Indiana Community Action Network E-newsletter

February 2020






Indiana reps urge Washington delegation to support pregnancy bill

Two new affordable-living options set to open in April


SIEOC partners with United Way to support its clients in need

Pace empowers girls through STEM camp scholarships

SIEOC thanks youth for their generous hearts and donations

Pace aims to develop young boys into successful men


Area IV employee spotlight: Kevin Sietsma

Celebrate Lori Williams at retirement celebration


February issue deadline:
Wednesday, March 11

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Indiana reps urge Washington delegation to support pregnancy bill

This week, Indiana Institute for Working Families Senior Policy Analyst Erin Macey and representatives from other organizations statewide are in Washington, D.C., urging senators and House representatives to support the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

The act is proposed national legislation similar to Indiana’s Senate Bill 342. The national act would:

  • grant pregnant workers an affirmative right to reasonable accommodations in the workplace if they work for an employer with 15 or more employees
  • use the existing interactive framework under the Americans with Disabilities Act to provide employers undue hardship protections
  • BONUS: It would protect workers in Indiana and beyond!

SB 342 is headed toward a summer study committee, after Senate Republicans stripped accommodations for pregnant workers from the bill. House Speaker Brian Bosma cited pushback from employers as reasoning, despite acknowledging that Governor Eric Holcomb had made pregnancy accommodations one of his priorities this year.

What you can do

Contact US Congressional and Senate offices.

  • Thank Representatives Andre Carson, Susan Brooks and Peter Visclosky for signing on to the bill.
  • Urge Representatives Jackie Walorski, Jim Banks, Greg Pence, Larry Buschon, James Baird and Trey Hollingsworth to co-sponsor the bill
  • Ask Senators Todd Young and Mike Braun to be original co-sponsors when it comes over from the House.

Recent media highlights

Photo: (From left) Erin Macey, IIWF; Rima Shahid, Women4Change; Katie Blair, ACLU; Kristen Kohn, owner of Silver in the City; Ashley Phillips and Lindsay Haake prepare to depart for Washington, D.C.


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Two new affordable-living options set to open in April

The affordable-housing crisis continues to plague our nation, but Community Action Agencies continue to work against the crisis by providing new alternatives to low-income families. Two CAAs share their recent projects.

Area IV

Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs’ development division, in partnership with Keller Development, will open Otterbein Commons Apartments in April, providing quality housing to individuals and families that are at or below 60% of the area’s median income.

Otterbein Commons is a transformation of a former nursing facility in Otterbein, Ind., into a 32-unit apartment building. The development will include one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, just off of US Highway 52, at 706 E. Oxford St. in Otterbein. The location is just a short distance from a medical center, as well as local shopping and dining options.

The development is unique, because it will also feature seven apartments reserved for individuals with a developmental or intellectual disability, allowing these residents to live independently in the community. Four of the apartments will be fully compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act.



Brightpoint and Keller Development have been co-developing the Slocum Pointe affordable-housing community in Fort Wayne. The development will open in April and is located at 2529 Curdes Avenue.

An adaptive reuse of the former Frances Slocum School, the new, 43-unit apartment complex includes 27 units in the former school building and 16 in new construction located adjacent to the existing building. There will be 35 two-bedroom and eight one-bedroom apartments.

Eighty percent of the apartments will be reserved for people aged 55 or older, and twenty percent will be reserved for individuals 18 or over with intellectual or developmental disabilities. All apartments will be reserved for households with incomes of 60% of the area median income or below, and all rents will be kept affordable so that no household pays more than one third of their monthly income toward their housing cost.

The entire development will meet the National Green Building Standard’s Silver rating for energy efficiency and water conservation. Both buildings will be served by elevators, and all units will be accessible and/or adaptable to meet the needs of those with physical disabilities.

The development site was specifically chosen because of the amenities nearby such as healthcare, education, employment, retail, transportation, and recreational opportunities that will be of particular benefit to tenants.


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SIEOC partners with United Way to support its clients in need

United Way has long been known for its financial support of not-for-profit organizations. Now, it’s moving away from solely funding not-for-profits and is beginning to also provide financial assistance directly to community members in need.

In Franklin County, Community Action Agency Southeastern Indiana Economic Opportunity Corporation (SIEOC) has been chosen to manage the county’s United Way Emergent Needs Fund.

United Way of Franklin County (UWFC) Executive Director Kelly Bulmer is modeling the new partnership after SIEOC’s work with United Way of Greater Cincinnati, which provides funding to support households in two counties — Dearborn and Ohio — supported by SIEOC.

