to the Hammond ILS location. ILS also has offices in Gary and East Chicago. Breaking that down, the grant monies put the cost at $91 per Hammond resident served, according to Komyatte. He added that some cases took only one hour while others could take five, 10, or even 20 hours.

He said the city is getting a lot of value for its money.

The council originally allotted $10,000 for a new agency, but it took half of that for ILS. In addition, $5,000 was cut from the $20,000 given to another agency; and $10,000 from a city court judge's program in which he has people on probation paint over graffiti. With the changes, ILS was able to keep its $20,000.

Two city councilors told the judge they would give monies from their district's share of casino funds for his program."We are well pleased that we were able to keep our funding," said Komyatte.
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