• 01 Feb 2017 2:00 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    On Wednesday, February 1, Prosperity Indiana's policy team and one of our members, Regina Flowers, a housing counselor with the Community Action Program of Evansville & Vanderburgh County, Inc., delivered powerful testimony supporting SB 227. The bill would preserve critical foreclosure counseling resources for Hoosier homeowners in trouble by extending the foreclosure filing fee which is due to sunset in July of this year.  The fee is paid by lenders each time they file a foreclosure proceeding. Those resources are then directed to statewide efforts to prevent foreclosures, through the Mortgage Foreclosure Counseling and Education Account.  The bill was not voted on during the hearing, but received favorable consideration by committee members, based on discussions during the proceedings.   Our one pager background on the bill can be found here. Thank you, Senator Jim Merritt, for your leadership on this initiative!  Read on for Prosperity Indiana's full testimony.

    COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC POLICY, TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF SB 227, KATHLEEN LARA, POLICY DIRECTOR, FEBRUARY 1, 2017

    Chairman Alting and members of the committee,

    Thank you for the opportunity to speak this afternoon. My name is Kathleen Lara and I am the Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana, a network of 230 non-profit organizations, units of local government, private companies and institutions dedicated to building strong communities.

    Working to advance policies that respond to urgent human needs and improve the quality of life in communities of all sizes throughout the state is essential to our members. That is why I come before the committee today urging strong support for SB 227. I would also like to thank Senator Merritt for this leadership on this important piece of legislation.

    Around the state, our members and partners work diligently to help those few economic opportunities build assets and achieve housing stability through a large and diverse portfolio of programs. Housing counseling, and in particular, foreclosure prevention counseling, is a keystone of those efforts as it provides emergency assistance for homeowners in crisis.

    The foreclosure filing fee, which helps to fund the Foreclosure Prevent Network hotline and counseling services as Senator Merritt mentioned is imperative to interventions statewide. This counseling assistance includes managing household finances to resolve a delinquency, informing the client of options for resolving the delinquency, helping negotiate with lenders, providing information on financial assistance programs, explaining the foreclosure process, providing referrals to other service providers (including legal counsel), and sometimes helping to find alternative housing.

    We know that foreclosure prevention housing counseling is extremely effective in helping struggling Hoosiers save their homes. The evidence is not just anecdotal. According to the latest figures from HOPE NOW, which is included in the papers I passed around, 770 permanent home loan modifications occurred in Indiana in the 3rd Quarter of last year alone. Additionally, two of every five homeowners who go through the GET HOPE hotline and attend a settlement conference, also funded through the filing fee proceeds, achieve a non-foreclosure workout.

    In May of last year, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released a publication finding that counseled clients were 2.83 times more likely to receive a loan modification and were 70 percent less likely to redefault on a modified loan than were similar borrowers who were not counseled. The publication also reported homeowners who received a mortgage modification to resolve a serious delinquency were 45 percent more likely to sustain that modification if it was obtained with the help of housing counseling.

    We are fortunate today to be joined by one of our members, Regina Flowers with the Community Action Program of Evansville who will speak to her experiences in working with struggling homeowners first-hand. She will share what consumers are facing even though foreclosure rates throughout the state are below the rates we saw during the peak of the housing crisis. We know that the work is not complete and that is why it is so critical to extend the foreclosure filing fee before it is set to expire. According to the GET HOPE data, at the end of the 3rd quarter in September, there were still 20,663 loans over 60 days delinquent and 639 foreclosure starts in Indiana. Further, RealtyTrac found that in December, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in Indiana was 54% higher than the previous month and 30% higher than the same time last year even though nationwide, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing was 1% lower than the previous month and 17% lower than the same time last year.

    There is still an urgent need for the counseling and legal resources funded in part by the foreclosure filing fee proceeds and it is important to note those funds fluctuate depending on the number of foreclosures filed. So, if there are fewer foreclosures, the proceeds are diminished. By the nature of how the fee was set up, we are funding these programs in proportion to need throughout the state.

