April 20, 2021
Can we end homelessness in Indianapolis?: We may be getting closer
Community leaders announce plans to build 96 more permanent housing solutions as part of a comprehensive plan to end and prevent homelessness
by Shari Finnell, editor/writer, Charitable Advisors

In 2018, the Indianapolis Continuum of Care (CoC) — a coalition of private and private organizations — set an ambitious goal to end homelessness in the city by 2023. They launched the Indianapolis Community Plan to End Homelessness, a five-year plan that provided comprehensive solutions to the complex challenges faced by individuals and families who experience homelessness.

As stated by Indianapolis CoC at the time, the goal was that by 2023, “any individual or family in Indianapolis who becomes homeless will spend no more than 30 days without a permanent, safe, affordable place to live.”

Now that the Indianapolis CoC is beyond the halfway mark of the plan, it appears that the coalition could be on track through a combination of new housing units, existing housing and supportive services funded by unexpected grants tied to COVID-19 pandemic relief.

Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness Prevention and Intervention. a partner of the Indianapolis CoC, recently expressed optimism that homeless rates in Indianapolis could continue to hold steady in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, giving the coalition the ability to reach its vision. In 2020, 1,588 people in Indianapolis were counted as homeless, up slightly from 1,567 in 2019 but down from 1,682 in 2018; 1,783 in 2017; 1,619 in 2016 and 1,666 in 2015. The counts of homeless individuals typically are captured during a single night in January each year. That pattern goes against trends being seen nationwide, where homeless rates have been steadily rising for four consecutive years, even before the COVID-19 pandemic.

With challenges caused by COVID-19, including massive job losses, the count, called a community-point-in-time headcount, was conducted over a four-day period in 2021. Those official numbers have yet to be officially released but the coalition has been actively combating the risks of homelessness through a continuum of care, Haring-Cozzi said.

In addition to more dollars being allocated for temporary rental assistance, the team has been helping people avoid homelessness through rapid rehousing, Haring-Cozzi said. “We have increased our investment in rapid rehousing through a significant strategic effort,” she said. As part of that effort, individuals and families have been placed in non-congregant sheltering, including hotel sites, until permanent housing has been secured.

Other factors also may have diminished the risks of homelessness, Haring-Cozzi added. “We’re hopeful eviction moratoriums have curbed the impact of the loss of housing and the loss of income, along with people getting rental assistance,” she said.

The additional resources resulting from COVID-19 relief also could support the coalition’s long-term vision. “We’re hopeful,” said Haring-Cozzi, who noted increased COVID-19 funding could provide a silver lining to their plan. “We’ve operated as a homeless system with a scarcity model. There has never been enough resources, but we’re now finding ourselves with an abundance through CARE (Act) funding, and other resources that can make a significant impact."

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Professionals working or volunteering for nonprofits share how they gained new insights through alternative law program
by Rebecca Trimpe, writer/editor, IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Many professionals working and volunteering in not-for-profit organizations find it invaluable to gain knowledge of the law and how it intersects with their entity’s efforts. You don’t need a law degree to gain that skill set. Leaders at many Central Indiana nonprofits, who are graduates of or current students in the Master of Jurisprudence (M.J.) program at IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law, shared their insights into how the program has helped them in their positions.

Aura Day, who is on track to graduate in May 2021, volunteers through Families First on the crisis and suicide prevention hotline as a crisis intervention specialist. Day said she is gratified by the immediate impact the organization has on people’s lives.

“Everyone needs support and assistance during different points in their lifetime and being able to support others is not only self-rewarding but it inspires others in many ways,” Day said. “Some people need to hear it’s OK to accept assistance. I believe we aren’t supposed to do life solo. It’s really a way we can start seeing how a small gesture grows into a making a huge impact to our neighbors.” Day said the flexibility of the M.J. program held a lot of appeal because she was able to tailor the coursework to align with her specific interests and to choose from day, evening, or a combination of class times to fit into her schedule.

Arun Murali serves as President of the Board of Directors for Lawrence Township School Foundation and is on the Board of Directors for the Ronald McDonald House of Central Indiana. The 2017 M.J. graduate was drawn to IU McKinney from a desire to learn more about the legal processes that affected his business and to potentially position himself for future board member roles. Murali is passionate about not-for-profits that help people in need and in particular ones that focus on children’s needs. “I think this is an important time for non-profits in the history of the world,” Murali said. “I believe when most people hear ‘non-profit,’ they hear ‘please donate money.’ And while that is an important part of the dynamic there is so much more to it, like organizational leadership, financial management, marketing, volunteering, and more.”

