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.
Expungement and Re-Entry Program
“Tom” came to our office seeking an expungement
of his one conviction, a B felony, for burglary from
the 80’s when he was in his late teens. Tom began
hanging around with some older guys, and they
broke into someone’s home. He stole golf clubs,
but the others who were with him took some
money and jewelry. Tom spent three years in prison.
He has never been arrested again. Upon his release,
Tom managed to get a job in a warehouse where he
worked for 16 years. The company was acquired and conducted background checks on all employees. Tom lost his job because the acquiring company prohibited employing anyone convicted of a felony. After losing his job, Tom was unable to find any work due to his background. While our attorney was researching his criminal case, Tom interviewed for a job at a warehouse where the manager was a friend of his former supervisor. Based on Tom’s years of experience and his former supervisor’s glowing recommendation, Tom was hired. With the help of his Indy Legal Aid attorney, the court granted Tom’s expungement, and his supervisor promoted him to a management position.
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.”