    As a representative of members who are interested in both saving the homes of Hoosiers and stabilizing local real estate markets to create economic opportunity for working families, I urge your support for the measure and thank you for your time today.

    https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/Housing-Counseling-Works.pdf



  • 27 Jan 2017 9:18 AM | Jessica Love (Administrator)

    INDIANAPOLIS – Prosperity Indiana will host Prosperity IN Action at the Indiana Statehouse on Tuesday, January 31. The event is designed to bring together representatives from Prosperity Indiana’s membership, representing community economic development drivers, with state lawmakers. Prosperity Indiana, its members and partners will urge lawmakers to act on critical policy priorities that respond to urgent human needs, help expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in communities of all sizes.

    Kathleen Lara, Prosperity Indiana’s Policy Director, said, “We want to see our members directly engaged with their legislators so policymakers better understand the impact of members’ work. We believe it is important for legislators to hear firsthand how our policy priorities affect their constituents and communities.”

    Lara identified Prosperity Indiana’s key priorities for 2017 as clarifying the affordable housing property tax exemption, defending key programs in the budget, protecting consumers and strengthening asset building opportunities for low-income Hoosier families. In terms of the affordable housing property tax exemption, Prosperity Indiana wants to see the enactment of legislation that clarifies that tax exemption for 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that own and operate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families should be consistently applied throughout all of Indiana’s 92 counties. Senate Bill 559 addresses this concern. 

    See the full press release here.



  • 27 Jan 2017 8:35 AM | Deleted user

    The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) is seeking summer interns for several different divisions:


    Community Programs

    The Community Programs intern serves as part of the Community Programs team, which administers programs related to energy assistance, weatherization, and homeownership counseling for low income and vulnerable populations.

    Community Services - Continuum of Care or Coordinated Entry

    The Community Services interns serve as part of a team which provides funding and program management for the organizations serving persons experiencing homelessness in the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care (CoC). See http://www.indianabos.org/coc for more information about the CoC.


    Internal Auditor

    The Internal Audit intern will assist in evaluating existing internal control documentation, testing current processes and providing recommendations. The Internal Audit Intern is expected to constructively work with departments to improve internal controls across the organization.

    Housing Choice Voucher

    The Housing Choice Voucher intern serves as part of the Community Programs Department. Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) funding received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides rental assistance to over 4800 families within IHCDA’s jurisdiction. Please visit http://in.gov/ihcda/2333.htm for additional information on the HCV program.

    Legislative Affairs and Policy

    The Legislative Affairs and Policy intern provides logistical and program support for an education and outreach effort to encourage dialogue around critical housing and community development issues among practitioners, policy makers, and the communities they serve.

    Real Estate Production

    The Real Estate Development Production intern will work to develop an outreach strategy for the programs that the Real Estate Production administers, including HOME Investment Partnership, Community Development Block Grant Owner Occupied Rehabilitation, and Ramp Up.


    Click here for more details about applying for these paid internships and other job opportunities available at IHCDA.


  • 25 Jan 2017 9:13 PM | Deleted user

    The City of Bloomington seeks a full-time Assistant Director for the Housing and Neighborhood Development Department. The position oversees coordination of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) process; assists with the oversight of the housing counseling program, including providing housing counseling to individuals. Assists with the Rental Inspection Program, as needed. Attends departmental boards and commission meetings, as needed. Supervises the front line staff in their daily activities.


    Candidates should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration or related field. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of construction finance and pro forma analysis. Ability to interpret and apply federal laws and regulations dealing with community and economic development programs. They should also have a thorough knowledge of the housing market and industry practices and finance issues.


    Minimum three to five years working in a government environment or experience in implementing governmental programs. Supervisory experience. Knowledge of and experience in implementing the federal CDBG and HOME programs. Salary $62,500-$68,182.


    Interested parties may apply by fax (812-349-3446), email (hrmail@bloomington.in.gov), or at City Hall, Human Resources Department, 401 N Morton Street, Suite 230, Bloomington, IN.


    See full job description for more details.
  • 23 Jan 2017 2:00 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)

    This morning, Kathleen Lara, Prosperity Indiana's Policy Director testified before the Indiana Senate's Family and Children Services Committee in support of SB 154, a key state priority bill removing the asset limit test for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Benefits.  The committee considered testimony, but did not take a vote on the measure.  Read her full testimony below.  Another priority bill supported in the Committee by Prosperity Indiana passed with a vote of 8-1, in favor of dropping the ban on individuals with certain drug offenses from receiving SNAP benefits.  Read more coverage on that bill by clicking here.


