FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WOWO): Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry announced today that the City of Fort Wayne is working with Indiana Legal Services, Volunteer Lawyer Program and Brightpoint to help prevent evictions and ensure local residents have a roof over their heads.
In its second phase of coronavirus relief efforts, the City’s Office of Housing &Neighborhood Services is investing $150,000 to help create a Tenant Assistance Legal Clinic and is also contributing $200,000 to a financial assistance fund that helps low-income residents with rent, mortgage and utility payments. The funds are part of a $1.7 million one-time allocation provided by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development as part of the CARES Act.
“We know the sharp increase in unemployment is forcing residents to make tough choices, such as whether to buy food or pay the rent,” said Mayor Henry. “Our priority is to prevent as many evictions and foreclosures as possible so residents have time to get back on their feet financially.”
“Governor Holcomb’s moratorium on evictions, foreclosures and utility shutoffs will end July 1, and at that time we are expecting a substantial increase in eviction and foreclosure filings,” said Kelly Lundberg, director of the Office of Housing & Neighborhood Services. “We are grateful that Indiana Legal Services, Volunteer Lawyer Program and Brightpoint have put together a strong program for helping some of our most vulnerable residents stay in their homes.”
The Tenant Assistance Legal Clinic will be operated by the local Indiana Legal Services office, 919 S. Harrison St. Suite 200. Low-income residents facing possible eviction should call the clinic at 260-424-9155 to be accepted into the program. If eligible, clients will then be referred to either a volunteer attorney with the Volunteer Lawyer Program or an attorney with Indiana Legal Services, who will provide legal advice and attempt to resolve the dispute out of court. If necessary, an attorney will represent clients during eviction proceedings with Allen Superior Court.
Indiana Legal Services staff will work closely with staff from Brightpoint and the local township trustee offices to help prevent evictions and homelessness. Brightpoint will provide help with rent, mortgage and utility payments to low-income residents. Residents in need of help should call Brightpoint at 260-423-3546, ext. 567.
To find the list of trustee offices in Allen County and their phone numbers, residents should visit http://allencounty.us/government/community/allen-county-township-trustees. Additional resources to help prevent foreclosure and eviction can be found here: www.cityoffortwayne.org/evictions.