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LUM Tax Assistance Program Starts Soon


Volunteers Are A Vital Part of LUM Tax Program

The LUM Tax Assistance Program will start on Saturday, February 2. Volunteers are an integral part of the LUM Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program also known as VITA. LUM would not be able to offer this service without the skilled, trained volunteers who make this vital LUM program such a success each year. Special thanks to ALL of the volunteers assisting with the LUM Tax Assistance Program this year.

Did you know?

  • At LUM, taxpayers get one-on-one help from IRS-certified volunteers who prepare their taxes for them at no charge
  • If your household earned less than $66,000 in 2018, you may file your taxes online for FREE

For more information on the LUM Tax Assistance Program or how YOU can volunteer, click HERE or call 765.423.2691.

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Minimum Wage in Indiana

Set the Standard – Don’t Just Comply

By Rob Krasa, LUM intern

As discussed in our previous newsletter, the effects of income inequality are felt just as hard here in Indiana as they are across the country.  One big step to take to help close this income gap would consist of a raise in our minimum wage. While opinions regarding such an increase are certainly mixed, the results of such increases across the country have been largely positive, and have not had the sweeping negative impact on local businesses and economies that some may fear.  The history of the minimum wage here in Indiana reveals that a significant increase is long overdue, and studies done regarding numerous increases across the country show that workforce numbers and employment rates would not take the hit that one may expect. In short, it is time for Indiana to buck the past trends, raise the minimum wage, and take a major step toward fighting back against the inequality in income that affects our communities. 

It is important to note that fighting to raise the minimum wage on a state or even local level is a much more approachable method than doing so on a national level.  Although the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) entitles workers nationally to a minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, those working in states which have established a higher minimum wage – as 19 states plus the District of Columbia have done – are entitled to the higher state-based minimum wage.  Though it is the true that many of these places have done so in response to a higher general cost of living, that is not necessarily the case.  Three of the four states which border Indiana – Ohio, Michigan, and Illinois – all have established a minimum wage higher than the federal standard, and a vast majority of communities in those states carry a similar cost of living as Hoosiers experience.  Being that state standards which surpass federal standards are recognized as the default when it comes to labor practices, fighting for the increase here at home where it means the most to us is the logical step to take. 

Additionally, it has come time to change course in relation to Indiana’s history in terms of setting a fair minimum wage.  The minimum wage here in Indiana actually lagged behind the federal minimum all the way until 2000, when at that time the statewide minimum was raised to match the then-federal minimum of $5.15 an hour.  From that point on, the statewide minimum has matched the federal minimum as it has increased to $7.25 an hour, with the last increase having come in 2009.  This, all while income inequality has steadily increased since the recession in 2008, and while those same three neighboring states previously mentioned have passed a collective total of sixteen increases to their minimum wage to remain consistently ahead of the national standard during that same timeframe.  Our neighbors have seen the value and importance of staying ahead of the curve when it comes to staging the fight against income equality, and it’s come time for Hoosiers to join the fight as well. 

It would also be remiss to forget that the $7.25 an hour which was settled upon as the federal (and accordingly state) minimum in 2009 doesn’t even carry the same meager value that it did just that short decade ago.  When accounting for inflation, an item costing $7.25 in 2009 would cost $8.52 today, a cumulative rate of in inflation of 17.5%.  Another way to look at this inflation which has gone unaccounted for: even a full one-dollar increase in the minimum wage would not give a worker making minimum wage the same ability to make ends meet as they had ten years ago.  While some may make the argument that “people just need to go get better jobs,” it is the same income inequality and disparity in educational and skill-building opportunities that this inadequate minimum wage perpetuates that acts as the main set of barriers to these workers doing exactly that.  Without a change in policy, people working at these wages to make ends meet will never have a fair opportunity to improve their situation. 

It is clear that a raise in minimum wage is long overdue, especially here in Indiana.  The all-too-common argument in opposition to such an increase – that raising minimum wage would harm local economies and business owners – is not necessarily the result we would experience by doing so.  A collection of 10 U.S. cities, seven states, and many smaller communities are in the process of raising their minimum wage to between $12-$15 per hour. Studies and reports of the effects of these increases are showing no detrimental effect on the labor market – meaning employers are still thriving and able to maintain and pay staff through the increases – and that real earnings for workers are, of course, significantly increasing.  This has led to less turnover, higher employee productivity, and in turn, an overall reduction in expenses for employers.  To broaden the view, another study took into account 137 different state-level minimum wage increases since 1979 and found similarly that workforce numbers and employment rates remained constant and were effective in increasing meaningful earnings for the affected employees. 