    COMMITTEE ON FAMILY AND CHILDREN SERVICES
    TESTIMONY IN SUPPORT OF SB 154
    KATHLEEN LARA, POLICY DIRECTOR
    JANUARY 23, 2017

    Chairman Grooms and members of the committee,

    Thank you for the opportunity to speak this morning.   My name is Kathleen Lara and I am the Policy Director for Prosperity Indiana, a network of 230 non-profit organizations, units of local government, private companies and institutions dedicated to building vibrant communities and resilient families. I am also here today on behalf of the partners of the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network.

    Working to advance policies that respond to urgent human needs, help expand economic opportunity and improve the quality of life in communities of all sizes throughout the state is essential to our members and partners.  That is why I come before the committee today urging strong support for SB 154, a bill that will help financially vulnerable, food-insecure Hoosiers reach and maintain economic sufficiency.

    Our members and partners work diligently to help those with few assets and few economic opportunities access financial literacy education, open savings accounts, find workforce development training, attain higher education, and achieve housing stability.  Our networks have helped launch community loan centers to cut down on payday loan reliance.  They have helped to train non-profit organizations on best practices in helping low-income clients manage money successfully.  They help operate Individual Development Account programs that allow low-wealth consumers to receive financial education and open matched-savings accounts to afford higher education, open a business or buy a home.

    So, our member networks know that consumers are eager to access these opportunities and work hard to advance their financial goals.  Unfortunately, we find that too often, low-income consumers are in a system where they are set up to fail or held back from their full potential. Too often we hear that low-income Hoosiers should receive a hand up, but not a hand out and yet the very nature of the certain program rules contradicts that philosophy.  The SNAP asset limit test is among those rules.

    Despite member efforts underway to help break through generational poverty and thus, decrease reliance on public assistance, rules such as the asset limit test can have the unintended consequence of training beneficiaries to stay dependent – to keep their assets low or risk losing essential food assistance during tenuous times.

    Program beneficiaries are not eligible if they make more than 130% of the federal poverty level, roughly $31,600 annually for a family of four and the program constrains assets to below $2,250.  That may sound like a generous asset limit, but when you consider that our network partners teach clients that they need three months’ worth of income savings survive a financial emergency, the three months’ worth of savings even at this low-income level exceeds program allowances. 

    Logically, if we want Hoosiers to be economically sufficient, we cannot penalize them for saving funds and forcing them to spend down savings, retirement accounts, or selling off assets to become SNAP eligible.  That is important when you consider that SNAP benefits were designed to temporarily help individuals and families maintain food access as they weather financial turmoil, especially since benefit is not even their primary source of income for food.  It is, as the title indicates, supplemental. The program already deducts the amount they expect a household to pay towards food - 30% of net income. 

    The revisions in SB 154 make economic sense in supporting the financial independence of low-income Hoosiers.  The Urban Institute reported just last June that more flexible SNAP policies increase the likelihood that lower income adults live in a household where at least one member has a bank account and there is at least $500 in the account.  Entering the financial mainstream by opening bank accounts is in line with what our network case managers repeatedly recommend to clients.

    Removing the asset limit test not only makes economic sense for consumers, it makes economic sense for the state.  We know from other states that eliminating the asset test reduces administrative costs. For example, Pennsylvania’s Department of Health Services announced that the 2015 elimination of its asset limit test for SNAP was estimated to save the state $3.5 million annually.

    Prosperity Indiana members believe in asset-building strategies that help lift Hoosiers out of poverty permanently. We believe compassionate, common sense policy updates like those contained in SB 154 are essential to building strong families and communities.  We urge your support for the measure and thank you for your time today.

  • 20 Jan 2017 3:27 PM | Jessica Love (Administrator)

    After almost a year of working alongside the City of Michigan City and the residents of Michigan City’s Eastport neighborhood, the quality of life planning process that Prosperity Indiana guided for that community is completed. Now in the implementation phase, the plan was presented to the City Council by Director of Capacity Building Rose Scovel on January 17.

