Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
February 2017 issue



Successful CAPWI Client Earns “Miss Indianapolis 2017” Title

IIWF’s 2017 Legislative Public Policy Agenda Identifies Missing Pieces to Hoosier Families Achieving Self-Sufficiency


RACING FORWARD: NWICA launches new racial equity training for employees


Area IV’s Organizational Payee Programs Helps Another Client Work Toward Independence

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Pictured Above: (From left to right) Cindy Hicks, employment and training caseworker at CAPWI, poses with Nallely Garcia-Nava, Miss Indianapolis 2017 pageant winner and CAPWI client, and Nallely's daughter.

Successful CAPWI Client Earns “Miss Indianapolis 2017” Title

In the December 2015 issue of the IN-CAA e-newsletter, Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI) introduced Nallely Garcia-Nava, a client who had a life-changing experience achieving employment through the agency’s WorkOne West Central Indiana program. Today, Nallely is celebrating her professional career success, as well as a new glamorous title.

When Nallely first entered the WorkOne program, she was working two jobs – one at a local store and one cleaning a family’s house – and struggling financially. She decided she wanted to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and through some research, she found that the WorkOne program could help her accomplish her goal. She worked with Employment and Training caseworker Cindy Hicks who helped her get into the CNA program. Getting her CNA through WorkOne helped her achieve one of her goals and gave her the tools necessary to be successful. She continues to advance her career as a healthcare professional, but she didn’t stop there. 

Nallely earns her crown.
Nallely found the Miss Indianapolis Pageant through Facebook and applied to be a contestant. The Miss Indianapolis Pageant is a community service organization in its 9th year. The motto of the pageant is “We are REAL women in the REAL world, making a REAL difference.” The pageant queens are challenged to go out and make a difference in Central Indiana. These duties can include such things as emceeing or hosting events, registering and welcoming volunteers, entertaining and other fundraising activities. 

Amanda Turpin, CAPWI Employment & Training employee with the SkillUp program, is the Director of the Miss Indianapolis Pageant. Amanda said that Nallely was selected because of her “passion, humility and selfless desire to help others.” 

A panel of judges interviewed the contestants for 4 minutes each with impromptu questions and judged each contest in an evening gown competition. During the finale, each participant was challenged to answer an impromptu on-stage question. After the ballots were tallied, Nallely walked away with the title of Miss Indianapolis 2017!

CAPWI is so proud to see one of its clients being successful professionally and personally! Congratulations, Nallely!

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IIWF’s 2017 Legislative Public Policy Agenda Identifies Missing Pieces to Hoosier Families Achieving Self-Sufficiency

The Indiana Institute for Working Families has released its 2017 Legislative Public Policy Agenda, which identifies six “missing pieces” for self-sufficient Hoosier families. The pieces are listed below, along with some bills in those issue areas that the Institute is closely following.

• A PATH TO SELF-SUFFICIENCY: Put families on a path to self-sufficiency by protecting them from high-cost payday loans and predatory lending products. Support asset-building and financial literacy training by increasing funding for individual development accounts (IDAs). 
o SB 245: Long term small loans (Holdman) Oppose
o SB 474: Small loans (Melton) Support

• INVESTMENT IN TWO-GENERATION SOLUTIONS: Investments in Head Start, preschool and the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) ensure that young children continue to learn and grow while their parents work or seek further education.
o SB 276: Early childhood grant pilot program (Holdman)
o HB 1004: Prekindergarten education (Behning)

• REMOVE BARRIERS TO ADULT EDUCATION & WORKFORCE TRAINING: Allow for better coordination of skills training, higher education and necessary support services. Increase support for the Indiana Adult Student Grant and the WorkINdiana training program, as well as create Indiana’s first fund for job-driven adult literacy.
o HB 1008: Workforce development (Huston) Support
o HB 1464: Work sharing unemployment benefits (Carbaugh) Support

• ASSETS & REBOUNDS: Help Hoosiers rebound more quickly from tough times by removing the asset test from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility requirements and raising Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) eligibility to 50 percent of the federal poverty level.
o SB 9: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and drug convictions (Merritt) Support
o SB 154: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Merritt) Support
o SB 527: TANF eligibility (Stoops) Support
o SB 528: Removal of asset limits for SNAP eligibility (Stoops) Support

• QUALITY OF LIFE & QUALITY OF WORK: Ensure that all working Hoosiers can balance work, family and household budgets through policies that promote fair scheduling, paid leave and high-quality, well-paying jobs. 
o SB 253: Study of voluntary paid family and medical leave (Tallian) Support

• BUILD A MORE JUST HOOSIER ECONOMY, STARTING WITH EQUITABLE BUDGET CHOICES: Make equitable budget choices that remedy Indiana’s regressive tax structure, increase economic mobility for working families and promote a more just economy for all Hoosiers.
o HB 1001: Biennial budget (Brown) Monitor
o HB 1002: Transportation infrastructure funding (Soliday) Monitor

For a daily dose of information, like the Indiana Institute for Working Families on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

For weekly updates on legislation, including upcoming committee and floor discussions and votes, check out the Inside the Statehouse blog posts.

