Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter

September 2019






IIWF report makes Indiana's payday-lending crisis clear

All of Indiana now served by Covering Kids and Families


BEED Program helps restaurant bring desserts, drinks and community to Lafayette

11 students awarded scholarships for social services, health and education studies

Socialization events are fun for kids, families


Head Start teacher wins Golden Employee Award


Client resource, Indiana Diaper Bank, needs support



IIWF Report makes Indiana's payday-lending crisis clear

The Indiana Institute for Working Families, in partnership with the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network, just released a report about the effect payday lenders have on Hoosier working families.

The reality is grim.

In 2002, the Indiana General Assembly granted payday lenders a carve-out from our criminal loansharking cap of 72%, allowing Indiana’s 262 payday-loan storefronts to charge up to 391% APR on small, short-term loans.

The new report, Financial Drain: Payday Lenders Extract Millions from Hoosier Communities, demonstrates that storefronts run predominantly by out-of-state companies have used this exemption to drain more than $300 million in finance charges from Hoosier households and communities over the past five years.

Those are finance charges applied to very small loans — typically only $350. These loans are made to borrowers with a median income just over $19,000 per year. By lending to individuals who cannot repay the loan in full on its due date, lenders create a lucrative cycle of re-borrowing.

The report shows that payday loan storefronts are disproportionately located in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Community Action Agencies have a mission to encourage self-reliance. "When an individual gets into the cycle of borrowing and reborrowing at exorbitant rates, it makes it very difficult to move out of poverty," says Dr. Bertha Proctor, CEO of Pace Community Action Agency.

“We know that the average borrower takes out eight consecutive loans, illustrating the fact that the majority of borrowers do not get their initial need met, but instead get caught in a costly cycle of debt that leaves them worse off,” said Steve Hoffman, Brightpoint president and CEO. “Who would logically pay an average of 365% annual interest eight times on a loan if not caught in a debt trap?”

"This report confirms what we've anecdotally known about the payday industry for years. It drains resources from families who need it most - especially in targeted low-income areas and communities of color," said Jessica Love, Executive Director of Prosperity Indiana. "These struggling families' limited resources would be better served paying for critical basic needs and supporting local businesses."

Payday Lending at the Statehouse

Over the past four years, the Indiana General Assembly has considered dramatically different proposals related to this industry. Some proposals, backed by the industry, have sought to expand payday lenders’ carve-out, allowing them to offer larger, longer-term loans, also at triple-digit interest rates. A coalition of veterans groups, faith leaders, community groups, and social service agencies have proposed returning to the 36 percent interest rate cap Indiana had in place prior to the 2002 legislation. Neither bill passed during the last legislative session.

Ready to See Reform?

• Spread the word by sharing this report with others and on social media. Want a presentation of the findings for your group or event? Let us know!
Sign this letter to the Indiana General Assembly calling for a 36% APR cap.
Share a story about how high-cost lending has affected you or someone you know.
Call or write your lawmakers and let them know you want to see reform.

Learn more

Download the full report.


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October issue deadline

Monday, Oct. 7



All of Indiana now served by Covering Kids and Families

With the recent addition of Community Action Program, Inc. of Western Indiana (CAPWI), Covering Kids and Families of Indiana (CKF) is now helping residents in every county in the state get covered by health insurance.

CKF has a vision of all Hoosiers having accessible health care coverage. It promotes and facilitates health care coverage by building coalitions that enroll, educate and support Hoosiers; and advocating for strong and inclusive public policies.

Meet one of CAPWI’s three new licensed navigators: Elaina Smith

Elaina Smith began working with CKF of CAPWI in July 2019. She has five years’ experience in the insurance industry and is a licensed insurance producer and licensed navigator. Elaina says she looks forward to connecting families and individuals to health care coverage in Benton, Fountain, Montgomery and Warren Counties. She lives in Covington, Ind., with her husband and four children.

CAPWI’s other two newly licensed navigators are Amanda Coffing and Julie Pettit.

Learn more

Visit the Covering Kids and Families of Indiana website.


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BEED Program helps restaurant bring desserts, drinks and community to Lafayette

Richelle Peterson owns and operates a store called Richelle in a Handbasket, where some of the best desserts in Lafayette are served.

Richelle opened the store in 2014 and later secured a loan through Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action’s Business Expansion and Entrepreneurship Development (BEED) Program. The loan allowed her to grow her business.

In fact, the business has seen such growth that it just moved into a larger space in Market Square in Lafayette, and Richelle was able to pay off the BEED loan early. The grand opening and ribbon-cutting was Sept. 12.

“We are very excited to expand our menu,” Richelle said. “We are branding ourselves as a dessert restaurant, where folks can enjoy treats, including beer and wine.”

