“For 10,631 Hoosiers, Gov. Mike Pence is about to become a cross between Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch. Thanks to Pence, these financially struggling Hoosiers will soon lose their health insurance. Letters from the state’s Family and Social Services Administration will arrive in coming days to let them know that they will no longer be covered under the Healthy Indiana Plan after Dec. 31.”
“Indiana’s cautiousness about expanding Medicaid is nothing new. Indiana was one of the last nine states to implement Medicaid, after it was created in 1965. And when Indiana did join the joint state-federal health care program for the poor in 1970, it went with the minimum option.”
“Whether hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers will be able to get health insurance through Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act might hinge on whether the federal government approves a state plan that requires them to pay some of the cost of their health care.”
“They have decided to reject expansion of Medicaid under the law also known as Obamacare, an expansion that could help as many as 475,000 low-income, uninsured Hoosiers get health care, The Courier-Journal's Laura Ungar reported Sunday.”
“The need for economic assistance in Madison County is great. Observe the following tell-tale statistics.”
“More students across the state and in Howard County are living in low-income households and schools are finding ways to accommodate those students.”
“Part of Indiana's welfare website has been offline for two weeks, preventing clients from accessing the status of their cases for food stamps and other benefits.”
“The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, allows millions of additional low-income people to be enrolled in the state and federal governments’ Medicaid program. Some states have signed up tens of thousands of people in the past few weeks, according to the Wall Street Journal.”
“Families using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps, will see a reduction in their benefits when a recession-era boost expires Friday.”
“A pair of reports released last week highlighted different angles of the continuing troubles faced by Indiana's working poor and raised questions about who ends up paying for their safety net.”
“There are so many ways to look at Brown County. You can marvel at the golden colors as the leaves turn this time of the year. You can admire the high median household income and high rates of educational attainment enjoyed by the citizens of Brown County. Or, you can zero in on the low wages paid workers in the county.”
“Hoosiers are more likely to lack health insurance than Americans in general, according to a pair of reports issued last week by the U.S. Census Bureau.”
“Hoosier families continue to struggle as Indiana saw large declines in income in the last 12 years, new data released last week by the United States Census Bureau showed.”
“You’re never too young to learn about the level of hunger in Delaware County. Especially since you’re never too young to experience it, according to recent studies.”
“In the war over the Affordable Care Act, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence won a policy victory when the Obama administration gave him a temporary pass to continue with the Healthy Indiana Plan, a high-deductible health insurance program that covers only 37,000 low-income Hoosiers.”
“This month, Indianapolis joined San Antonio, Portland, Ore., and numerous other cities in curbing aggressive begging.”
“The federal government will allow Indiana to operate its own health program temporarily, Gov. Mike Pence (R) said Tuesday, making it the first state to receive such a major exception this year under President Obama’s signature health-care law.”
“The federal government has given conditional approval to Indiana to extend its state-run Healthy Indiana Plan [HIP] that provides health insurance coverage for about 37,000 low-income Hoosiers while officials continue to wrestle over what to do with the hundreds of thousands of state residents who remain uninsured.”
“LifeSpring Inc., the Jeffersonville-based behavioral health provider, has been awarded a $225,000 federal Housing and Urban Development grant to help convert its transitional housing program into permanent housing for the homeless.”
“Many Hoosiers are living with low income or below the poverty level and Huntington is no exception. A report released by the Indiana Institute for Working Families found that more than 1 million Hoosiers are living in poverty and 2.24 million Hoosiers are living below 200 percent of the poverty level. According to the report, 200 percent of the poverty level is generally required to be self-sufficient.”
“The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority has released the statewide findings from the 2013 Point-in-Time Homeless Count. Conducted every January, the count is a snap shot of homelessness in the state on a particular night.”
“But now, because of the Ohio River Bridges Project, the homeless encampments at exit 0 have been pushed farther north, and outreach efforts are searching for a new location where they can provide the homeless with daily necessities. It’s one of the many issues homeless advocates, project managers and elected officials are facing as they try to address the impact of the bridge project on homelessness.”
“The number of homeless veterans in northeast Indiana has tripled from a year ago, according to recent data from the United Way of Allen County and the Fort Wayne Area Planning Council on Homelessness.”
