As session filing deadlines passed and bill lists completed, Prosperity Indiana’s Policy Team has been hard at work tracking legislation and pushing forward key bills on behalf of our members and in line with our 2018 State Priorities. Please review the key bills and updates highlighted below and take action where indicated. Also, please visit our member legislation tracker page for full priority bill lists.
Ask your Senator to Co-sponsor/Support SB 213, to protect access to affordable rental housing for low-income individuals and families (Sponsored by Senator Doug Eckerty)
Prosperity Indiana worked again to introduce this measure to provide clarity for non-profit organizations with Senator Eckerty. The bill has been referred to the Senate Tax and Fiscal Committee and we urgently need your help trying to secure a hearing! Please contact Chairman Holdman and share details of why you support the measure and ask him to hear the bill.
Background: Currently in Indiana, we have a significant lack of affordable rental housing options for low-income individuals and families. Non-profits statewide that wholly own properties and use them to provide safe, affordable housing options for low-income renters help meet this critical need and reduce reliance on emergency shelters. Unfortunately, they have no way of knowing from county to county whether or not their clearly charitable purpose will be recognized for property tax exemption due to vague language in state code. SB 213 establishes a narrow, clear definition, preserving these critical housing options for vulnerable Hoosiers.
Ask your SEnator to co-sponsor/support SB 325 TO PUT A 36% CAP ON PAYDAY LOANS AND CUT DOWN ON PREDATORY LENDING THAT TRAPS LOW-INCOME CONSUMERS IN DEBT (Sponsored by Senator Greg walker)
In recent years, Prosperity Indiana and numerous other advocacy organizations have pushed back against legislative efforts to expand payday lending products, but we had not had legislation we could support to cut down on these predatory products that devastate our communities. This year, we worked to find a legislator willing to introduce a bill to empower low-income borrowers by cutting down on the predatory rates lenders can charge on short-term loans and Senator Greg Walker introduced SB 325. So far, we have had difficulties trying to secure a hearing date, so please help us build support and tell Chairman Perfect why you think it is critical to hear the bill and move this legislation forward.
Background: Predatory loans, offered at triple digit interest rates, destabilize Hoosier families and communities because this debt trap can lead to bankruptcy and housing instability. SB 325 would cap these loans at 36 percent interest, which is the most effective way to stop the cycle of high-cost debt intentionally created by payday lenders. This is the rate the U.S. Department of Defense secured to protect active duty military members and 15 other states have implemented caps of 36 percent or less to protect borrowers. It is a rate that allows wide access to credit without creating an incentive for a lender to seek out distressed borrowers who are unable to repay. Additionally, a new poll shows 88 percent of Hoosiers support a 36 percent rate cap on annual interest for payday loans and seventy-five percent indicated they would be more likely to vote for a legislative candidate who favors lowering the rate to 36 percent.
Ask your Representative to oppose HB 1319 A BILL THAT WOULD AUTHORIZE INSTALLMENT LOANS AT EXTREMELY HIGH INTEREST RATES
(Sponsored by representative martin carbaugh)
Please help us oppose the following measure by finding your State Representative and asking him/her to oppose this bill that will likely be heard in Committee on Wendesday, January 24.
This proposal would authorize a new, longer-term installment loan product from payday lenders that would carry interest rates rate exceeding 200% APR. These rates are significantly higher than other installment loans already offered in Indiana and would hurt vulnerable consumers, trapping them in a cycle of debt and increasing their dependency on food stamps and delaying on medical care and rent, and increasing their likelihood of bankruptcy.
Specifically, the bill:
· Adds a new three-18 month installment loan product, called an “unsecured consumer loan,” to be offered by payday lenders that conservatively would produce loans at around 200 percent APR, but could reach higher depending on how fees and interest are applied;
· Allows all consumer loans up to $54,600 charge up to a 36 percent interest rate. Currently only loans of $2000 or less can charge 36 percent;
· Exempts the finance charge on installment loans from the current felony criminal loan sharking standard of 72 percent APR to allow these loans to reach triple-digit APRs.
Ask Your SEnator to co-sponsor/support SB 422 TO EXPAND RESOURCES AND TOOLS FOR COMMUNITIES TO COMBAT BLIGHT (Sponsored by SEnator Vaneta Becker)
Abandoned properties threaten the safety and stability of Hoosier communities. While the Indiana General Assembly has made significant incremental legislative progress to empower local responses over the past few years, existing tools and resources are unfortunately not equal to the challenges that continue to exist. That is why we seek legislative changes to further empower community redevelopment through acquisition, disposition, and adequate funding for neighborhood revitalization strategies. SB 422, authored by Senator Becker, is based on national best practices and would help improve processes for land banks and/or redevelopment commissions to help them more effectively acquire properties and fund efforts to combat blight.
