Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter

April 2019
 

 
 

 

 

 

NEWS

Community Action Agency executive directors help put nail in SB 613 coffin

COMMUNITY IMPACT

Six words altered my life: How a CAP client began a career that brought him to the IN-CAA team

EVENTS

Pace promotes self-assessment process

CAPE Family Fun Day provided a joyful experience for community members and CAPE staff

RESOURCES

Community Development Block Grants now open for applications

 


To submit an article, email news@corcommcreative.com

May 2019 issue deadline:
Monday, May 6.

 

Community Action Agency executive directors help put nail in SB 613 coffin

The day of the final House vote on SB 613 — a bill proposed in the Indiana Senate that would have expanded payday and subprime lending in our state — Indiana Institute for Working Families staff members took one last run at state representatives as they came in to session, handing out paper copies of a letter from all 22 Community Action Agencies executive directors that asked them to vote NO on the bill. The letter read, in part:

We believe SB 613 will introduce loan products that will financially victimize those most in need. Payday lenders in Indiana are nearly all out-of-state predators that remove an excessive amount of money from the Indiana economy, all on the backs of those who can least afford it.

We realize that those who support SB 613 can afford many of Indiana’s best and most expensive lobby firms to promote their products. We see this as evidence that the potential profit from these products is extreme.

By contrast, we and the many non-profit organizations that have joined us in opposing this bill do not have a financial stake in this issue. However, our agencies see the fallout in our communities from the promotion of sub-prime lending.

That day, a block of Republican lawmakers joined the House Democrats in opposing the bill. Realizing the votes just weren’t there to pass it, Representative Matt Lehman, the bill’s sponsor in the House, declined to call it down for a vote. By failing to call it before the third reading deadline, the bill died at the fall of the gavel.

This victory speaks to the power of Community Action Agencies to do more than just support families on a case-by-case basis: At a policy level, agencies can lift their voices to ensure that policy supports the mission of “helping people help themselves and others.” SB 613 — which dramatically expanded what payday and subprime lenders could charge borrowers — stood in direct contradiction of that mission, and its defeat is a win for Hoosier families and our work together.  

     

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Six words altered my life

How a CAP client began a career that brought him to the IN-CAA team

 

After spending all of 2006 unemployed, I knew I needed to go back to work. With 2007 quickly approaching, I felt the new year would bring better luck. I was hired as a maintenance man for a local business, but it didn’t last long; I was let go only a few months later.

At this point, going home and looking my wife and young daughters in the face was humiliating, knowing I couldn’t provide them the life they needed, much less what they deserved. As the money I had earned ran out, my beautiful and amazing wife said to me, “We need to get help.” I refused due to my own selfish pride.

Upon seeing her cry, my heart broke. Putting my love for my family before my own self-pity, I proceeded to schedule an appointment with our local CAP agency.

We gathered our documentation and headed out to meet Becky from the CAP agency. Much to our surprise, we qualified for Energy Assistance and Weatherization, but it’s what she said after that that changed the course of our lives.

She asked, “What do you like to do?”

My reply was, “I’ll do anything.”

She repeated: “What do you like to do?” with an emphasis on “like.” I said I like to work with my hands. She asked that I pick up an application on the way out.

I asked, “An application for what?”

Becky said, “For employment with our weatherization crews.”

I was hired as shell crew member and began learning how to perform blower door tests, insulate attics, and insulate walls and foundations. And so my journey began.

I found this type of working — to help others — very rewarding, and I saw the benefits of weatherizatoin on my own home. We saved 62 percent on our gas bill. My local CAP had an incentive program in place that rewarded its employees with a 2-percent raise for each certification you achieved.

Within the first year, I was able to attain Building Performance Institute (BPI) certifications, including Building Analysis, Building Technician and Heating Technician. Other certifications followed, such as Indiana LEAD Risk assessor, LEAD Inspector, Universal Technician for refrigeration and RRP (Renovation, Repair and Painting), among others. This helped me advance to an energy auditor until the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) began.

