Housing initiatives and expungement programs around the state will receive a boost of nearly $700,000 through the Indiana Bar Foundation’s Community Redevelopment and Justice grants.
Ten civil legal aid agencies will split $670,859 from the grant program. The money will support collaborative efforts to help low-income individuals and families obtain safe and affordable housing and to help ex-offenders expunge their criminal records.
Indianapolis Legal Aid Society, and its grant partners Heartland Pro Bono and Indiana Landmarks, will be receiving the biggest portion — $225,000. The nonprofits plan to address a variety of housing issues including assisting seniors and disabled adults whose homes are in danger of being condemned, providing legal help in acquiring and rehabilitating homes in low-income neighborhoods, and serving individuals facing foreclosure.
Also receiving $75,000 is a unique joint effort by ILAS, Indiana Legal Services and Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic. For the first time, the three offices, which had applied for $210,000, are going to be working together to help people in central Indiana obtain expungements.
According to the bar foundation, the committee evaluating the grants looked for innovative initiatives that enabled legal aid agencies to work with other nonprofits.
Funding for these grants comes from the nearly $7 million the bar foundation received from the Bank of America settlement. The Department of Justice distributed some of the $16.65 billion paid by the financial institution into Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts specifically to help civil legal aid organizations provide services to those living in poverty.
The other grant recipients are:
• $185,000 to Indiana Legal Services, Inc., partnering with Prosperity Indiana;
• $50,000 to Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic, partnering with NeighborLink Indianapolis and the Marion County Health Department;
• $40,000 to Indiana District 4 Pro Bono Corp. and Wabash Valley Volunteer Attorneys, Inc., (Pro Bono District E);
• $30,000 to Volunteer Lawyer Network, Inc., (pro bono District B);
• $25,859 to Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana, Inc., (Pro Bono District K);
• $25,000 to Volunteer Lawyer Program of Northeast Indiana, Inc., (Pro Bono District C) partnering with Indiana Legal Services, Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic and RSVP Volunteer Center;
• $10,000 to District 10 Pro Bono Project (Pro Bon District H);
• $5,000 to Whitewater Valley District 9 Pro Bono Commission, Inc. (Pro Bono District I).