    Using a comprehensive community development model, Prosperity Indiana helped residents and stakeholders in the Eastport neighborhood develop a plan for the future of the area. Taking into account insightsfrom formal and informal leaders, the plan addresses what the public, private and philanthropic sectors can do in collaboration with residents and stakeholders to make Eastport a better place to live, work, and play.                                                                                                                                                                            

    With the project now completed, Rose said, “The most rewarding part of doing this work is becoming part of the neighborhood, having people get to know one another and want to work together. That, and bringing resources to the community that they weren't familiar with.”

    Rose Scovel 

    The neighborhood planning process included focus group meetings, listening sessions, surveys, a visioning session, and goals and action planning meetings. The culmination of the planning process is a neighborhood level plan for improving their quality of life. In Eastport, the five key topic areas for the plan, around which there were individual working groups, are Business, Housing, Walkability, Civic Infrastructure, and Engagement/Pride.

    While Prosperity Indiana has a well-defined process that can be adapted to every community, each neighborhood has its own unique set of opportunities and challenges that come to bear, many of which will take months or years after completing the plan to fully take advantage of or otherwise address. While this makes the work more difficult, it is also what makes it so important.

    Rose said, “The most challenging part is that there are issues facing the neighborhood (like food access) that there isn't the capacity to resolve in a time frame that is meaningful to the neighborhood.”

    That is why helping neighbors establish a unifying force to work together is vital to their future. For many communities, the planning process is just as crucial to their success as the actual plan. Often neighbors meet for the first time and find common interests and concerns during this endeavor to create their shared vision for the future of the area. Finding this connection with their neighbors sets them up for greater success when they move to implementation.

    Rose noted, “The most exciting outcome in Eastport is that the neighborhood resident group is reforming and developing their capacity to lead change in the neighborhood.”

    And positive change is exactly what Prosperity Indiana is in the business of helping people and places create across the state. 

    For more about this project, see the following press releases and media briefs from AprilJune, JulyAugust/August (FAQ) 2016 and January 2017.

  • 18 Jan 2017 9:08 AM | Rachel Mattingly (Administrator)

    Prosperity Indiana supports a network of organizations from all sectors and a variety of fields. That network includes many talented and effective leaders, several of whom were highlighted on our blog in a series that began last October to mark our 30th anniversary. Through our services, we strive to support all Prosperity Indiana members in becoming leaders who make an impact on their communities. Last fall, we launched the Expert Directory Survey to ask members to identify their level of experience on a variety of subjects. This tool is helping us understand our members better and providing us new ways to connect members to opportunities within the network. The below chart provides a summary of responses on several leadership characteristics from the first 70 people to complete the survey.


    Those who identified themselves as an “expert” have incorporated these skills into their work to a significant degree and are comfortable sharing their knowledge with others.

    We’re excited to announce a new member service to use this data to grow leaders in our network. Members may now request to be matched with a mentor to help them tackle a challenge or learn a new skill. Mentors are people with significant experience in the field who have volunteered to assist their peers by spending one to two hours meeting or speaking with them one-on-one to address particular topics.

    If you’re setting resolutions for 2017 and are looking for support in developing strong goals and action plans or if your resolutions include strengthening your command of finances or your ability to facilitate difficult conversations, request a mentor to receive tips, resources, and guidance for reaching your goals. Below is a list of some of the areas in which mentors have agreed to serve; but there are many others—use the Mentor Request Form to let us know what topic you’re interested in.


    If you’d like to exercise your own leadership potential and be a mentor, please complete our Expert Directory Survey. In this survey (accessible exclusively to members through our Member Directory page), you’ll identify your level of experience on a variety of topics. You can also indicate your willingness to provide training, technical assistance, and/or mentorship to other members. As more people join the Directory, its potential as a tool for connecting with other professionals grows. So, please share it with other network members.

    Be a mentor. Ask a mentor. Become a leader. 

