Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
January 2015 issue

 

 
 

New report: The Status of Working Families in Indiana

Despite an improving unemployment rate, the number of impoverished and low-income Hoosiers is still on the rise. A new report from the Indiana Institute for Working Families analyzes the data behind poverty, labor force and wages, offering policy options that would benefit working families.

Whether measured from the beginning of the recession, the start of the official recovery or from the beginning of the century, Hoosier families have steadily lost ground, often faster than the U.S. average and all neighbor states. The Status of Working Families in Indiana: 2015 Report includes interactive access to the data, allowing users to further explore the findings and/or embed the charts into websites and blogs.

Highlights of the report:

  • Chapter 1: Poverty (Still) on the Rise
    • There are now a record-breaking 1,015,127 Hoosiers in poverty.
    • Since the recession started, Indiana has eclipsed the U.S. average and that of all neighboring states in growing poverty, child poverty and the number of low-income individuals.

  • Chapter 2: Indiana's Labor Market and the 21st Century Jobs Swap
    • Among low-, mid- and high-wage industry categories, only the low-wage category experienced a net gain during the growth period of 2001-2007 (97 percent of which pay less than $13.00 per hour).
    • Among the three wage categories, only the low-wage category experienced net gain since the beginning of the recession (2007 - 2013).
    • The largest losses to both state and local government occurred during the recovery period.

  • Chapter 3: Working for a (Basic) Living
    • At last count, median household income is still declining - down more than $8,000 since 2000.
    • Of the half-million jobs in today's top three industries, 74 percent pay below $13.00 per hour.
    • Median hourly wages are down by more than $0.80 per hour since 2007.
    • As low wage jobs rise, 20th percentile wages (right around the poverty-level wage) are declining: down more than $0.70 per hour since 2007.
    • According to latest U.S. Census Bureau data, only two other states saw larger increases in income inequality from 2012 - 2013 (last measured).

  • Chapter 4: Five Ways to Improve Indiana's Upside Down Tax System
    • According to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy's (ITEP) Tax Inequality Index, Indiana has the 10th most unfair state and local tax system in the country, with the 8th highest taxes on the poor.

"Dominant growth in low-wage industries, rising poverty and declining wages have been a feature in Indiana for far too long," said report author and IIWF senior policy analyst, Derek Thomas. "If policymakers wish to stop the full decade-and-a-half of losses for lower- and middle-income families, and promote balanced economic growth, they should prioritize a toolbox of policies that have a measurably positive impact for working Hoosier families."

This toolbox should:

  • reward hard-working Hoosiers by ensuring they share in economic growth
  • strengthen work support programs for our most vulnerable citizens
  • ultimately, equip all Hoosiers with the opportunity to obtain the skills to attract high-paying, quality jobs that are necessary for a family's economic self-sufficiency.

Read the report and access interactive data.

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15 reasons to raise Indiana's minimum wage in 2015

On New Year’s Day, workers in Indiana became part of a shrinking minority whose states’ minimum wages are still equal to the federal (bare) minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. Meanwhile, 3.1 million workers in 20 other states received raises.

The Indiana Institute for Working Families responded with a blog post outlining 15 reasons why Indiana should raise its minimum wages this year.

For more:

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Lincoln Hills Development Corporation celebrates 50 years

Lincoln Hills Development Corporation (LHDC) celebrated its 50th year with an open house and ribbon-cutting on Jan. 7 at its corporate headquarters in Tell City.

"Half a century of helping those who struggle to make ends meet has seen ups and downs, yet in due course, we may be satisfied that ultimately our region is a better place in which to live through our efforts," said current Board President Dr. Clayton Jefford.

Approximately 75 people turned out for the event, with the Perry County Chamber of Commerce cutting the ribbon. Founding Board Chair J. David Huber attended the event, and Jefford presented him with a special memento commemorating the anniversary.

"Much, if not most, of the credit for the founding of Lincoln Hills rests with J. David Huber, who as a young attorney of 28, having returned to Perry County as Circuit Court Judge after finishing his law degree at the Harvard Law School, became founding chariman of the corporation," said Jefford during the presentation of a replica bust of Abraham Lincoln to Huber during the event. "His vision and leadership, along with that of others, recognized the need for a coordinated effort to bring economic and social resources to Perry and neighboring counties. The idea of Lincoln Hills Development Corporation was conceived and eventually brought to fruition through those efforts."

Abraham Lincoln impersonator Dean Dorrell also made a special appearance.

Founded on Jan. 7, 1965, LHDC is a community action agency that provides services to disadvantaged residents throughout southern Indiana, primarily in Crawford, Perry and Spencer Counties. Since its modest beginnings, LHDC has grown into a multi-million-dollar agency that annually assistas thousands of children, seniors and families. In 2014, LHDC served approximately 9,000 individuals.

"It is an amazing accomplishment for any not-for-profit agency to endure and succeed for a 50-year period," said LHDC Executive Director and CEO Larry K. Kleeman. "I salute our current volunteer board of directors and the hundreds who served before them, and our outstanding staff, for their commitment to improving the quality of life in the communities where we all live and raise families. It is an honor to lead such an agency during the Golden Anniversary year, and my desire is that LHDC will continue serving our communities in the future."

Photos:

  • Top. The large crowd that gathered for the ribbon-cutting included representatives from the Perry County Chamber of Commerce; Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing; Cannelton Mayor Mary Snyder; Larry Ordner, representing Congressman Larry Buschon's office; Mark Wuellner and Brian Philps from Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority; Perry County Head Start children; Abraham Lincoln impersonator Dean Dorrell; and numerous other officials, staff, board members, friends and supporters.
  • Middle. Tell City Mayor Barbara Ewing presents a Mayor's Proclamation commemorating LHDC's 50th anniversary to LHDC Executive Director and CEO Larry K. Kleeman.
  • Bottom. Current LHDC Board President Dr. Clayton Jefford (left) presents LHDC founding Board Chair J. David Huber with a special memento commemorating LHDC's founding 50 years ago.

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Vectren Share the Warmth program to support weatherization of homes

The Vectren Corporation manages its Share the Warmth program to help Vectren's income-eligible residential gas customers reduce their fuel usage and resulting energy bills. Beth Pace of the Vectren Corporation presented a check in the amount of $274,334 to the Indiana Community Action Association (IN-CAA). The funds will support weatherization services for homes in all counties where Vectren has customers. The check was presented Jan. 14, 2015, as part of an IN-CAA board of directors meeting.

Pictured above, from left, are:

IHCDA is the organization through which the primary weatherization funding flows. The Vectren funding will be paired with these monies at the local level. The Central Indiana Community Action Program and the Interlocal Community Action Program were agencies where substantial parts of the Share the Warmth funds were used in 2014.

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Larry Kleeman featured in IHCDA: The Magazine

Larry Kleeman, executive director and CEO of Lincoln Hills Development Corporation (LHDC), has spent more than 38 years serving citizens with the community action agency. He was recognized in 2014 with the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Governor Mike Pence and is featured in the winter edition of IHCDA: The Magazine. Read the article here.

From IHCDA: The Magazine, Winter 2014 issue

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