Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter
February 2018 issue

 

NEWS

An Update from IIWF:
Halfway through the legislative season

INCAA receives generous 'Share the Warmth' program donation from Vectren

Pace’s WiseCAP Training & Consulting experts provide training at national conference

COMMUNITY IMPACT

Area IV Agency and partners launch new preschool in low-income neighborhood

Local communities see improvements through Hoosier Uplands’ Community Development and Improvement Program

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An Update from IIWF:
Halfway through the legislative season

As we move past the halfway point of the 2018 Legislative Session, it’s time for a recap. This year's policy agenda focuses on the one in three Hoosiers who are struggling underwater and the six policies that could right the ship.

Here's a status update for each bill:

  1. Protect Hoosiers from payday lending with a rate cap. This session, we have been working to defeat HB1319, which would expand payday lending and allow triple-digit APRs. HB1319 passed the House 53-41. There is a diverse coalition against this bill, including veterans' organizations, religious groups and consumer advocates. Polling shows that 88 percent of Hoosiers support capping payday products at 36 percent APR. You can find this issue in the news here, here, here and here.

    SB416 also would have allowed triple-digit APR loans but was transformed into a study bill on the Uniform Consumer Credit Code (UCCC). The legislature will take a closer look at the effects of the bill and weigh in on whether they believe the bill should continue to be pursued in its current form next year. This gives us the opportunity to talk with lawmakers over the summer about our lending laws and ensure that proper checks and balances on loan institutions remain in place. SB416 passed out of the Senate and is moving to the House.

  2. Require employers to provide reasonable pregnancy accommodations. Addressing the needs of pregnant women and employment is an important step in closing the wage gap between men and women. HB1344 would have prohibited employers from discriminating against pregnant women by providing reasonable pregnancy accommodations. We are disappointed that the House did not advance this bill. (Read our Pregnancy Accommodations fact sheet and our Wages, Wealth and Poverty: Where Hoosier Women Stand & Ways Our State Can Close the Gaps report.)

  3. Reform TANF’s eligibility guidelines and benefit levels. SB79 would have set the income-eligibility requirements for the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program at not more than 50 percent of the federal income poverty level. It would have adjusted TANF to a level sufficient to meet basic needs, and it would have indexed the cost of living adjustments to inflation. The bill died in the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee. The state missed out on an opportunity to update the safety nets needed to help vulnerable Hoosiers achieve self-sufficiency.

  4. Eliminate the lifetime ban on SNAP for those who have served time for felony drug convictions. SB11 passed the Senate, and a modified bill is now on its way to the House. SB11 calls for Indiana to opt out of the federal lifetime SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) ban for those with a felony drug conviction. People with felony drug convictions make, on average, less than $10,000 in their first year of release. In addition, many are dealing with substance-dependency issues, have restitution and fines to pay, and struggle to find work sufficient to meet basic needs. Proper nutrition is vital to the successful recovery from substance dependency and the overall mental and physical health of those working toward self-sufficiency. We are working to encourage lawmakers in the House to join the 46 other states that have already opted out of the ban and are committed to providing people the support they need for a second chance.

  5. Improve On My Way Pre-K by removing "service-need" red tape. The House failed to pass HB1042, which would have removed the parent's work requirement to qualify for early-childhood education. The work requirement is problematic for a few reasons. If a child is living with a disabled parent or grandparents who are unable to work for health reasons, the child does not qualify for the grant. In addition, some families struggle with obtaining the affordable child care necessary to search for and go to work. Having a child enrolled and attending an early-childhood education program can allow a parent to search for a job, interview and go to work.

  6. Support Indiana’s workforce by removing non-academic barriers to adults' ability to complete post-secondary education and training. HB1002, a bill to reorganize Indiana's workforce funding and programs, passed in the House with an amendment from the Ways and Means Committee, allowing for prioritization of adults in the Workforce Ready Grant program. SB50, the Workforce Development: Career and Technical Education bill, passed out of committee with language adding a panel to review college and career funding, a new Secretary of Workforce Training and a career-readiness program for high school students. There is still a lot of work to be done on these bills to adequately address the needs of low-income, low-skilled workers and adult students. SB50 is now on its way to the House.