But she hopes to bring more to the area than drinks and desserts. “I really want to bring more people back to Market Square — make it a tradition of shopping, dinner at Arni’s, and dessert at Richelle in a Handbasket,” she said.

Area IV Agency congratulates Richelle Peterson on her completion of the BEED Program and wishes her many more years of success with Richelle in a Handbasket.

“I am very excited for the future of my store,” Richelle said. “I would not be here today without the support of Area IV Agency. I was not able to secure a traditional loan in the beginning, and their BEED Program helped me make my business a success.”

The Area IV Agency BEED Program offers up to $10,000 for start-up businesses, or up to $25,000 for expansion loans to low- and moderate-income households in Carroll, Clinton, Tippecanoe and White counties. The BEED Program loans are revolving funds, meaning as loans are repaid, funds accumulate, to be loaned again to other entrepreneurs.

Learn more

Visit the BEED Program page on Area IV Agency’s website.

Photos: (Top) Richelle Peterson poses for a photo outside her old storefront. (Above) Richelle poses for a photo with Senator Ron Alting at the grand opening of the new location of Richelle in a Handbasket.

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11 students awarded scholarships for social services, health and education studies

One graduating senior from each of the 11 high schools in the five counties served by Hoosier Uplands recently received a scholarship for $1,400, to be used to pursue post-secondary education in the social services, health or education field.

This year’s winners

From left in the photo above:

  • Yariah Stewart, Eastern High School
  • Rebecca McKinley, Salem High School
  • Ashton Drury, Paoli High School
  • Autumn Kerce, Crawford County High School
  • Sarah Bussinger, Loogootee High School
  • Sydnee Moon, Orleans High School
  • Hattie Moffitt, Springs Valley High School
  • Gracie Haas, Mitchell High School
  • Hattie Griffitts, West Washington High School

Not pictured:

  • Kennedy Baker, Bedford North Lawrence High School
  • Melanie Hawkins, Shoals High School

Scholarships are available for students who exhibit a financial need and live in Crawford, Lawrence, Martin, Orange or Washington county. Recipients are chosen by each school’s scholarship committee or community foundation.

To date, Hoosier Uplands has presented 231 graduating students with scholarship awards amounting to $313,950. This was the 27th year of the program.


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Socialization events are fun for kids, families

Lincoln Hills Development Corporation’s Early Head Start (EHS) children and their parents enjoyed a day at the Boonville Splash Park in early September.

EHS participants receive weekly home visits and meet twice a month for socialization at the center. Socializations are opportunities for parents and children to play, learn and communicate experiences.





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Head Start lead teacher wins Golden Employee Award

TRI-CAP Head Start Lead Teacher Stacy Kalebjian, of Newburgh, Ind., has received this year’s Golden Employee Award. She is the ninth recipient of the annual award, named in honor of the late Bill Golden.

Bill was a dedicated employee of TRI-CAP for more than 30 years. He cheerfully served the community through his various positions over time. He provided job-training partnership services to hundreds of young adults, directed the staff and dozens of volunteers for the Retired and Senior Volunteer program, managed the weatherization program and performed other roles.

Stacy won this award because she exemplifies the character, positive impact, enthusiasm, spirit of teamwork and desire to serve others for which Bill Golden was known.

Bill was willing to learn new things and complete any task, no matter how large or small, regardless of who asked for his help. Despite significant changes within the organization over the decades, he always exemplified an admirable level of teamwork and a positive attitude. He worked cheerfully and always managed to lift the spirits of everyone around him, be it a co-worker, funder, volunteer or member of the community.

TRI-CAP employees nominate co-workers for the Golden Employee Award, and a team of director-level staff make the final selection.

TRI-CAP congratulates Stacy for winning this award!



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Client resource, Indiana Diaper Bank, needs support

One in three Hoosier families cannot provide enough clean diapers for their children. In fact, 32% of food bank clients report reusing a disposable diaper and 48% delayed changing a dirty diaper to make their supply last longer. This puts babies at risk for adverse health conditions like dermatitis and urinary tract infections. In addition, not having the funds to purchase diapers can limit a parent’s ability to go to work because most childcare centers require parents to provide diapers for their child.

The Indiana Diaper Bank meets the often-unspoken need for diapers. It has distributed about 250,000 diapers to families through a network of 20 nonprofit partners over the past three years. But the need is greater than the assistance available.

Rachael Suskovich, founder and executive director of the Indiana Diaper Bank, wrote a guest blog post for the Indiana Institute for Working Families that outlines several ways we can support the diaper banks through donations and legislative action.

Indiana Community Action Association
1845 W. 18th St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
317.638.4232 or 800.382.9895 phone
317.634.7947 fax
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