Editor's note: This story has been updated to include Indiana University Maurer School of Law's partnership with ILS.
A grant from the Office of the Indiana Attorney General will help fund a partnership between Indiana Legal Services Inc. and two law schools in an effort to provide more services to those facing foreclosure in the state.
The $300,000 grant is paid for by funds received by the attorney general’s office and reserved for consumer protection efforts as part of a multi-state settlement with Chase Bank over alleged unlawful debt collection practices.
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced the grant in Fort Wayne Tuesday, where Indiana Tech Law School is located. It is one of two law schools teaming up with Indiana Legal Services. Zoeller taught a course on Indiana constitutional law at the school during the 2015 fall semester.
Indiana University Maurer School of Law students will also work with ILS on foreclosure prevention services.
The grant money being offered to ILS will specifically support foreclosure prevention staff at the ILS offices in Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Evansville as well as bolster its debt counseling programs at offices in Evansville, Indianapolis and New Albany. ILS helps struggling homeowners primarily by representing them at settlement conferences with their mortgage lender in attempt to negotiate lower monthly payments or other strategies that can help the individual keep their home.
ILS prevented 110 foreclosures in 2014 and 118 in 2015, according to the Indiana attorney general.
“Indiana Legal Services provides desperately needed assistance to thousands of Hoosiers each year who are struggling to stay afloat, buried in debt or being targeted by scam artists looking to prey off of their vulnerable situation,” Zoeller said. “Indiana Legal Services is a critical community partner, and I’m particularly excited about the opportunity to involve law students in this meaningful work.”
Several students from Indiana Tech Law School will be assisting this semester with these foreclosure prevention services at the ILS office in Fort Wayne.
“At Indiana Tech, one of our goals is to give students real-world, applicable experience that will advance and help define their career track,” Indiana Tech Law School Dean Charles Cercone said. “Working with Indiana Legal Services will accomplish this goal while also bettering our Fort Wayne community.”