On Wednesday, January 3, the General Assembly convened for the first day of the 2018 session. Prosperity Indiana’s policy team continued working with legislators to introduce measures that support community development efforts in Indiana, as outlined in our 2018 State Policy Priorities below. Additionally, we are tracking and analyzing bill filings to review measures we will advocate for or against on behalf of our members in this legislative session.
While it is a short session, our network is pushing for some ambitious priorities and we hope our members will join our advocacy efforts by attending our Statehouse Day on Tuesday, January 23. For more information and to RSVP, click here. Stay posted to our blog as we will post our bill tracker lists and details next week.
Prosperity Indiana works diligently to collaborate with state legislators in developing 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. Further, our network supports inclusive communities that allow all Hoosiers prosper, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin or ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender. In 2018, our state policy advocacy will be focused on four critical areas in support of resilient families and vibrant communities.
1. Clarifying Charitable Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption
Enacting legislation to provide clarity and certainty around tax exemption for 501(c)3 non-profit organizations that own and operate affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families is essential to preserving and expanding quality affordable housing options, which our state currently lacks. Prosperity Indiana will work to establish a uniform, objective standard to ensure that these non-profit organizations receive property tax exemption throughout all of Indiana’s 92 counties.
2. Defending Key Programs that Spur Economic Opportunity
Prosperity Indiana remains committed to ensuring that incentive credit reform proposals do not adversely affect the opportunities for economic success of individuals and families.
3. developing new resources to support community development work
In 2018, Prosperity Indiana will work to build support for sustainable funding sources for community development work. This will include promoting affordable housing production through local affordable housing local housing trust funds, working to establish new partnerships among nonprofit, public and private entities to improve economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income households, such as a community investment tax credit program, as well as identifying resources for communities to effectively combat blight and abandoned property.
4. Protecting consumers, Promoting economic stability
Prosperity Indiana will continue active advocacy to encourage asset building for low-wealth individuals and families, such as working to curtail predatory lending products and practices that disproportionately impact low-income consumers, including payday lending, debt garnishment, and attempts to undermine the judicial foreclosure process in place in Indiana.
Additionally, as we share our key priorities, it is important to highlight for our members key legislative and administrative priorities for the year.
House Agenda: On Thursday, January 4, Speaker Brian Bosma has outlined the following priorities as the key areas of focus for House leadership:
· supporting a funding boost for K-12 schools
· strengthening Indiana’s workforce
· attacking the opioid epidemic
· increasing government efficiency.
Click here to read more.
Senate Agenda: On Monday, January 8, members of the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus will announce their 2018 legislative agenda. For more details on the unveiling, click here.
On November 8, Governor Eric Holcomb released his Next Level Agenda for 2018. Click here for the agenda handout. The proposals are mirrored in some the House leadership priorities for this session and include:
· Cultivating a strong and diverse economy (attracting new talent, supporting the tech sector, preparing for next generation technologies and opportunities, and encouraging sustainable regional development)
· Maintaining and build the state’s infrastructure (better managing the state’s water resources, expanding Indiana’s global economic presence with a fourth port, and improving broadband access, speed and affordability)
· Developing a 21st Century skilled and ready workforce (providing every Hoosier child an effective baseline education infused with skills and attributes that prepare them for life after high school, ensure students graduate from high school set on a pathway that prepares them for college, career training or a quality job, and connecting working-age adults to education and training that leads them directly to employment aligned with industry needs)
Prosperity Indiana is pleased to announce that we have partnered with the National Association of Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) to provide technical assistance to the City of Rushville using a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rural Technical Assistance grant. Prosperity Indiana will work closely with Brian Sheehan, Director of Special Projects and Mayor Mike Pavey on the project to provide capacity building, leadership development, and facilitate development of an arts council & arts master plan.
“This is a great opportunity for our community. The opportunity to partner with experts in the field of art and leadership development to build greater capacity in our community is something I am very excited to be a part of.” – Brian Sheehan
This technical assistance grant pairs with the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) consultancy the City of Rushville received through the IAC’s program “Open Scene”, available to those that attended their summer creative placemaking workshop. When the City of Rushville applied for an arts consultancy through the Indiana Arts Commission they dreamed big and applied for assistance with an arts master plan for their community. Lewis Ricci, Executive Director of the Indiana Arts Commission said “It’s been really exciting to work with Rushville’s energetic and innovative leaders. This match with Prosperity Indiana will give Rushville more tools to keep building quality of place while celebrating their community’s creativity.” The city wants to build on the Stellar Communities program success and look toward arts as a means of advancing community economic development in their area.
