As part of the City of Indio's commitment to help residents and businesses facing challenges due to COVID-19, the City has partnered with Inland Counties Legal Services, Inc. (ICLS) to provide free legal assistance to those facing eviction or foreclosure.
The most recent data analysis from United Lift (a collaboration of Inland So Cal United Way and Lift to Rise) indicated Indio ranked eighth among Riverside County communities with the most pre-eligible applicants for rental assistance, showing the need for programs like Indio's in maintaining future housing stability. In addition, as state eviction and mortgage protection programs expire, residents will increasingly see the need for legal counseling.
Residential tenants, individual commercial lessees and homeowners are all eligible for the free civil legal services if their financial difficulties are related to COVID-19. ICLS can assist with the tenant protection executive order, judicial council, and other protections such as loan modification, forbearance and other mortgage foreclosure prevention. Examples of specific assistance include, but are not limited to:
• tenants who are sued for eviction may have an ICLS attorney represent them in court
• tenants who are getting locked out of their homes may have a lawyer help them
• homeowners or landlords who fall behind on their mortgage payments may get help with negotiations with their lender
“Businesses have been forced to close, tenants and homeowners have become unemployed, while rent and mortgages continue to be due,” said Maria Cazarez-Reyes, Housing Practice Group Director for Inland Counties Legal Services. “This project will ensure that people are not forced out of their homes, homeowners and landlords receive equal protection, and small business owners utilize resources available to them.”
Indio’s City Council authorized $168,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding to ICLS for tenant representation and eviction protection, and $163,370 to the Inland Fair Housing and Mediation Board for similar services.
“The pandemic has increased existing legal challenges for low-income and vulnerable people,” added Indio Mayor Glenn Miller. “The City’s decision to help fund organizations like Inland Counties Legal Services is one of the ways are we trying to minimize those impacts.”
Please call ICLS’s Indio Dedicated Housing Hotline at (888) 245-4257 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to confirm eligibility and receive free legal assistance. Make sure to select the “Indio only” resident option.
Inland Counties Legal Services, Inc. is a nonprofit organization providing legal services to low-income persons residing in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.