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NWICA launches new racial equity training for employees

Racial inequity, diversity and inclusivity within the workplace are subjects often met with mixed emotion among different employees. Recently, the team at Northwest Indiana Community Action (NWICA) launched a new three-part series designed to help individuals better comprehend some of the complexities associated with these subjects.

Additionally the Community Action Partnership of Washington, D.C. (the national office) announced that it was joining a coalition of 100+ organizations to partner on a Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation (TRHT) enterprise supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation as well.

”I think that inequity, particularly racial inequity, is the defining issue of our time.  It is crucial that we create spaces for diverse groups of people to be able to discuss these issues, their symptoms and productive ways forward,” said Anna Schoon, Director of Planning and Business Development, NWICA.

National statistics mirror similar reflections as well. A June 2016 study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that about six out of 10 Americans (or 61 percent) say more changes are needed to achieve racial equality, while 30 percent say the country has already made enough changes.

“I have been grateful for the leadership the Community Action Partnership has provided in educating and positioning community action agencies to address this important topic. When I learned that they would be offering a webinar series, I wanted to use that as an opportunity to open up space for dialogue at NWICA,” Schoon said.

To date, NWICA has featured the first two webinar segments of the series for employees. Topics across both trainings have encompassed details concerning racial biases and wealth disparities amongst families of color.

“I have been thrilled by the enthusiastic response of our staff to listening and learning from the webinars and from each other,” Schoon said. “I’ve received notes from some staff about how meaningful it has been to them, and I’m grateful to be able to help facilitate these conversations. I hope it takes our organization to a whole new level of understanding and caring for each other and the people we serve.”

The third segment concluded with the subject of “implicit bias” on Friday, Feb. 10.

For additional information on NWICA events, programs and services, visit the NWICA website.

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Area IV’s Organizational Payee Programs Helps Another Client Work Toward Independence

The Organizational Payee Program at the Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs works in partnership with the Social Security Administration to serve as a representative payee for those individuals who receive Social Security benefits and need assistance managing those funds properly.

The program coordinator arranges a dedicated account where the client’s Social Security benefit is deposited. The program coordinator manages the account, including directing payments and monitoring funds on the client’s behalf to ensure the client’s essential needs are met.

When clients enter this program, they are often in crisis and facing issues ranging from food shortages to homelessness. Together with each client, Area IV’s program coordinator works to help build a framework of supports applicable to each of their varying situations. The program coordinator offers guidance and direction with the goal of encouraging the client to strive more toward independence and a better quality of life.

Meet Scott

Scott Carr, Jr. began working with the Organizational Payee Program in early 2016. Scott arrived at Area IV with few resources and assets. He was a young man in his 20s, trying to find his way. Scott was born with vision impairments and had worked to overcome it all his life. Despite his visual limitations, Scott managed to enjoy typical childhood activities, worked jobs here and there, graduated high school and eventually moved out on his own.

Since he was awarded his Social Security benefit at an early age, his parents managed his finances for him. However, Scott and his father did not always agree on the direction that management should take. Scott strove for more independence but made missteps along the way, a common occurrence for young people learning their way. He incurred debt after his first apartment was damaged. He and his father fought, and tensions worsened between them. Eventually, he began staying with a girlfriend and her mother and sought advice from the Social Security office on how to proceed with his benefit.

Scott was directed to contact Area IV.

After the initial meeting that included education on the program and the creation of an agreement on how to proceed, Scott submitted an application to the Social Security Administration for review. Approximately 45 days later, Area IV’s Organizational Payee Program was put in place as Scott’s representative. Kevin Sietsma (pictured at right with Scott), the program coordinator for the Organizational Payee Program, met more with Scott and helped him create a budget, determined what expenses he had and showed him how his monthly Social Security benefit should be dedicated. Kevin also showed Scott how to apply for immediate housing and food support. They discussed short-term and long-term goals and identified the steps needed for him to achieve financial independence.

Scott did well in his endeavor, applying for subsidized housing, resolving his debt and getting a better understanding of his expenses. He built upon the foundation outlined to provide him with the food, shelter and medical support he required.

After reviewing his situation at the end of 2016 and hearing Scott state his case, Organizational Payee Program leaders submitted a formal letter to the Social Security office, recommending he be given the opportunity to budget independently.

Today, with his own apartment and the proper supports in place, Scott is now working on his next goals – continuing his education and gaining employment once more. Through continuing dedication and time, program leaders have no doubt Scott will continue to grow and strengthen his financial stability.

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