Prosperity Indiana Director of Planning Services, Rose Scovel, was on the consultant team for the Indiana Arts Commission and believed that what Rushville was seeking was a good potential match for the HUD Rural Technical Assistance Program that Prosperity Indiana is connected to through their partner, NALCAB. She encouraged the City of Rushville to apply for technical assistance for an arts master plan, capacity building for a new arts council, and leadership development.
The project work began in early January and will continue through June. The project has four components that will engage residents of the Rushville community: 1) creation of an arts commission and capacity building for the arts commission; 2) leadership development workshops; 3) a resource guide for the arts council; and, 4) an arts master plan. Early in the year Prosperity Indiana will begin interviewing key stakeholders connected to the arts in Rushville and conduct focus groups to advise the development of an arts council. Once an arts council has been appointed, Prosperity Indiana will provide board training. The leadership development component will include workshops on community organizing and civic engagement, and conclude with a community resource fair. Residents are encouraged to attend these workshops, which will be held in February, March, and April.
The process for the arts master plan will include a community survey, focus groups, a visioning workshop, working groups to develop the action plans, and a public rollout of the plan. Residents will be welcome (and encouraged) to participate in all aspects of developing the master plan.
For this project the arts are being construed broadly, including visual arts, performing arts, writing and storytelling, and culinary arts.
For more information about the project contact Rose Scovel, Director of Planning Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or Brian Sheehan email@example.com, Director of Special Projects at the City of Rushville.
A message from Prosperity Indiana's newest staff member:
"Hello, my name is Tierra Jones, and I am the AmeriCorps Program Manager with Prosperity Indiana. I recently graduated from IWU with a Masters in Organizational Leadership. I have experience in the social services field, training and leadership development, recruitment, skills development, and diversity and inclusion. I am an AmeriCorps Alum which truly excites me about the role I am in at Prosperity Indiana. As the AmeriCorps Program Manager, I will oversee AmeriCorps program activities, ensure compliance, manage AmeriCorps members and services, assist in supervision and performance evaluation and much more. I have a wonderful husband, (Jason) and two little girls, Xaniyah (7) Olivia (1)."
We are excited to welcome Tierra to the Prosperity Indiana team! You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On December 26, the Prosperity Indiana Board of Directors announced my departure as Executive Director. I announced my resignation to the Board of Directors on December 14, 2017 and depart March 2, 2018 to serve as Executive Director of the Community Foundation of South Jersey.
I am excited about this new opportunity but sad to leave a great team and wonderful members making an impact everyday in Hoosiers' lives and their local communities. I am grateful for my decade of service alongside the dedicated professionals on the staff, Board of Directors and at member organizations across the state.
We have accomplished a lot together… stopped predatory financial legislation, created new safeguards in the law for Hoosiers in foreclosure, ensured funding for affordable housing development, created access to fair credit products, funded sustainable energy and program innovation in financial access with members, delivered high quality consulting and training to empower neighbors and practitioners, and connected the diversity of local organizations and industries that encompass the state’s community economic development field.
Prosperity Indiana has an annually updated succession plan for senior staff. The Board has put the plan into effect. Board Vice President Nate Lichti with member IFF leads the Transition Committee. The Committee’s first meeting was December 21, 2017 and work is underway to identify a successor.
Our Board President Steve Hoffman with member Brightpoint, said in the press release: “Prosperity Indiana’s work to empower strong member organizations, champion social justice and economic opportunity, and mobilize neighbors, coalitions, and policymakers for economic opportunity continues unabated. There is tremendous momentum with the organization following last year’s successful rebranding. The Board of Directors will work closely with the staff to continue programs and strategy until a successor is announced.”
I hope to see each of you at the upcoming Prosperity Indiana Summit, January 23 and 24, 2018 in Indianapolis. This annual convening of members, partners, and interested professionals will explore strategies for community health, community development, and human service organizations to work collaboratively in local communities.
My name is Kay Glenn, and my position with Prosperity Indiana is Membership and Administrative Coordinator. I came to Prosperity Indiana from IPS. I was in A/P in the Food Service Dept. I have experience in customer service, data entry, finances, receptionist, payroll, A/P & A/R, just to name a few. When I decided to leave IPS, I wanted to look for an organization that did great things to aid our community. Some friends suggested I look in the non-profit world for a position. At Prosperity Indiana, I will help in the management of member and donor investment, as well as support the Prosperity Indiana staff with tasks that build the capacity of the organization, its members, and its partners. I will also be responsible for aiding in the annual membership campaign and annual fundraising events.
I am married and I have three rescue pets: two dogs and one cat. I love to cook for my family and friends. I am a member and Vice-President of the Beech Grove Fraternal of Order of Eagles. We are a nonprofit organization. I have helped organize and participated in many fundraising events. I also help plan anywhere from kid's holiday parties to canned food drives for small food panties and sock drives for Wheeler Mission.
