The groups Indiana Legal Services and Just Neighbors in Fort Wayne, Indiana have established a unique court-based intervention to prevent evictions. They have established a presence in the courthouse, to engage with tenants and landlords at the moments when the lawsuit is happening.
Just Neighbors partnered with Indiana Legal Services (a non-profit legal aid group). They have staff in the waiting area, near the clerk and the courtroom. In this way, they can personally engage with the litigants in eviction lawsuits. They can make sure that people are aware of their rights & services (like rental assistance and legal aid).
The eviction intervention team takes a hands-on approach to outreach and engagement, which can then lead to higher uptake of eviction prevention services like mediation, legal consultations, and rent assistance applications. This continuum of services can divert the cases out of courts and avoid a judgment against the tenant.
The partners have tracked that rates of eviction filings and orders have gone down since the program has been active.