For regular updates on the Institute's legislative priorities, follow the "Inside the Statehouse" series on the IIWF blog.

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INCAA receives generous 'Share the Warmth' program donation from Vectren

Beth Pace of Vectren Energy Delivery (left) presents a donation check for $345,940 to IN-CAA board president Tammy Cunningham (center) and IN-CAA assistant business manager Kristine South (right). These funds are a combination of customer contributions and the Vectren corporate match. The funds will go toward a ”Share the Warmth” program effort to help income-eligible Indiana customers with their heating needs. IN-CAA leaders thank Vectren for this generous donation!

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Pace’s WiseCAP Training & Consulting experts provide training at national conference

WiseCAP Training & Consulting, a venture of Pace Community Action Agency, Inc., presented two trainings at the National Management and Leadership Training Conference in Houston, Texas, Jan. 9 through 12. 

The sessions included tips for effective management and strategies for increasing agency capacity by investing in staff. This was accomplished through intensive training, structured roundtable discussions and networking. In addition, Dr. Bertha Proctor, SPHR, lead consultant for WiseCAP and Pace CEO, was part of a panel that discussed building healthy agencies and trauma-informed care.

WiseCAP provides professional trainings for not-for-profit organizations, including Community Action Agencies and Head Start programs, throughout the United States.

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Pictured above: Woodlawn Preschool students gather around their teacher, Chrissy Downey, to learn how to make a nutritious soup.

Area IV Agency and partners launch new preschool in low-income neighborhood

Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs, Twin Lakes School and Boys and Girls Club of White County now have a preschool classroom that serves 15 children, an after-school program and a tutoring program — all located at Woodlawn Elementary School (300 S Beach Dr, Monticello, IN 47960).

These programs are thanks to a collaboration between the three organizations, who were all recipients of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) grant from the Indiana Department of Education. These federally-funded CCLC programs provide a safe environment to at-risk, Pre-K to 5th-grade students.

CCLC programs can be housed in one or multiple sites, including schools, community facilities or faith-based facilities. All centers must provide a range of high-quality services to support regular, school-day academics and development, including (but not limited to):
• Tutoring and mentoring
• Academic enrichment (e.g. homework assistance, reading, math, science and technology programs)
• Service learning
• Character education
• Physical education and recreational activities
• Dropout prevention

CCLC programs must also engage adult family members in actively participating with students through educational and personal-development opportunities.

The planned activities at Woodlawn Preschool complement the students’ regular academic program and prepare them to enter school. Preschool leaders say their goal is to promote fun, innovative and academically enriching activities that will engage students and increase their academic achievement.

The staff members at Area IV Agency’s Woodlawn Preschool follow The Creative Curriculum guidelines, designed to provide children with developmentally appropriate activities that support active learning and promote progress in all developmental areas. By fall, all 15 children will be ready to transition into kindergarten.

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Local communities see improvements through Hoosier Uplands’ Community Development and Improvement Program

One of the goals of the Hoosier Uplands Economic Development Corporation is to improve living conditions in its service area. To accomplish this, the agency has a Community Development Improvement Program (CDIP) that focuses on eliminating blighted living quarters, improving existing structures, improving or creating community spaces and assisting in general community improvement.

The CDIP has enabled Hoosier Uplands to address needs within the agency’s service area that might not otherwise have had funding.

Recent projects have included:
Bedford North Lawrence Career Center’s new Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) lathe
West Baden Church Restoration Project
Spring Mill State Park’s historic cabin restoration
West Boggs Lake playground equipment in Loogootee
Bedford Public Library’s virtual reality equipment
Crawford County GRACE House, a halfway house in Marengo

Hoosier Uplands provided $113,500 in funding for these projects.

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