  • 17 Jan 2017 11:52 AM | Deleted user

    In addition to the Lilly Endowment’s regular support of human service organizations this year, the Endowment is granting a total of $100 million dollars to 15 organizations to invest in their sustainability plans. These grants seek to strengthen the financial infrastructure of vital but under-capitalized organizations and build their capacity for the long-term. Included among the grantees are Prosperity Indiana members, Edna Martin Christian Center, John H. Boner Community Center, and 2014 member, Horizon House. Congratulations to each grant recipient for the well-deserved recognition and support of the important work they do in building vibrant communities and resilient families. 

    Read the official press release for more details of this initiative from the Lilly Endowment and the full list of award recipients.


  • 13 Jan 2017 8:59 AM | Deleted user

    This Spring, Purdue Extension is offering a course on preparing grant proposals in eight communities around the state.  The 2-day workshop, Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing, will give grant writers of all skill levels the information and resources they need to submit proposals with confidence.  

    The two-day interactive workshops take place from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM local time on both days listed below:

    Floyd County, New Albany Floyd County Public Library, 180 W. Spring Street, New Albany, IN 47150, Wednesday, February 8 and Wednesday, March 8, 2017.

    Hendricks County, 4-H Fairgrounds and Conference Center, 1900 E. Main Street, Danville, IN 46122, Tuesday, February 21 and Tuesday, March 21, 2017.

    Allen County, 4001 Crescent Avenue, Fort Wayne, IN 46815, Thursday, February 23 and Thursday, March 23, 2017.

    Putnam County, Putnam County Fairgrounds,191 US-231, Greencastle, IN 46135, Wednesday, March 8 and Wednesday, April 12, 2017.

    Marion County, 1202 East 38th Street, Discovery Hall Suite 201, Indianapolis, IN 46205, Friday, March 10 and Friday, April 14, 2017.

    Tipton County, 1200 S. Main Street, Tipton, IN 46072, Thursday, March 16 and Thursday, April 20, 2017.

    Harrison County, 247 Atwood Street, Corydon, IN 47122, Tuesday, April 11 and Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

    Tippecanoe County, 3150 Sagamore Parkway South, Lafayette, IN 47905, Thursday, April 20 and Thursday, May 18, 2017.

    During the workshop, participants develop their ideas into written proposals. They learn how to find funders as well as strategies for successful grant implementation.

     "Over the years, participants of the Beginner’s Guide to Grant Writing workshop have gone on to win millions of dollars in grant funding, bringing vital programs and services, equipment, infrastructure, and amenities to communities all across Indiana," said Kris Parker, Regional Community Development Educator with Purdue Extension.

    Registration is $175 per person and includes a workbook, reference materials and lunch both days. Professional review of a draft proposal is also included.

    Additional information and a registration form are available by going to http://bit.ly/2gdgXFu. Or, by contacting Kym Schwinkendorf at 219-386-5232, or kschwink@purdue.edu.

  • 11 Jan 2017 7:58 PM | Kathleen Lara (Administrator)
    Prosperity Indiana's policy team is already hard at work in the halls of the Statehouse trying to advance critical priorities. To read our 2017 policy agenda and state policy priorities, click here.  We hope our members will join our advocacy efforts by attending our Statehouse Day on Tuesday, Jan. 31st. For more information and to RSVP, click here.

    This blog will elaborate on progress already underway in working towards our 2017 state advocacy goals below, but as we referenced in our 30th Anniversary and Prosperity Indiana Summit policy sessions, it is important to understand the context of broader policy priorities dominating legislators’ attention.

    Top General Assembly Priorities from Legislative Leaders

    House Agenda:
    House leaders unveiled their top priorities for this session during Organization Day last November.  The plans were elaborated on in the House Republican’s “Investing In Our Future Plan.”  Speaker Brian Bosma has outlined the following as the key focus for House leadership:

    • Passing a balanced state budget
    • Passing a 20-year infrastructure plan, including a gas tax increase, new special fuel and motor carrier surcharges, and a new annual fee on all vehicles to address the more than $1 billion in additional funding per year needed to maintain roads and bridges
    • Expanding education opportunities – while not favoring a universal expansion of pre-k, the Speaker did express support for expanding Indiana’s existing pre-k pilot program and for improving testing in the state’s classrooms
    • Expanding job creation and workforce development- the Speaker referenced the Department of Workforce Development’s estimate that the state will need to fill 1 million jobs by 2022. He pledged that House members will advance policies to meet the training and educational needs to fit employee/employer needs.
    • Addressing the opioid and heroin epidemic and public safety needs- Speaker Bosma committed to focusing on “efforts to expand substance abuse and treatment options.”  He also called for an increase in Indiana State Police salaries.