I have a long road of learning in my future, but hope to become a valuable and respected staff member of Prosperity Indiana.
In 2013, Prosperity Indiana began a multi-year partnership with the Legacy Foundation of Lake County to design a program that uses a neighborhood-based collective impact approach to strengthen communities from within -- through organizing, planning and decision-making and action.
Recently, the Legacy Foundation announced support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation to launch a new community development corporation (CDC) for Lake County, Indiana. The Legacy Foundation is seeking an Acting Director [job description] who will start up and manage a newly-formed Community Development Corporation (CDC).
This CDC will take a creative neighborhood based approach to community engagement, planning, and place-making projects. This Community Development Corporation will be managed by and located within the Legacy Foundation during an initial incubation period until it can become an independent organization. At that point, pending on the job success, the Acting Director will transition to becoming Executive Director of an independent 501c3 CDC.
“We appreciate the support from JPMorgan Chase for Legacy Foundation to develop and launch the Lake County CDC. We see this as an opportunity to provide much-needed community development support to area neighborhoods,” said Legacy Foundation President Carolyn Saxton.
Through Neighborhood Spotlight and a Choice Neighborhood program, community groups were trained to engage residents and leaders, develop a community plan, and implement projects. FAITH Farms, a project of Gary, Indiana’s Emerson neighborhood, for example, turned a vacant lot into an urban garden with greenhouses and a steady group of volunteers who grow fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs. Gary’s Miller neighborhood leveraged the Spotlight program to secure funding for a bike-sharing program.
After working with five northwest Indiana neighborhoods – the Emerson, Miller, and University Park East communities of Gary, Griffith, and northwest Hobart – Legacy and partners determined that a county-wide community development corporation could help deepen resident engagement and move to greater implementation in existing neighborhoods.
In recognition of the need to apply health outcomes research to the affordable housing and community development fields, NeighborWorks America supported the research and development of the new Success Measures Health Outcome Tools. These tools are intended to help community development practitioners design projects and partnerships that address health disparities through the integration of affordable housing, community development, and health.
Any organization or community interested in how their work relates to health outcomes can benefit from the Success Measures Health Outcome Tools, including: housing and community development organizations, cross-sector community health initiatives, public health researchers, and health care institutions. The tools utilize primary data collected from residents, as well as from existing public data sources and program records. The tools are available in both English and Spanish.
The Success Measures Health Outcome Tools include surveys of:
Click here to read the full publication and view the tools.
Interested in learning more about the intersection of community development and community health? Join us at the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Summit on January 24th to hear experts from around the state and the country discuss strategies, partnerships, and other tools for addressing health disparities in your community. Summit sessions will include:
Dr. Lisa Harris, CEO of Eskenazi Health, will present the opening plenary remarks in the morning. David Erickson, Director of the Center for Community Development Finance at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will present the lunch keynote address.
Click here to register for the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Summit.
For the last several years, it has been my pleasure to serve as the chairperson of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis (FHLBI) Affordable Housing Advisory Council (AHAC). The Council recently elected new leadership and added representatives from several Prosperity Indiana member organizations.
The AHAC is comprised of housing and community development leaders throughout Michigan and Indiana. The Council helps the Bank meet its mission related to access to decent, stable, affordable housing and community investment.
Vincent Tilford and Tony Lentych were recently elected as the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Council effective January 1, 2018. Tilford is Executive Director of the Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation in Detroit, Michigan and Lentych is Executive Director of the Traverse City Housing Commission in Traverse City, Michigan. Lentych also worked in Indianapolis, Indiana for a number of years including as the Executive Director of the Indianapolis Coalition for Neighborhood Development.
In addition, the FHLBI Board of Directors selected the following Indiana representatives to three-year terms on AHAC:
The AHAC is comprised of 12 community and not-for-profit leaders actively involved in providing or promoting low- and moderate-income housing and community lending in Indiana and Michigan. "The advisory council provides specialized knowledge of affordable housing and of the unique needs of our district," said Cindy L. Konich, FHLBI President and CEO. "The council's understanding and experience with affordable housing finance, community economic development, and local lending needs truly enriches our ability to meet our affordable housing mission through our member financial institutions."
Prosperity Indiana is excited to announce the nominees for the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Awards! We had an outstanding pool of candidates from all over the state. While only one person or program will be selected for each category, we want to take a moment to recognize and honor all who were nominated. Join us at the 2018 Prosperity Indiana Summit luncheon for our awards celebration when recipients are announced!
Robert O. Zdenek Staff Member of the Year Award
John Niederman Rural Development Leadership Award