“Over the years since Bowen left office in 1981, the spectrum of Medicaid benefits for adults in Indiana has eroded. Those benefits now rank among the worst in the nation.”
“Data released this week paint a grim picture of poverty in the U.S., with four out of five adults facing unemployment, near-poverty or reliance on government assistance sometime during their lives.”
“Homelessness in Southern Indiana is real, but it is different from homelessness in Louisville. How? Very simply put, money.”
“Homelessness in Southern Indiana is real, but it is different from homelessness in Louisville. How? Very simply put, money.”
“Construction has begun, and the final legal challenge to the Ohio River Bridges Project has been swept aside, but Kentucky and Indiana still need to resolve how to lessen the sting of bridge tolls on the area’s low-income and minority residents. The federal government requires such a plan, and the states are weighing a number of options that include waiving tolls for buses and allowing low-income commuters to buy only a few trips at a time.”
“Around the same time state leaders were boasting that Indiana was closing its June books with $1.9 billion in reserves, a report from the Indiana Institute for Working Families was released showing poverty in Indiana is sharply increasing.”
“Of greater concern, according to the "The Status of Working Families in Indiana, 2012," is that poverty is rising because wages in the post-recession economy are significantly less than they were before it began in 2007. Among the report's findings are that in the last decade poverty in Indiana has increased at a faster rate than in all but five states. From 2000 through 2011, the poverty rate has increased by 58.7 percent.”
“While the State of Indiana is enjoying a surplus of funds, many of the state’s working families are having a tougher time making ends meet, according to a new report issued by an anti-poverty advocacy organization.”
“Homelessness in Southern Indiana is real, but it is different from homelessness in Louisville. How? Very simply put: money. It is easy to point fingers and say the folks in Jeffersonville are not as enlightened as Louisvillians. After all for 30 years Louisville has had a Coalition for the Homeless. Also, Louisville has several million dollars to address homelessness because it is an entitlement community. It is much easier to address an issue when you have the resources to do so.”
“Even as unemployment rates gradually fell following the recession, poverty rates in most areas continued to climb. Indiana’s rate went from 17 percent in 2005 to 23 percent in 2011. Numbers for both Howard and Miami counties have held steady for the past three years — varying by only a percentage point in either direction. In 2011, 22.7 percent of Miami County children lived in poverty. In Howard County that number was 24.8 percent.”
“It is sad that the construction of a new Ohio River bridge is forcing homeless people to flee their makeshift encampments under a highway overpass in Jeffersonville. But it’s unconscionable that city officials, starting with Jeffersonville Mayor Mike Moore, have so little to offer such impoverished and desperate people living on the edges of their community.”
“Construction of a new bridge next to the Kennedy Bridge is forcing dozens of homeless people to flee their makeshift camps near Jeffersonville, Ind.”
“New data shows good news about Indiana children’s health but other areas still need improvement. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count Data Book for 2013, Indiana ranked 21st in child health, up 13 spots from last year.”
“In Kentucky and Indiana, poverty is worsening for children, according to the latest Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kids Count report, which serves as an annual update on the welfare of children, state by state. And with poverty come a host of poor outcomes for children — including educational attainment, living conditions, abuse, neglect, health and hunger. If you doubt the last item, please read the letter on this page about child hunger in Kentucky and the nation.”
“Gov. Mike Pence’s proposed expansion of health care for low-income Hoosiers through the Healthy Indiana Plan is a valuable experiment that will continue Indiana's trend as an innovator in government.”
“Senate Appropriations Chairman Luke Kenley said he and other GOP legislative leaders have 'lost confidence' in the accuracy of the federal school lunch program as an indicator of poverty. ‘There’s no accountability in the federal program,’ Kenley said.”
“MDwise, the only nonprofit Medicaid health plan headquartered in Indiana, and United Way of Greater Lafayette organized the event. The organizers targeted low-income mothers to make sure they have affordable access to health care and to provide basic information.”
“A bill that would have required some Indiana welfare recipients to face drug testing died late Friday after the Senate did not call it down for a vote.”
“Exact figures won’t be known until May, but projected 5 percent to 10 percent reductions to Title I funding for low-income students, special education, Head Start and other programs for the 2013-14 school year could threaten funding for nearly 300 teacher and staff positions and may require trimming programs, district officials said.”
