First impressions are a tricky thing. The professional side of me feels like introductions should be formal and I should tell all of you something impressive about myself or spout off my work history. However, that wouldn't be "me" at all. If we were meeting in-person (which if we haven't, we'll need to change that soon), I'd more than likely tell you all about my cat who, over the past couple weeks, has already impacted the way I think about this Network and care about its mission even more than I already did - which is saying a lot.
Yes, it sounds strange, but allow me to explain.
It's probably important to say that I'm an animal person - being asked whether I'm a cat or dog person is far more stressful than being asked for my opinion on certain political issues. I've been known to nurse injured woodland creatures who wandered onto my front stoop back to health and consider being a called a crazy cat/dog/animal lady a badge of honor. I'd like to think of myself as a modern day Snow White. So, when my senior cat, Banksy, was in visible pain last Wednesday morning, I dashed to the vet without a thought of how much his visit and subsequent treatment would cost.
Fortunately, the talented veterinarians were able to diagnose his near-fatal ailment quickly. For nearly three full days, Banksy stayed in the animal hospital under their watchful eyes, charming the staff into giving him more behind-the-ear scratches and belly rubs than they bargained for.
Unfortunately, his animal hospital stays resulted in a rather large bill. We're talking three times my monthly rent payment large. Thankfully, I took my mother's advice and have been saving for a rainy day since I landed my first job at age 15, so Banksy's bills were covered. However, after reading about payday loans and the repercussions of loans made at alarmingly high interest rates for days on end during my first week at Prosperity Indiana, I asked the office staff at the animal hospital what options would be available if I were unable to cover his tab. To my surprise, the only option presented to me was a monthly payment plan with a 55 percent interest rate. Fifty-five percent.
I know my problems are minuscule in comparison to the issues facing the Hoosiers the Network serves. However, it was a call to action - many do not have a rainy day fund they can pull from when an unexpected (and extremely expensive) life event of any kind hits them. When desperate times arise, sometimes taking the high-interest route seems like the only option, even if it means financial disaster down the road. And that's exactly why the work of the Network is so important and highly personal to me.
For those of you who may be wondering, Banksy is back at home and, much to his delight, on a wet food diet for the rest of his days. Doctor's orders. As for me, I come to the Network after years of helping community-based organizations amplify their work, connect to resources, and develop meaningful partnerships to achieve ambitious goals. That is why I am excited to hear and learn from you about ways we can make our state a better, more prosperous place for everyone, even on the rainiest of days.
We have exciting, but formidable work ahead and it will take a strong Network to accomplish our goals, so if you want to find out how you can get more involved, reach out!
I look forward to working alongside each of you in the days, months, and years ahead.
All the best,
LoganIndiana Assets & Opportunity Network Manager
The Health Opportunity and Equity (HOPE) Initiative, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was launched with the belief that every person in the U.S., no matter their background or ZIP code, should have a fair and just opportunity for the best possible health and well-being. Their report, released at the end of July, provides data around a number of social determinants of health broken down by state as well as by race and ethnicity. This data highlights some of the deep-rooted racial disparities in physical and financial well-being that Prosperity Indiana members are working to address.
Here are some of the highlights for Indiana:
Indiana ranks 39th in the country for adult health status, with 46.4% of adults reporting their health as very good or excellent. That percentage drops among blacks and Hispanics, with only 38.1% and 32.1% reporting very good or excellent health, respectively.
At 60.5%, Indiana ranks 29th in the country for households with a livable income (greater than 250% of the federal poverty line). Again, there is a stark difference between racial and ethnic groups. The proportion of both whites and Asians with a livable income is over 60%, while the proportions of blacks and Hispanics are both closer to 40%.
One of Indiana’s biggest problem areas is the racial inequality around concentration of poverty. Concentration of poverty, for the purpose of this report, refers to the proportion of people living in neighborhoods with less than 20% of residents living in poverty. For white Hoosiers, that percentage is close to 85%. For blacks, the number goes down to 46%.
The one area Indiana fares relatively well in? Housing. Indiana ranks 9th in the country for proportion of households spending no more than 30% of monthly household income on housing and related expenses. However, the racial divide still exists, with 76.3% of white households being affordable, while only 54.3% of black households are considered affordable. Indiana also ranks 9th in the country for homeownership rates, with 72.1% of households living in a home they own. That percentage again drops among minority groups – 40.7% for blacks, 55% for Hispanics, and 54.8% for Asians.
As a network, Prosperity Indiana members are working to improve numbers in every one of these categories, particularly for the most disadvantaged groups. Together, we work to close these gaps so that everyone in our communities has the opportunity to live a healthy, prosperous life.
Homeownership rates have increased slightly from the first quarter of 2018, but not for all racial and ethnic groups. Nationally, the homeownership rate increased to 64.3% in the second quarter, up slightly from the rate of 64.2% in the first quarter and from 63.7% one year ago, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents an additional 1.8 million homeowners over the past year.
In Indiana, the homeownership rate stands at 72.9% this quarter, up from 69.2% last quarter and 72.0% in the second quarter of 2017.
