Client Success Stories
Indy Legal Aid is the only legal assistance organization in Marion County that handles children’s guardianships.
Children's Guardianship Initiative
Sheila, a grandmother of two grandsons, came to the Indianapolis Legal Aid Society seeking guardianship of her daughter’s two children by two separate, absentee fathers. Sadly, the children’s mother had been diagnosed with terminal cancer with only weeks to live. The mother’s dying wish was for the children to stay together in the care of their grandmother. Accomplishing the goal required an Indy Legal Aid attorney to intervene in two separate guardianship cases. Indy Legal Aid’s attorney obtained guardianship for Sheila allowing the children to remain in their school, receive medical attention, and preserve the stability of the children’s lives.
Driver's License Re-Instatement
One of our clients, Jordan, is a 21 year-old father of two who was a recovering
addict in a halfway house in Indianapolis. Jordan had been unemployed at the
beginning of the year, but had found construction site training so he could work
again. He had found a construction job, but it required him to drive, and
Jordan’s license had been suspended. Some time ago Jordan had been
pulled over, and during the stop he had been fined for not having car insurance.
Jordan wasn’t able to pay the fine and thus his license was suspended, and
given a $250 reinstatement fee he could not pay.
Jordan was also part of the Indianapolis chapter of Back on My Feet, a nonprofit
organization that helps homeless people become independent and connects
them with local resources in the community while taking them on runs through
the city. Indy Legal Aid works with BMF, and BMF hosted a workshop where Indy
Legal Aid attorneys discussed legal issues their clients typically need help with. Attorneys then gave people at the workshop the opportunity to schedule meetings with Indy Legal Aid to sort our their legal issues. Here, Jordan was able to schedule a meeting with an Indy Legal Aid attorney to work out getting his driver’s license back.
The day after Jordan finished working with one of our attorney's at Indy Legal Aid’s office, the state of Indiana announced COVID-19 lockdown measures. Thankfully, Indy Legal Aid did not stop helping clients just because of the pandemic, and through online communication the Court waived the reinstatement fee so that Jordan could get his license back. In a time when Jordan typically wouldn’t have been able to get help because of the pandemic, Indy Legal Aid made sure that he would be able to succeed. Jordan is now employed with his own apartment and car insurance, and is aiding his children’s mother financially to take care of his kids. Even through COVID-19, Indy Legal Aid is committed to helping people in the Indianapolis area who usually would be struggling alone.
Orville H. Copsey Safe Housing Initiative
Silvia Miller, attorney for the Health and Hospital Corporation which operates the Marion County Public Health Department, has worked with Indy Legal Aid for several years in resolving housing Health Code cases. Ms. Miller credits Indy Legal Aid with changing the feeling of hopelessness for many elderly and disabled individuals who have found themselves facing being evicted from their homes, stating, “Hundreds of cases would not have reached favorable outcomes without Indy Legal Aid’s assistance. With Indy Legal Aid’s involvement, people don’t get pushed away and they realize they need to make changes.”
“Indy Legal Aid uses a mediation process between all the parties which keeps the proceedings non-adversarial and less stressful for the client,” added Ms. Miller. “And I know Indy Legal Aid is going to find resources to help clients stay in their homes.”
The story of one such client, Franci, an Indianapolis woman in her seventies, begins with her health starting to fail and Franci becoming unable to keep up with the demands of both the inside and outside of the home she owns. As a result, a neighbor filed a complaint and Franci was cited in Court for Health Code violations. Without anyone to help her and living on a fixed income, Franci was not able to resolve these issues on her own. This meant Franci was in danger of being ordered to vacate her home.
Indy Legal Aid was able to help Franci after receiving a referral from the Health Department regarding Franci’s case. Indy Legal Aid went to Court more than a dozen times on Franci’s behalf, and before each hearing, worked with Franci to make sure she was ready for the inspection that occurred prior to the Court hearing. In addition, a local organization regularly worked with Franci to make necessary repairs to her home. In less than a year, Franci achieved compliance with the Health Code and is now able to stay in her home and focus on her health. According to Franci, “What started as a nightmare turned into a godsend with the help of Indy Legal Aid.”