Money from UWFC’s Emergent Needs Fund will aid two additional SIEOC-covered counties — Franklin and Ripley. SIEOC will distribute money for basic needs — such as rent, food, utilities and child care — to qualifying individuals and families.

“In Franklin County alone, 34 percent of our residents are unable to make ends meet,” says SIEOC Executive Director Tammy Cunningham. “The funding from United Way will help us further our impact in the community, so we’re eager to get started in this new partnership.”

So far, UWFC has collected almost $10,000 to be split between the two counties.

Read more

United Way will help struggling families” — Batesville, Ind., Herald-Tribune


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Pace empowers girls through STEM camp scholarships

Applications now available

Pace Community Action Agency, Inc., wants to change the statistics when it comes to women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) workforce.

Women make up only 28 percent of workers in STEM-related careers. The average wage for STEM occupations — $84,880 — is more than double the average of other careers, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. STEM-related careers are one of the fastest-growing areas of work with above-average pay in the job industry.

Pace seeks to lower the wage disparity between males and females by promoting the STEM field to young women. Further, to ensure financial issues do not stop low-income females from attaining early education in STEM fields, Pace is offering a limited number of scholarships for girls to attend STEM camps of their choice.

“Pace is committed to addressing causes and conditions of poverty,” says Dr. Bertha Proctor, Pace CEO. “These scholarships will introduce girls to the various high-paying jobs available in the STEM sector.” 

Interested individuals should identify a camp of interest that provides hands-on technology activities for youth, then download and submit the application.

Financial reimbursement may include the cost of the camp and mileage to and from the camp.

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SIEOC thanks youth for their generous hearts and donations

For the second year, Shaun and Tyler Lainhart hosted their birthday party and asked people to donate items to help people in need, rather than giving the birthday kids gifts.

They received donations of both goods and cash, then used the cash gifts to purchase some of Southeastern Indiana Economic Opportunity Corporation’s (SIEOC's) pantry wishlist items. In all, Shaun and Tyler donated 389 items to the pantry.

SIEOC thanks Shaun, Tyler and the rest of the Lainhart family for this thoughtful and very generous donation!

“Great opportunities to help others seldom come, but small ones surround us every day.”
– Sally Koch


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Pace aims to develop young boys into successful men

Donation allows 2020 Boys & Beyond to be its largest year yet.

For seven years, Pace Community Action Agency has provided an innovative and interactive program for young boys. Boys & Beyond Summer Camp transforms positive male role models into teachers who pass on skills for life and careers — like focused team-building, life-skills training, relationship skills and leadership development.

Topics include social skills, financial literacy, technology, health and wellness, how to tie a tie and how to change a tire. Over the course of a week, from 8 a.m. to noon daily, the young boys enjoy the sessions, lunch and incentives for participating.

This year will be the biggest year for the program, with more participants, incentives and prizes, thanks to a generous donation from 100+ Women Who Care.

The camp is free and runs from June 1 through 5. Pace is currently accepting applications for boys in fourth and fifth grades living in Daviess, Greene, Knox and Sullivan counties. Applications are available online and must be received by April 3. Priority may be given to low-income families.

The camp takes place at Pace’s office, 525 N. 4th St., in Vincennes.


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Area IV employee spotlight: Kevin Sietsma

Kevin Sietsma began his career with Area IV Agency on Aging and Community Action Programs in 2015 as the coordinator of the Organizational Payee Program. He successfully implemented his leadership style into that program, which has its difficult moments. Helping to minimize emotional situations was a common requirement.

In 2018, Kevin transferred to the Weatherization program department. He began the training process, achieved multiple certifications and became a weatherization program energy auditor that same year.

Kevin continued to build his training qualifications, earning an additional certification — Quality Control Inspector — through the Building Performance Institute in September 2019. He became the third QCI for Area IV Agency’s Weatherization Department.

Area IV congratulates Kevin and expresses its appreciation for his dedication to moving the program forward!


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Celebrate Lori Williams at retirement celebration

Pace Community Action Agency is hosting a retirement celebration for its Associate Director Lori Williams, and you’re invited! Lori has served Pace for 40 years.

  • WHEN: Thursday, April 16. 4 to 6 p.m. EST
  • WHERE: Harmony Society, 111 N. 2nd St., Vincennes
  • DETAILS: Come when you can and enjoy appetizers and share stories at this open house-style event.

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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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