The Indiana assets & Opportunity Network was created to increase asset acquisition for low-wealth hoosiers and strengthen local economies through policy advocacy and capacity building in partnership with organizations and coalitions.
A recent webinar hosted by the Asset Funders Network (AFN) entitled The Health and Wealth Connection: Opportunities for Investment Across the Life Course, explored several variables that when combined, create the social determinants of health. These variables are socioeconomic status, education, physical environment, employment, social support networks, and access to healthcare, which all factor into a community’s overall health. The webinar described this equation simply as “health happens where we live, learn, work, and play.”
Although health is commonly perceived to be confined within doctors’ offices and hospitals, the social determinants of health indicate that health happens everywhere. In fact, access to healthcare is the last step, and least critical, in determining the overall health of a community.
This month at the Indiana Statehouse, Assets & Opportunity Network partners helped spearhead the defeat of SB 245, a bill to authorize new, longer term predatory loans with high interest rates. The bill would have allowed a borrower to take out up to a $2,500 loan at 240 percent APR and repayment terms of 24 months. The bill was amended to a cap of 18 months, $1,750, and 216 percent APR. Nineteen opponents testified against the bill, representing credit counselors, former payday borrowers, non-profit organizations, religious leaders, a former payday loan company employee, veterans’ groups, and more. The bill was defeated in a 4-5 vote. Please help us thank Senators Bray, Melton, Mrvan, Ruckelshaus, and Walker for their key votes to help protect Indiana families.
On February 16th, hundreds of Indiana residents joined demonstrators across the country in a national strike and participated in a "Day Without Immigrants" in protest against President Trump's recent efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. Demonstrators opted to stay home from school, work, and even temporarily closed their businesses for the day in order to show unity with their friends, family members, coworkers, and employees who immigrated to the United States. By not participating in their regular routines, demonstrators hoped to show how immigrants directly contribute towards the lifestyles of American consumers through the goods they produce, services they provide, and jobs they create.
When Republicans decidedly won all three branches of our federal government on Election Day, many of us were left contemplating what will become of the progress we have made in the last eight years, and where our efforts should be applied going into the future. To east anxiety and begin strategizing, the Indiana Assets & Opportunity Network hosted a conference call on January 27th in order to discus the changing political landscape which may affect our collective mission to increase asset acquisition for low-wealth Hoosiers.
The Indiana General Assembly is back in action. Two bills that would expand access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received hearings in the Senate Committee on Family and Children’s Services on Monday, January 23rd. The first, SB 9, would eliminate the lifetime ineligibility of individuals who have served time for a felony drug conviction. It passed out of the committee 8-1.
The second bill, SB 154, would remove one of the two tests of eligibility for SNAP access – an asset test that requires households to have less than $2250 in countable resources to be eligible. Kathleen Lara, Policy Director of Prosperity Indiana, testified in support of the bill, noting that one of the unintended consequences of the asset test is that families receiving or considering receiving benefits might choose not to participate in mainstream financial products, like checking and savings accounts. Removal of the asset test in other states has resulted in increased bank account ownership among SNAP households and increases in average savings amounts in those accounts.