    Senate Agenda:
    January 10, Senate leadership unveiled their agenda, which largely mirrors priorities of their House counterparts with some minor additions and some differences in their approach.  Senate President Pro Tem David Long listed the following as specific priorities:

    • Passing another balanced, two-year state budget
    • Creating a long-term road funding plan – Sen. Long would not commit to a specific figure on how much taxes should be increased to pay for roads, but did indicate the Senate would start to work with the House blueprint and identify new sources of funding.
    • Passing a balanced budget amendment that would “prohibit state spending from exceeding state revenue unless two-thirds of the General Assembly deems it necessary to use emergency spending measures”
    • Fighting opioid abuse through prevention, enforcement, treatment and data collection measures
    • Addressing educational needs by replacing the ISTEP exam, improving career and technical education in the school funding formula, and fixing the overall structure of workforce development
    • Fixing Indiana’s e-liquids law by reforming regulations for e-liquids manufacturers

    Top Administrative Priorities

    On Monday January 9, Governor Eric Holcomb and Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch were sworn in during inaugural ceremonies.  Last week, however, on January 5, then Governor-elect Holcomb and Lt. Governor-elect Crouch unveiled their Next Level 2017 Agenda. The proposals referenced a number of the key legislative priorities put forth by legislative leaders and include some additional ideas.  Those proposals include:

    • Investing $1 Billion to make Indiana an innovation hub over the next 10 years through investments in high-growth early stage and mid-cap Indiana companies, continue resources for the Regional Cities program, and creating entrepreneurship grants to support programs and partnerships with Indiana higher education institutions and communities
    • Creating  a 20-year plan to fund roads and bridges, mirroring on legislative leaders’ plans
    • Improving workforce readiness, which includes an appointed Secretary of Education beginning in 2021 to replace the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as doubling the state’s investment in pre-kindergarten
    • Addressing the drug epidemic by creating the position of Executive Director for Substance Abuse Prevention, Treatment, and Enforcement in the Governor’s office,  giving local officials the authority to establish syringe exchange programs, limiting controlled substance prescriptions and refills, and enhancing penalties for pharmacy robberies
    • Improving government service by modernizing the state Department of Revenue computer system, raising pay for Indiana State Police, upgrading Indiana State Police labs, analyzing waste, fraud and abuse in Indiana’s Medicaid and unemployment insurance programs, exempting military pensions from the state income tax, and expanding the nurse-family partnership to combat infant mortality.

    Top Prosperity Indiana Priorities

    As referenced above, the Prosperity Indiana public policy team, which includes Kathleen Lara, Andy Fraizer, Steve Hoffman (the President Prosperity Indiana’s Board of Directors and the Public Policy Committee Chair), and Ice Miller, LLP representatives (Prosperity Indiana's lobbying partners), is already tracking and analyzing a number of bills to support and oppose in this legislative session and accordingly, meeting with legislators to advance and oppose a variety of legislative proposals. 

    For Prosperity Indiana’s comprehensive bill tracking list and link to more information about legislation, click here [Member Access]. This list is exhaustive of all introduced legislation that pertains to any Prosperity Indiana member issue area.  

    For a more refined review of key legislation in critical areas for members, review Prosperity Indiana’s top priority bill tracker by clicking here [Member Access]. The identified bills on that list are most likely to proceed at the State House or of greatest concern to Prosperity Indiana’s policy team.  Please keep in mind that the deadline bill filing is Thursday, January 12, so our tracker information will be updated as additional bill information becomes available.

    Prosperity Indiana has four key affirmative priorities for the 2016 Indiana General Assembly and one key area of defense thus far.

