Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has announced that his office will provide Indiana Legal Services Inc. with a $300,000 grant. The grant will be used to support homeowners facing debt and foreclosure.
It will focus on markets including Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Bloomington and Evansville.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office is using the money from settlement funds received by Chase Bank for the grant.
According to the Homeowner Protection Unit of the Office of the Attorney General, 50 people have complained about foreclosure consulting fraud since the beginning of 2014. Zoeller says these people are Hoosiers who "struggl[e] to stay afloat" and who are "targeted by scam artists looking to prey off of their vulnerable situation." He believes these people turn to fraudulent businesses because they need foreclosure prevention services but cannot afford legal help.
"ILS works to provide a full-range of legal services to those across Indiana who struggle financially and need this help the most. Expanding our reach and focusing this grant on some of our most crucial services will make a real difference in the lives of these individuals and support stronger communities," said Jon Laramore, executive director of ILS.
ILS plans to use the grant to pay the law students who intern at the firm; expand its Consumer Advocacy Project, which works to reduce financial exploitation in Indianapolis; and increase its debt counseling programs.
ILS represents homeowners at settlement conferences with mortgage lenders. Through negotiations with lenders, ILS aims to make owning a home more affordable for homeowners.
Indiana Legal Services Inc. helped 110 families in 2014 and 118 families in 2015 keep their homes.