Fighting income inequality is up to us here and now.  It is not a far away problem experienced by others, it is something we all feel the effects of every day here in our community and across the state and country.  Raising our minimum wage is a meaningful, achievable, and effective means of contributing to this fight. It’s time for Indiana to set the standard, not begrudgingly comply to dated and ineffective policy, and become an example of what it means to do what is right. 


  1. United States Department of Labor, https://webapps.dol.gov/elaws/elg/minwage.htm#Relation
  2. United States Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/america.htm#stateDetails
  3. United States Department of Labor, https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/stateMinWageHis.htm

New Year’s Resolution – Leave a Legacy


Consider a Legacy Gift to LUM This Year

What better goal for this NEW year than to create your own personal legacy by continuing your support of the mission of Lafayette Urban Ministry.



Giving to Lafayette Urban Ministry is a win-win Estate Planning strategy for you (the donor) and LUM. In addition to the altruistic benefits, your charitable gift to Lafayette Urban Ministry brings tax relief — and also allows you to make a larger gift to LUM than you could make from your income alone. Whether you use appreciated securities/stock, real estate, artwork, partnership interests, personal property, life insurance, a retirement plan or cash, the benefits of Estate Planned Gifts can make this type of donation attractive to you as a well as LUM.

We hope you would consider a legacy gift that would support Lafayette Urban Ministry in your plans. Meet with your professional advisor to learn how informed estate planning can increase the overall value of your estate with a gift of tax-burdened assets (like IRAs, 401(k), or savings bonds) to Lafayette Urban Ministry. Once you’re ready, let us know. Joe Micon, LUM executive director, is eager to meet with you to help you leave a legacy and fulfill your giving goals of supporting LUM. Simply email or call Joe Micon to begin the process (jmicon@lumserve.org | 765-423-2691).


More information on giving to LUM may be found HERE.


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Annual LUM Staff Appreciation Lunch



Last week, the dedicated staff members of Lafayette Urban Ministry gathered at The Bryant Food & Drink Co. (West Lafayette) for the annual LUM staff appreciation lunch to celebrate the wonderful accomplishment of 2018, another great year.


Pictured L to R: Marlena Edmondson, Marilyn Zerbes, Louis Sausa, Kristi Hogue, Derrick Williams-Bacon, Joe Micon, Joshua Prokopy, Pablo Malavenda, Susan Brouillette, David Heckert, Gayle Koning, Linda Hicks, Eileen Weiss, Angela Weaver & Connie Decker.

You’re Invited – “Flip the Switch” Ceremony


LUM Goes Solar – Monday, January 14 at 4 p.m.

The LUM Solar Energy Project is completed and the switch will be flipped to solar energy Monday, January 14, at a special ceremony.

Please join us at the “Flip the Switch” Ceremony and witness this historic milestone for LUM. Here are the details:
  • Date: Monday, January 14 | Time: 4 p.m.
  • Location: LUM Office, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette
Not only will you see the new steel roof, solar panels, utility boxes and online energy monitor but you will also meet our donors, grant providers, and contractors.
Light refreshments will be served. No RSVP is necessary.
MORE INFO…

In late December, the solar panels were installed on the new steel roof on the LUM Office building — completing the final stage of the LUM Solar Energy Project. The installation was done by the team at Jefferson Electric of Indianapolis (pictured below).

In addition to the environmental benefits of going solar, the saving will potentially be $6,618 per year. This total includes the savings from the reduction in energy needed as well as revenue from trading Solar Renewable Energy Credits. This money will be re-invested in LUM programs & services in support of local families.


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Position Opening — Shelter Security Staff — Paid, P/T


Security Staff Position – LUM Emergency Shelter


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LUM has immediate opening for Security Staff at the LUM Emergency Shelter. Please review the information below — and share with others. Applications will be reviewed as received.

