In just over a month, the LUM Tax Assistance Program has had a tremendous positive impact on our community. Some interesting statistics so far are as follows:
Total Income Tax Returns Filed – 206
Total Earned Income Credit – $105,749
Average Adjusted Gross Income – $21,823
Total Refund Amount – $362,503
LUM would not be able to offer this service without the skilled, trained volunteers who make this important LUM program such a success each year. At LUM, taxpayers get one-on-one help from IRS-certified volunteers who prepare their taxes at no charge. The 2018 LUM Tax Assistance Program is led by Josh Prokopy (pictured above).
The Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County (333 Meridian St., West Lafayette) will hold their annual Goodwill Clothing Drive on Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. It’s as easy as 1-2-3.
Clean out your closets
Bring your clothes to the Unitarian Universalist Church
Support Local Families through LUM
UU Church will receive a $5 voucher from Goodwill for each bag of clothing donated. These vouchers will be passed along to LUM to assist our neediest families. Let your spring cleaning be a Win-Win and help local children & families.
Would you, or someone you know, make a good LUM Camp Counselor? LUM Camp is a week-long, over-night camp program for low-income children from 8 to 10 years old. Volunteer camp counselors must be 18 years old, enjoy working with children and be able to spend the entire week at camp. Counselors are needed from 11 a.m. Monday, July 29 to 4 p.m. Friday, August 2. Make this the year you make a difference in the lives of local children. Please share with others who may be interested.
Make your reservation today for the 8th annual LUM Good Samaritan Fund Follies. The event is a lighthearted evening of fine dining, entertainment, fun & good company — filled with delightful surprises. The best part is that 100% of the proceeds from this event go to the LUM Good Samaritan Fund, an emergency financial assistance program that supports local families.
LUM Follies’ Details and Schedule are as follows:
Friday, May 3
St. Andrew United Methodist Church, 4703 N 50 W, West Lafayette, Indiana
A redistricting standards bill authored by Senator Greg Walker, Senator Randall Head, Senator Mike Bohacek (Senate Bill 105) , and co-authored by Senator John Ruckelshaus, passed through the Elections Committee on February 4 in a 5-2 vote, meaning it now will move to the Senate floor for consideration. In its current state, the bill would require legislative action at the state and federal levels to ensure that minority voices are represented and at the same time minimize divisions in areas which are likely to share common interests, including neighborhoods and school districts. Deviations from these standards would be required to be disclosed. While Senate Bill 105 establishes redistricting standards which is a good start, it does not specify how the commission is to be comprised. As the Indiana Institute apply points out, “Who is drawing the district maps is just as important as the standards by which the maps are drawn.” The Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting All in 4 Democracy which Campaign for Hoosier Families is a member, would prefer Senate Bill 91 and House bill 1011 (Senate and House companion) as vehicles for Redistricting Reform since they call for an independent commission to be appointed by the legislative leadership.
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
At last night’s meeting, the LUM Board of Directors honored and thanked the LUM Emergency Shelter staff members for “going above & beyond the call of duty” in their service to LUM shelter guests the first week in February during the “Polar Vortex.”
Lafayette Urban Ministry has a shelter protocol for severely cold and snowy weather. During the Polar Vortex, the LUM shelter staff members provided bus transportation from the local day shelter to the LUM Emergency Shelter and Winter Warming Station, opened the Winter Warming Station three hours early, and provided bus transportation back to the local day shelter in the morning — in addition to their regular nightly duties. The LUM Board of Directors acknowledged that their work is sincerely appreciated and is saving lives. Pictured above L to R: David Heckert, shelter director; Connie Kepner Davis, shelter staff member; Joan Low, LUM board president; and Joe Micon, LUM executive director.
The Campaign for Hoosier Familiesengages local, state, and federal officials on behalf of low income families and children in Indiana. Here are a few ways to “Stay Up to Date” with current Indiana legislation:
C4HF eNewsletter: click HERE to read this week’s edition, which covers legislation updates on redistricting reform, payday loan interest rates, minimum wage, TANF reform & food deserts. To view all C4HF eNewsletters, click HERE.
Several state senators have authored a bill which seeks to begin much-needed reform to the TANF program. As highlighted in our previous newsletter, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families provides much-needed temporary financial assistance benefits for families as well as individuals which find themselves in dire financial situations. It is intended to ensure some sense of stability for those in such situations, but as we discussed, has been in need of reform for quite some time.
Senate Bill 440 aims to expand the eligibility requirements for receiving such benefits – based on the family’s income in relation to the federal poverty level. The bill would gradually increase the maximum allowable income to qualify for benefits under TANF up to 50% of the federal poverty level by July of 2021. The new threshold would be an increase of 17% providing access to benefits for many more Hoosiers in need. In addition, the bill aims to increase the payments made under the TANF program for most qualifying individuals and families, and would require these benefit amounts to continue to be monitored and adjusted according to increases in the Social Security cost of living adjustment. New payments would range from $248 monthly for most qualifying individuals and $409 monthly for families.
While the new payment amounts are not nearly enough to provide stability for qualifying people on their own, this is an encouraging move in response to awareness efforts by advocates such as yourselves to make the need for reform known. Expanding eligibility requirements is also a positive move forward for reforming this program and addressing the needs of those most impacted. To track the progress of this bill, as well as all bills moving forward in the 2019 session related to topics covered in the Campaign for Hoosier Families newsletter, see our Legislation Tracker (click HERE).
House Bill 1143 (http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1143#digest-heading), authored byRepresentative Robin Shackleford and co-authored by Representative Steven Davisson, Edward Clere, and Vanessa Summers seeks to combat the prevalence of food deserts in the state, establishing both a healthy food financing fund and a healthy food financing program under the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). The new fund will act to provide financing, in the form of loans and grants, for projects that will help increase the availability of fresh food in underserved communities. This is an important step in ensuring the health of Hoosiers across Indiana.
The bill has not moved since it was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means in the Indiana House of Representatives on January 7th. While the bill has yet to be heard by committee, its presence in the state’s legislative agenda illustrates legislators is encouraging since it signals that legislators are aware of food security problems within the state. This map of Indianapolis illustrates the prevalence of food deserts,indicated by purple block groups, in Indianapolis. This map is courtesy of Savi, one of the nation’s first and largest community information systems.
by Eli Heindricks, Purdue Political Science student
Representative Carey Hamilton recently authored House Bill 1098, a bill to cap the interest rates on payday loans. The cap on payday loans interest rates will make it so families are able to pay off the loans without having to worry about astronomical interest rates. (See the article above titled “Targeting Low Income Families & Children” for more information about the threat posed by the predatory lenders and Representative Hamilton’s bill.)
State Representative Carey Hamilton has done tremendous things during her time in office. Representative Carey Hamilton currently serves as the Democratic whip in the Indiana House of Representatives and represents Indiana House District 87 in Northeast Indiana. Representative Hamilton serves as the ranking minority member of the Financial Institutions Committee as well as serving on the Environmental Affairs and Ways and Means Committees.
Representative Hamilton has quite the impressive background before she was even elected into the Indiana House of Representatives in 2016. For nine years, Representative Hamilton served as the executive director of the Indiana Recycling Coalition. Furthermore, she worked as a nonprofit executive for over 20 years.
On behalf of the Campaign for Hoosier Families, we would like to thank Representative Hamilton for all she has done to push back against unscrupulous payday lenders. We will continue to follow and support House Bill 1098.
by Angela Weaver, Klinker-Alting Family Advocacy intern