Housing Court Service Design in Indiana

Samira Nazem at National Center for State Court highlighted some innovations at local courts in Lawrence Township, Indiana in Marion County. They have worked to create more visual, supportive guides throughout the in-person court process for tenants and landlords looking for help.

These DIY efforts are cost-effective but impactful, because they provide user-friendly signposts and support to a person through a stressful and intimidating journey through court

Service Design through a Day in Housing Court

These DIY efforts at the Indiana courthouse provide a service design of support for a person facing an eviction. The service design provides a series of touchpoints to help a person navigate the system confidently.

Touchpoint 1: Outdoor signs

Court staff created yard signs that advertise free help services in multiple languages. These signs can affirm to people that they are in the right place, that there are people who want to help them, and they shouldn’t be scared or intimidated to ask for help.

Touchpoint 2: Clerks who greet & onboard

Once a litigant comes into the building and goes through security, then they come to the second touchpoint. There’s a clear sign advertising free help and rental assistance. The clerks at the table can greet people, let them know about the programs they may be eligible, and connect them with the other on-site providers who can help them with money and legal help. Again, there are large signs to get people’s attention and friendly people to make the system approachable and build people’s sense of capability.

Touchpoint 3: Forms at the Ready

The court clerk’s office has made a wall display of the forms that a litigant might need. There’s a big sign and a numbered guide to which forms are available. The numbered system can also help the clerk or advocate tell the litigant which combo of numbers they will need to get. This can help the person get the right one, even if there are complicated and overlapping legal terms for the forms.

Touchpoint 4: What’s Next Process Map

The clerk’s office also has an overall map on the wall, to let people see where they are and what’s coming up. The process map gives a bird’s eye view of the process. People want to know “what’s next”, and so the map and display are all framed around this concept. It’s on the wall so people can look at it in detail, discuss it, or even take a photo of it to reference later.

Thanks to Samira and the group at NCSC working on eviction diversion for the photos and details. If you have seen other service designs to support people through housing court, please send along your local details as well.

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