“Families struggling with drug addiction and poverty could lose their welfare benefits under a bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday. Supporters of House Bill 1483 say drug-testing welfare recipients will help them, because no one would lose benefits if they successfully stay on a drug treatment program. The alternative, they argue, is a continuing dangerous lifestyle that drains family income and leaves their children vulnerable.”
“Indiana’s change was greatest among families earning below 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $39,060 for a family of three. Coverage fell from 53 percent of those households getting insurance through an employer to 32 percent, the largest drop in that income category in the nation.”
“Last week's vote by the Senate Education and Career Development Committee to approve an early childhood education pilot program - but without the funding included when the House passed the bill 93-6 - could mean that an estimated 1,000 low-income Hoosier children will miss out on a vital start to their schooling.”
“Meleski said the county's highest specific ranking this year came in ‘clinical care,’ where the county was ranked 12th in the state. The lowest ranking - 81 out of 92 - came from socioeconomic factors related to health, which include high school graduation rates and some college education, unemployment, children in poverty or single-parent households, violent crime rates and inadequate social support, according to the release.”
“A legislative committee approved a proposal to require drug testing for some Indiana welfare recipients despite complaints that it would be unfair to the state’s neediest residents.”
“As Indiana and other states decide whether to participate in the Affordable Care Act's expansion of Medicaid, they remind us that federal-state partnerships can compromise the effectiveness of national benefit programs. Local control may respect differences in community values, but it also prevents fair access to essential government services.”
“If you're poor in Indiana and receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the Indiana Legislature is no friend. Republicans in the General Assembly are continuing to wage war on the poor in a new bill that would require people receiving TANF to submit to drug tests, or risk losing their benefits.”
“IDA provides for a state-federal grant of three times the sum a person deposits in his or her own bank account from earned income every year for four years. The maximums are a $400 deposit and $1,200 match per year. The money must go to education, opening a business, or buying or rehabbing a home.”
“Indiana welfare recipients could face drug testing and loss of benefits if they fail to stick to treatment in a bill now headed to the Indiana Senate.”
“Wishard-Eskenazi Health and Community Health Network announced today that they will form a partnership that will provide low-income patients with greater access to care.”
“The measure would fund a two-year pilot program to measure the effect of preschool experience. Initially, the bill would earmark $7 million for each year to send about 1,000 low-income children to approved preschool programs.”
“The Hoosier Lottery's new private operator, GTECH Corp., has promised not to target low-income neighborhoods as it tries to dramatically boost state lottery revenues, but a similar commitment in neighboring Illinois didn't stop the company from replacing scores of retailers in low-income areas that closed or stopped selling lottery tickets.”
“That's not stopping them, however, from organizing a Poverty Awareness Year, a series of community meetings together with regularly scheduled social service activities - such as the Second Harvest of East Central Indiana fresh food distributions - in hopes that someone new will discover poverty as a serious problem in the community.”
“One in five children living in Indiana - more than 300,000 - are living in poverty. This is higher than the national average of 18 percent, and it's expected to get worse if Hoosiers continue to ignore to this problem, according to Michael Patchner, chairman of the Indiana Commission on Childhood Poverty.”
“Low-income Wayne County residents age 60 and older who qualify can receive a free monthly box of supplemental food by pre-registering at one of two sessions this coming week. The Richmond Senior Community Center, in partnership with Gleaners Community Food Program, RSVP and the Area 9 In-Home & Community Services Agency, is starting this month to offer the Community Supplemental Food Program that serves low-income seniors.”
“It's not that we don't understand poverty. In the past decade, Hoosiers experienced the second-largest decrease in median household income in the nation, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families. A good number of us don't earn enough money to be self-sufficient. To be more specific, about 1 million Hoosiers, including more than 150,000 families with children, live at or below the federal poverty line. But Smiley's message, more than anything, is about rewriting the narrative of how we think about, talk about and ultimately set about reducing poverty.”
“Hunger and poverty are common among Connersville Senior High School's 1,200 students -- most of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch. But an initiative by Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana hopes to alleviate that. The high school in Fayette County, a high-poverty area about 70 miles east of Indianapolis, is the center of a new effort to distribute food to students and their immediate families.”