Despite these increases, not all racial and ethnic groups have seen a rise in homeownership rates. Nationally, the white American homeownership rate rose to 72.9% in the second quarter, up from 72.4% in the first quarter and 72.2% last year. Black and Hispanic homeownership rates, however, fell in the second quarter. The black homeownership rate stands at 41.6%, down from 42.2% in the first quarter of this year and from 42.3% at this time last year. The Hispanic homeownership rate saw a similar decline, with a rate of 46.6% in the second quarter compared to the first quarter rate of 48.4%. This rate is still up from 45.5% in the second quarter of 2017.
Which group is driving the overall homeownership rate up? Millennials. Homeownership rates for those under 35 have risen to 36.5% in the second quarter of 2018, up from 35.3% in the first quarter. This is the highest homeownership rate seen among Millennials in five years.
Click here to read the analysis from HousingWire, and here to view the data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Have community development experience? Want to be a Nonprofit Consultant? Prosperity Indiana may have just the opportunity for you to step into a full- or part-time consulting role.
This position is responsible for conducting training and providing technical assistance around board governance, program delivery, planning, and staff development & management. Ideal candidates will have an understanding of community economic development and experience with project management. View the full position descriptions here:
Training Manager/Consultant - Prosperity Indiana - https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/142930.html
Community Development Consultant (Part-time/Contract) - Prosperity Indiana - https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/142953.html
We are also hiring for a part-time administrative assistant to support Prosperity Indiana staff with tasks that build the capacity of Prosperity Indiana, its members, and its partners. Click here for the full position description and instructions on how to apply.
On Thursday, July 19, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing confirmation hearing for President Trump’s nominee to become the new director of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB), Kathy Kraninger. The CFPB is responsible for overseeing consumer protections in the financial sector and has jurisdiction includes banks, credit unions, mortgage servicers, foreclosure relief companies, and debt collectors operating in the U.S. If confirmed by the Senate, Kraninger would hold significant sway over the way those companies manage mortgages, credit cards, payday loans and other financial products they offer to customers. Click here to read our coverage of the hearing.
At issue in this hearing is the fundamental disagreement the Administration has with the agency’s underlying constitutionality. The current acting director, Mick Mulvaney, has decried what he considers to be a lack of accountability in the structure of the agency. Kraninger, hand-picked by Mulvaney to take over largely shares his views and promised in the confirmation hearing to continue the more pro-business shift at the agency that started under Mulvaney’s time as Acting Director.
If confirmed, Kraninger would serve a five-year term. In laying out her priorities, Kraninger stated she would use cost-benefit analysis to measure the price tag of regulations to industries and continue to go after bad industry behavior.
When pressed on the agency’s payday loan rule and her thoughts on whether or not the agency should repeal it, Kraninger only stated, “While I will not prejudge and cannot predict every decision that will come before me as director, if confirmed, I can assure you that I will focus solely on serving the American people.”
Senate Republicans who have expressed similar concerns to Mick Mulvaney about the agency and expressed support the nominee during the hearing proceedings. Questions from the panel’s Republican members largely focused on increasing transparency and accountability within the CFPB.
Senate Democrats who back the consumer protection actions taken under the previous director, Richard Cordray, took issue with Kraninger’s lack of experience with the agency, consumer protection issues or the financial services sector. Previously, she served at the White House Office of Management and Budget and helped craft President Trump’s 2019 budget plan, which called for cutting the CFPB’s budget and restricting its enforcement oversight.
Senator Donnelly (D-Ind.) sits on the panel and questioned Kraninger about student loan debt and the agency's recent decision to eliminate student loan office focused on loan abuses, which has returned $750 million in relief since its inception, and refocusing those responsibilities on "financial education." Donnelly stated that Hoosier students graduate with an average of $29,000 in debt and underlined the importance of that office. When asked her position on this action, Kraninger pointed to the fact the that CFPB still had an ombudsman for private student loans and she would be talking to that staff on student loan issues.
Donnelly also asked if she agreed with Mick Mulvaney's previous comments in referring to the CFPB as a "joke" and she said she would not have used those words and would support Bureau's mission, "as passed by Congress."
The full Senate is expected to vote soon on this nomination and Kraninger is expected to be confirmed as Republicans hold the majority of seats.
Fort Wayne: Wednesday, August 1, 12:00 - 1:15 EDT, click here to RSVP.
Indianapolis: Tuesday, August 7, 12:00 - 1:15 EDT, click here to RSVP.
South Bend: Wednesday, August 22, 12:00 - 1:15 EDT, click here to RSVP.
Evansville: Monday, August 27, 12:30 - 1:45 CDT, click here to RSVP.
Questions? Please contact Kathleen Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please lift your voice and share key consumer issues affecting Hoosiers in rural Indiana with the Consumer Financial Protection Board (CFPB)!
On Thursday, July 12, from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT, the CFPB invites consumer, community, and nonprofit groups to join a National Call on Rural Communities with the Bureau’s Office of Public Engagement and Community Liaison (formerly Office of Community Affairs) staff and national community leaders.
The conversation is a opportunity for the Bureau to hear about consumer finance issues affecting consumers in rural communities and share Bureau resources. The call is closed to the press, off the record. Please forward to colleagues.