Type: Part-time, paid; Pay: $15.00 per hour
Hours: Daily – 8 p.m. to midnight or midnight to 7 a.m.
Duties:

  • Maintains safety of guests, volunteers and premises, a team environment modeling mutual respect, and a professional and safe environment
  • Ensures compliance with Shelter Rules
  • Monitors arrival, departure, activity within shelter, activity outside within three blocks of the building
  • Disciplines guests who are non-compliant; refers guests to police when necessary
  • Submits written reports of daily activities and incidents

If interested—please Email, Mail or Drop-off a resume with cover letter to the LUM Shelter Director, David Heckert (dheckert@lumserve.org | 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette, IN 47901).

2019 – eNewsletter Archive


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2019 – LUM eNewsletters

January 17, 2019 – LUM “Flipped the Switch” to Solar Energy

January 10, 2019 – You’re Invited – “Flip the Switch Ceremony

January 3, 2019 – Income Tax Preparation Season is HERE


LUM in the News:

1/14/19 – WLFI – LUM “flips switch” on solar panels
12/8/18 – WLFI – LUM hosts Jubilee Christmas for families in need
12/6/18 – WLFI – LUM Jubilee Christmas Preview

Archive of eNewsletters & LUM in the News

LUM Solar Energy Project – Final Stages


Solar Panels Installed – “Flip the Switch” Scheduled


In late December, the solar panels were installed on the new steel roof on the LUM Office building — completing the final stage of the LUM Solar Energy Project. The installation was done by the team at Jefferson Electric of Indianapolis (pictured above).

In addition to the environmental benefits of going solar, the saving will potentially be $6,618 per year. This total includes the savings from the reduction in energy needed as well as revenue from trading Solar Renewable Energy Credits. This money will be re-invested in LUM programs & services in support of local families.

The “switch” will be “flipped” soon and you’re invited. Here are the Ceremony details:

  • Flip the Switch Ceremony – LUM Solar Energy Project
  • Monday, January 14 | 4 p.m. | LUM Office, 420 N 4th Street, Lafayette

Please join us for this historic LUM event. No RSVP necessary.


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Volunteers Needed – Income Tax Assistance


Volunteers Needed – LUM Income Tax Assistance Program

Make a difference in your community by becoming a LUM tax volunteer. Volunteers are needed from Saturday, February 2 through Thursday, April 4 for the LUM Tax Assistance Program.

No experience is necessary — and training is provided. You may even qualify for continuing education credits. There are a number of volunteer roles available — click HERE to see descriptions. For tax preparers, some accounting experience is desired. In all tax volunteer roles, individuals who are bilingual, multi-lingual, and have international experience are helpful. As a LUM tax assistance volunteer, you’ll join a program that’s helped millions of people file tax returns at no charge for more than 40 years.

LUM strengthens our community through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA, a nationwide IRS program, secures greater financial stability and economic opportunity for working families — and directly impacts OUR community. Your help will make a difference — and have a significant positive impact. If you are interested or need more information please click HERE or call or email Josh Prokopy (765-423-2691 | taxes@lumserve.org).

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Please share with others.

Income Tax Preparation Season is HERE


Josh Prokopy – LUM Tax Assistance Director

Josh J. Prokopy is the new program director for the LUM VITA tax assistance program. With LUM, Josh has served the past two years as the Turkey Trot 5K Run director.

Josh grew up in Conway, Massachusetts and now lives in West Lafayette with his wife, Linda, and their three children, Annabel, Margaret & David. Annabel & Margaret are both 14 years old and in 9th grade at West Lafayette Junior/Senior High School, and David (11) is in 6th grade at West Lafayette Intermediate School. They are members of Unitarian Universalist Church of Tippecanoe County. Josh earned a bachelor’s in independent concentration from University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Master’s in Sociology and Master’s in Social Work both from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Josh is active in his church.

Josh shares,“My priorities are to raise my family as best I can, to let loose children who care about the world and our future, to better understand the world around me, and to try and make a difference, at least in a small way, within my community.” He finds inspiration in his father, “who was extremely independent minded and hard working, and never cared a hoot for what anyone else thought of him. He lived his own life in his own way, but did so much to enrich the world around him.” Josh is excited about his role with LUM, and stated, “If we can do anything at all to give people a renewed sense of hope, than we’ve made a huge impact in their lives.”

Josh is an avid home-brewer of beer and has a 2nd degree black belt in Taekwondo. He enjoys being out in nature, and spending time with friends and family engaged in meaningful conversation, “preferably over a glass of excellent home-brewed beer.”

LUM is fortunate to have Josh Prokopy rejoin the LUM staff in this new role.