“The moratorium is one of several measures and programs aimed at helping people who cannot afford to heat their homes during the winter. Along with the federally-funded Energy Assistance Program, Indiana Michigan Power funds its own relief program. And the city of Fort Wayne offers loans up to $5,000 to help low-income people make furnace repairs.”
“So far, discussions about a potential expansion have focused almost exclusively on the existing Healthy Indiana Plan, a state-sponsored program for low-income adults that combines high deductibles and a health savings account to which enrollees must contribute 2 percent to 5 percent of their income. Experts say the federal government is likely to take issue with certain aspects of the plan, including its cap on enrollment and benefits that are less robust than traditional Medicaid.”
“Low-income Fort Wayne residents may qualify for loans up to $5,000 to help with winter heating expenses, Mayor Tom Henry said. The city's Winter Heating Program provides five-year loans up to $5,000 at low interest rates for households at 80 percent or less of the area median income.”
“At the Indiana Institute for Working Families - a nonprofit and nonpartisan policy institute - we are increasingly concerned about the growing number of Hoosiers in poverty. Our work centers on data-driven research to promote policies that help Hoosiers achieve and maintain economic self-sufficiency - the ability to care for their families without government support.”
“More than 80 percent of voucher recipients qualify for free and reduced-price lunches, a common measure of poverty. About half of the students are minorities, including 20 percent who are black and 19 percent Hispanic. Two-thirds live in urban areas, where many of Indiana's worst-performing public schools are located. In only the second year of the voucher program, more than 9,300 students have been given the freedom to attend schools of their choice. Indiana's is the fast-growing voucher system in the nation. But is it constitutional?”
“An additional $28.8 million was directed to the Indiana Energy Assistance program from a multi-state settlement Attorney General Greg Zoeller entered into with the nation's five largest banks over their foreclosure abuses and mortgage-servicing practices. About $4 million a year will be made available for heating assistance from this settlement.”
“Veterans are typically at a higher risk for homelessness, unemployment, divorce as well as mental health services, yet thousands don't receive the care they need when they return from duty. Whether it's pride or a lack of knowledge about what's available, social service advocates aren't sure what makes veterans more vulnerable. But new programs in the area focusing on housing and education hope to prevent veterans from falling through the cracks and into homelessness.”
“According to a May 2012 report from the Central Indiana Community Foundation, poverty has increased 67 percent in Hamilton County, and many households are struggling to meet rent or mortgage payments and to keep food on their tables. A recent U.S. Census report shows that about 4.5 percent of the county's residents are living below the poverty line. This is the fourth service project for Katz, Sapper & Miller, but the first build.”
“Pence's plan highlights this simple approach to reducing poverty. ‘Graduate from high school,’ he noted, ‘work full time or go to college and wait until you're married before having a child.’ If a child lives with married parents in Indiana, the likelihood of poverty is reduced by 85 percent.”
“Just upstream, a pipe capable of dumping raw sewage into the creek jutted out from the bank. James' fishing method illustrates a problem. Despite warnings posted along creeks and rivers, many people don't fully understand the risks of coming into contact with the water in the streams that run through their neighborhoods. Particularly vulnerable are children -- especially those in impoverished parts of the city.”
“Union County's low-income health clinic will reopen Oct. 4, after the Union County Council agreed Thursday to transfer money to cover malpractice insurance for the staff. The health department will receive a one-time grant from the Indiana Department of Health that will pay for malpractice insurance, but it will be six to eight weeks before those funds arrive, health department secretary Diann Timberman said.”
“The city uses a competitive application process to make a portion of its Community Development Block Grant money available to nonprofit groups in the form of public service grants; Community Development Block Grant regulations cap the amount available for nonprofits. This year's grant recipients will provide literacy and financial education to families, provide ‘real work’ experience and career counseling to ex-offenders and help the homeless find jobs and housing.”
"Timeliness of decisions across all programs has gone from 75 percent to 93 percent. For TANF, or cash welfare, timeliness has almost doubled. The backlog of pending cases has been slashed by two-thirds. Error rates for food stamps have been cut in half, from 6.6 percent to 3.3 percent. Indiana is now above national averages in all important performance measurements. And all this has happened while demand on the system exploded, from 695,000 to more than 1.3 million applicants."