At that time, I submitted a proposal to Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) to become a contracted technical monitor. I interviewed for that position, then held that position for two and a half years, monitoring homes across the state. When I took that position, I knew it was only for a limited time until the ARRA ended. During the final months of State monitoring, I put the word out I would be looking for a full time position when ARRA ended. Much to my surprise, I was able to secure the weatherization manager position at my local CAP — where I started as a client and also where I had started my weatherization career.

The job required long hours and was very high-stress. Due to that, I felt I needed to find a different job, so I left the CAP to work for a local electric utility company. There, I learned how to do energy audits on multi-million dollar homes, solar production, electric metering and overall electric consumption.

The only thing missing while at the utility company was that weatherization was in my blood, and I missed it! After five years with the utility company, I was very fortunate to have been hired by IN-CAA as a weatherization technical specialist. As a trainer, I have much to learn, but I am very excited about what the future holds.

I owe so much to Becky at the CAP for truly caring about a mid-20’s unemployed kid with no skills. She exhibited what a CAP agency should be, and the CAP promoted a culture of advancement and excellence, which contributed to my success.

I am blessed by all the people that have helped, supported and believed in me to get to this position at IN-CAA. I am not sure that, without the support from my amazing my wife who put up with me over the last 20 years, I would be writing this today!

I pledge to do my best to pay it forward to the next generation of weatherization workers.

- Justin Ackeret

     

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The Head Start and Early Head Start self-assessment program for Daviess County was held at the Carnegie Public Library. Dr. Bertha Proctor, Pace CEO and Head Stat Director, shared program data and explained the self-assessment process.

Pace promotes self-assessment process

Pace Community Action Agency’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs recently hosted community self-assessment meetings in each of its four service delivery counties — Daviess, Greene, Knox and Sullivan.

The events allowed community members, elected officials, school personnel, and Board and Policy Council members to provide input into Pace’s Head Start program.

Individuals reviewed program and school-readiness data and talked with various Pace managers about the benefits of Head Start. During these meetings, Pace was also able to share information about other services it offers to the community.

At right, community members and Pace staff speak during the Sullivan County self-assessment at Patrick’s Restaurant.

 

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CAPE Family Fun Day provided a joyful experience for community members and CAPE staff


Community Action Program of Evansville and Vanderburgh County, Inc. held a Family Fun Day at Wesselman Park in Evansville on April 12.

More than 500 Head Start and Early Head Start children and families attended the event, which included a petting zoo, hula-hooping demonstrations, lunch, box-car parade, yard games, a pie-in-the-face fundraiser, bubbles and more. An officer from the Evansville Mounted Police even attended and played corn hole on horseback!

See several photos of our families having a great time by viewing this photo story in the Evansville Courier & Press.

At right, Evansville Police Officer Jeff Vantlin, on "Speck," entertains CAPE Head Start students Adalyn & Kaili Wilhite at the CAPE Head Start Family Fun Day at Wesselman Park on April 12th.

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Community Development Block Grants now open for applications

The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs announced that the first round of Community Development Block Grants for 2019 is open.

The following programs are accepting applications this round:

  • Main Street Revitalization
  • Public Facilities
  • Stormwater Improvements
  • Wastewater/Drinking Water

The complete application, which includes the instructions, proposals/application template and sample documents can be found at www.in.gov/ocra/cdbg. A video overview of the application can be accessed here.

Applications must use the new census data and income survey process. Communities must use the HUD LMI Map tool to source the LMI data. An income survey would only be necessary if a community has an LMI percentage lower than 51 percent.

Round one proposals are being accepted until Friday, May 3 at 4:00 p.m., ET. Final applications are due by Friday, June 28 at 4:00 p.m., ET with funding awards announced on Thursday, August 15.

For further information on these programs, contact the assigned Community Liaison for your region.

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