    Affirmative Priorities:

    • Clarifying Charitable Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption:  
      SB 559 PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING (Eckerty, D) - Provides a property tax exemption for affordable rental housing property when the property does not otherwise qualify for a property tax exemption. Provides that, in order to qualify for the exemption, the owner must meet the criteria applied by the Internal Revenue Service in determining if an organization that provides low income housing is considered charitable because it relieves the poor and distressed.  Clarifying state code on property tax exemption for non-profit owned affordable housing. For background on this issue and a summary of the proposal to be introduced this session, click on the following one-pager summaries below.
      Background on Property Tax Exemption Issue
      Summary of Current Proposal

    • Protecting Consumers, Promoting Economic Stability Through the Extension of the Foreclosure Filing Fee:
      We have worked with two legislative leaders to introduce bills to extend the Foreclosure Filing Fee, which helps fund statewide foreclosure counseling training, extensive counseling services and court coordinator-assisted mortgage workouts for Indiana borrowers at risk of losing their homes.  Those bills include:
      • SB 227 FORECLOSURE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION FEE (Merritt, J) - Removes a provision providing for the July 1, 2017, expiration of the $50 mortgage foreclosure counseling and education fee that must be paid by a party filing an action to foreclose a mortgage.
      • HB 1097 FORECLOSURE COUNSELING AND EDUCATION FEE (Burton, W) - Extends from July 1, 2017, to July 1, 2019, the date for the expiration of the $50 mortgage foreclosure counseling and education fee that must be paid by a party filing an action to foreclose a mortgage.
    • Empowering Low-Income Hoosier Families Through the Removal of the Asset Limit Test for SNAP Eligibility:
      SB 154 REMOVAL OF ASSET LIMITS FOR SNAP ELIGIBILITY (Merritt, J) - Requires the division of family resources to: (1) implement within the federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) an expanded eligibility category, which does not consider an individual's value of assets in determining SNAP eligibility; and (2) notify the United States Department of Agriculture of the implementation of expanded categorical eligibility under SNAP.
      This is critical to help low-income families as the current asset limit test disincentivizes savings, which is a critical step toward self-sufficiency.

    • Empowering Low-Income Hoosier Families Through the Expansion of Pre-K Educational Opportunities:
      One of our top state legislative priorities in 2017 is expanding economic opportunities for Hoosier families, including childcare resources and pre-k expansion for low-income households.  As part of that effort, we are partnering with the All IN 4 Pre-K campaign.  A number of bills have been introduced this session aimed at pre-k expansion and are included in our bill trackers, but Prosperity Indiana’s policy team is still examining those proposals before endorsing a specific approach.  Stay tuned to this blog post for important updates.

    Defensive Priorities:

    • Protecting Consumers, Promoting Economic Stability Through Opposition to Predatory Lending Expansion:
      SB 245: LONG TERM SMALL LOANS (Holdman, T) - Provides that a lender that is licensed by the department of financial institutions to engage in small loans may enter into a transaction for a long term small loan with a borrower. Defines a long term small loan as a loan that: (1) is entered into by a licensed small loan lender and a borrower; (2) has a principal amount of at least $605 and not more than $2,500; and (3) is payable in installments over a term of not more than 24 months. Provides that with respect to a long term small loan, a lender may contract for and receive a monthly loan finance charge that: (1) does not exceed 20% of the principal; and (2) is earned by the lender on a daily basis using the simple interest method.
      One of Prosperity Indiana’s central 2017 advocacy priorities is preventing the predatory loan products and practices that disproportionately affect low-income consumers.  That is precisely what SB 245 would do.  The proposal offers a longer-term installment loan carrying interest rates rate exceeding 200% APR.  For example, a $1,000 loan due in 6 months will carry a 230% APR and on a $2,500 loan due in 24 months, a borrower will pay back over $12,000.  These rates are significantly higher than other installment loans already offered in Indiana and would hurt vulnerable consumers. Click on the summary one-pager below to learn more about the detrimental impact the proposal will have on low-income consumers.
      SB 245, By the Numbers

    Please stay tuned to our blog for critical action alerts and legislative updates as the 120th General Assembly session continues.  Prosperity Indiana is grateful to our members for their work, advocacy, and partnership!


Prosperity Indiana
1099 N. Meridian Street, Suite 170
Indianapolis, IN 46204 
Phone // 317.222.1221 
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