"That percentage of black students who used a district-approved waiver is not only high, it is disproportionate even when compared with other demographic groups educators identify as at-risk. For example, one in seven Indiana students who receive free and reduced-price school meals -- a standard measure of poverty -- received waivers. For Hispanic students, it also was one in seven."
"The court ruling last week gave states the option of going along with a Medicaid expansion that would cover families with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty level, an amount equivalent to $14,856 annually for an individual or $30,657 for a family of four."
"Indiana has an estimated 3,600 homeless veterans, said Debra Des Vignes, an HVAF spokeswoman. Nationally, there are an estimated 200,000 homeless veterans. Some veterans are overcoming addictions to drugs or alcohol and are being served by HVAF's Residential, Employment, Substance Abuse Treatment program, Des Vignes said."
"Yet a new report shows that funding across the country by states has declined over the past two years — to the tune of about $90 million — even though enrollment has increased. What’s more, a number of states don’t even fund early pre-K programs."
"The truth is, being homeless can happen to just about anybody. Young or old. Black or white. Military vet or draft dodger. Lazy or hard-working. People with entire wardrobes of brand-name clothes or people with only the dirty jeans and jackets on their backs."
"Indianapolis Public School 46 is a success story, a lauded example of how a school whose students come from poverty can excel with help from a community partner. Just last week, Kroger announced that the grocery chain would again commit $100,000 in cash and volunteers this year to the school it adopted 27 years ago."
"Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels said Democratic “extremism” promotes a “pro-poverty policy” by hindering U.S. energy development, blocking the Keystone XL pipeline and backing costly environmental regulations."
"New District 201 Superintendent Jeff Dosier said Wednesday that one of his top priorities is to close the achievement gap between white and black students. Dosier said a recent slip in the district's state report card scores are in part because of a gap between the achievement levels of its black and white students."
"That check is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a complicated name for tax relief for working families. Congress enacted a federal EITC in 1975, and Illinois enacted a state version in 2000. On Jan. 10 I signed a bill to put more money in the pockets of working families by doubling Illinois' EITC from 5 percent of the federal credit to 10 percent, saving low-income workers an extra $105 million a year."
"For example, for a family of four, the income range would be $33,500 to $67,000. Those at the higher end of the range would need to demonstrate special needs, such as medical bills, United Way officials said. Families whose income falls below 150 percent of the poverty level typically qualify for assistance under state programs, Kinney said."
"'People ask me what am I doing here,' she said, recalling responses when others learn that she's in transitional housing. 'They say, You don't look like the type of person that's supposed to be here. But I say to them ... you can't put a face on homelessness, and you can't look at me and say because you think I look like a better person that I'm not homeless, because I am.'"
"Police and social service agencies will work together to get downtown Indianapolis' homeless population off the streets during Super Bowl activities but there will be no forced relocation, authorities said."
"Senior citizens in Preble County, Ohio, and in five Indiana counties received holiday gifts of food and other items through the Preble County Council on Aging and the Richmond-based Area 9 In-Home and Community Services Agency."
"Among the few areas with slight improvements were children in poverty and cardiovascular deaths. This year, 25.2 percent of children lived in poverty, 43rd in the country, down from 26.3 percent. Cardiovascular deaths, at 291 per 100,000 residents, were down from 300.5, but the 38th ranking remained the same."
"As more people hear the message of the Occupy movements each day, institutions, politicians and journalists have begun examining poverty and income inequality specifically in the Monroe County area."
"Bloomington has the third highest poverty rate in the nation according to U.S. Census data that ranked all cities with populations greater than 65,000. That number however is largely inflated by the city’s student population, which is nearly half of the city’s population."
"Real median household income in the United States declined. The national poverty rate increased to 15.1 percent -- that's 46.2 million people, seven times the population of the state of Indiana. And 16.2 percent of Hoosiers live in poverty."
"The truth, she said, is that kids of poverty face huge problems at home and at school. And, unfortunately, their schools tend to not have the resources to level the playing field for them."
"'We have people who want to tell people poverty doesn't exist,' declared Eugene White, superintendent of Indianapolis Public Schools. 'These are people who woke up on third base and thought they hit a triple.'"