Prosperity Indiana will be speaking up and we hope you will join us! Click here to RSVP!
https://www.prosperityindiana.org/Blog/6242798) and housing and community development proponents around the country, Congress rejected the Administration's effort to rescind $15 billion in previously approved federal funding. Those cuts included $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund, $40 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs.
These programs help ensure Hoosiers have access to safe, affordable housing and spur community development investments. While it passed the House on June 6, by a close vote of 210 - 206, the Senate voted down the measure by a vote of 48-50 on Wednesday. Senator Young (R-IN) voted to approve the measure and Senator Donnelly (D-IN) opposed it. To see how your Representative voted, click here.
Below is our action alert text addressing the impact this bill would have had on Prosperity Indiana' members and the Hoosiers served by them:
As a Prosperity Indiana member dedicated to expanding affordable housing access and strengthening our communities, I urge you to oppose harmful rescissions contained in H.R. 3, the Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act. Contrary to the bill's title, the legislation would rescind significant resources needed to improve living conditions for low-income Hoosiers and increase investment in distressed communities.
Specifically, H.R. 3 would rescind $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Public Housing Capital Fund Program, $40 million from U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs.
The Public Housing Capital Fund enables Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) to maintain safe, sanitary living conditions for residents. These resources are used for roof repairs, maintaining heating and air conditioning systems, and removing hazards such as lead paint. Unfortunately, appropriations have not kept pace with the urgent need. A 2010 HUD study estimated the backlog on deferred maintenance on public housing was $26 billion, and was expected to grow by $3.4 billion per year. That would put the current backlog at more than $50 billion. Unobligated resources in this fund do not reflect a surplus. To the contrary, these funds are unobligated because PHAs often do not receive enough in one year's allocation to make larger repairs and have to save their annual funding for several years before signing contracts which lengthens the process. Cutting these resources only serves to further jeopardize the health and safety of public housing residents across our state.
USDA's Rental Assistance Program is critical to community stability, providing funding to help low-income households in rural areas access housing stability through public-private partnerships with landlords. Without these funds, many families would be homeless. Short-term funding via continuing resolutions made it difficult to renew contracts and the funds targeted in this bill were intended to ensure there are no shortfalls in fulfilling those existing obligations that would be harmful to housing providers and low-income Hoosiers alike.
Proposed rescissions also include $151 million from the Capital Magnet Fund, resources that were only made available on May 1 of this year, and $22 million from the Bank Enterprise Award Program. These programs attract private capital to support organizations that increase the availability and affordability of housing and improve access to financial services in divested communities.
When you consider that thirty-one percent of households in Indiana are renters and nearly half are cost-burdened already, it is clear we simply cannot afford to cut programs that provide critical housing assistance and incentivize investments in low-income communities. I urge you to oppose this measure.
On June 18, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) released The State of the Nation’s Housing 2018. This is the 30th anniversary of the annual report which tracks trends in the national housing market.
While the full report is linked here, we have included key findings related to housing affordability, housing cost burden, and homeownership that are critical to Prosperity Indiana’s members.
The report underlines why our advocacy for strong housing and community development policies and robust funding is so critical. Want to get more involved? Contact our Policy Director, Kathleen Lara at email@example.com.
JCHS' State of the Nation's Housing 2018:
INDIANAPOLIS – Popular opinion is that Indiana has a low cost of living, but it is clear that is simply not the case for low-wage workers across the Hoosier state, according to a national report released today. In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in Indiana, renters need to earn $15.56 per hour. The report, Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing, was jointly released by Prosperity Indiana and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), a research and advocacy organization dedicated solely to achieving affordable and decent homes for the lowest income people.
Every year, Out of Reach reports on the Housing Wage (the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a modest and safe rental home without spending more than 30% of his or her income on housing costs) for all states, counties, metropolitan areas, and ZIP codes in the country. The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford a home at Fair Market Rent.
“Increasingly, data shows that even working full-time, thousands of Hoosiers cannot meet basic housing costs,” said Jessica Love, Prosperity Indiana’s Executive Director. ”The average renter wage is insufficient to afford a two-bedroom apartment in 84 of Indiana’s 92 counties. We also know that 86 households are being evicted every day in Indiana, which is further evidence that the needs are critical. It is clear we need common-sense solutions to address these challenges and support investments in affordable housing development and preservation.”
Working at the minimum wage of $7.25 in Indiana, a worker must have 1.7 full-time jobs or work 69 hours per week to afford a modest one-bedroom apartment; or have 2.1 full-time jobs or work 86 hours per week to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
“The housing crisis has reached historic heights, most negatively impacting the lowest income renters,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition. “The struggle to afford modest rental homes is not limited to minimum wage workers; seven out of 10 of the jobs projected for the greatest growth over the next decade have wages lower that the one-bedroom Housing Wage. Too often, a low wage worker must choose between paying for rent, healthcare, childcare, and other basic necessities. Congress must invest in expanding housing solutions that provide stable homes for the lowest income people in our country.”
For additional information, visit: http://nlihc.org/oor/indiana.