Eddie Rivers, a 2017 M.J. graduate, has worked as a guardian ad litem for more than 20 years and has served many child advocacy organizations. Rivers currently is the chief development officer at Kid’s Voice of Indiana, after serving as its chief executive officer for 15 years. While he already had the skill set needed to work at the organization, Rivers wanted to understand law so that he could better manage the team of lawyers he supervised. “I ran a law firm with only managerial skills and a big heart,” Rivers said. The M.J. program allowed him to focus his coursework on child and family law so he could better understand what the lawyers he worked with were up against in their work at Kids’ Voice.

Indianapolis Cultural Trail Inc. has hired Autumn Monaghan as communications and special project coordinator. Monaghan previously served as academic services coordinator at IUPUI.
Aspire Indiana Health has named Demetrius Dillard as director of information systems and technology. Dillard has years of experience in IT systems for healthcare.
Christel House International has hired Morty Ballen as senior vice president of academics, a new position for the organization. Ballen previously was the program director for the Global Schools Forum and the founder and CEO of Explore Schools in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art has hired Sue Springirth as vice president of administration and chief financial officer. Springirth previously was CFO for The Center for the Performing Arts and Great American Songbook Foundation. — Inside Indiana Business
Damar Services has promoted Kemberly Dailey-Johnson to vice president of quality and compliance initiatives. Dailey-Johnson most recently served as director of performance and quality improvement for the organization. — Inside Indiana Business 
The Villages of Indiana has hired Shannon Schumacher as chief executive officer and president. Schumacher previously served as vice president of strategy, innovation and clinical services at Volunteers of America Ohio & Indiana. — Inside Indiana Business 
Hamilton County Community Foundation has awarded grants totaling $98,500 to eight nonprofits who align with the foundation’s community leadership initiatives: mental health, family and youth empowerment, and inclusive economic growth. See recipients

The Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation has awarded Conexus Indiana a $350,000 grant to train and place Marion County residents in advanced manufacturing jobs. The funding will support Catapult Indiana, a Conexus program that offers a 160-hour advanced manufacturing training program. Read

The U.S. Small Business Administration has opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant application portal for operators of venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theaters trying to remain viable. Learn

Council District Crime Prevention Grants Program, a new program administered by The Indianapolis Foundation, will support new or existing projects, services, and programs that show potential to reduce crime in Marion County. Apply

Foster Success announced plans to launch a new college readiness program in Lake County. The Fostering Higher Education Program is designed to guide young people in foster care as they transition from high school into college.

The Indiana Bar Foundation has launched an effort to bring mock trial programs to more Indiana high schools. The mock trial diversity initiative is designed to eliminate financial barriers for schools to participate and provide them with legal advisors and mentors. Read

Recently hired or promoted a team member at your Central Indiana nonprofit? Announce it in the weekly Not-for-profit News.
FIRST Indiana Robotics is seeking pitch competition judges on May 12 at 4 p.m. for its first pitch competition. High school robotics students will give 5-minute pitches for their business ideas. Judges will then choose the top 3 entries. The virtual event requires a 5-hour volunteer commitment. Chris Osborne cosborne@indianafirst.org or (317) 748-6427.
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To view all jobs, visit the Not-for-profit News jobs' board.

President & CEO - Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis

Executive Director - Care Net Pregnancy Centers of Central Indiana


Community Engagement Coordinator - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

Stewardship Manager - United Way of Central Indiana

Director of Development - Gennesaret Free Clinic, Inc.

Corporate & Community Relations Officer - Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Inc.

Indiana Associate Director of Development - The Nature Conservancy in Indiana

Digital Fundraising Manager - Children’s Organ Transplant Association

Advancement Director - Covenant Christian High School

Grants Officer - Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

Community Impact Officer - Kiwanis International

Gift Proposal Writer/Editor - Purdue Research Foundation


House Manager; Hospital Family Room(s) - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Indiana

Assistant Director - Children's Bureau, Inc.

Administrative Assistant – Village of Merici Inc.

Director of Operations - Kids’ Voice of Indiana

Executive Assistant - AYS, Inc.

Clinic Operations Manager - FACE Low-Cost Animal Clinic

Key Club Manager - Kiwanis International

Warehouse Manager - Midwest Food Bank


Graphic Designer - Indiana Repertory Theatre

Director of Communications - Christ Church Cathedral


Senior Accountant - Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity

Controller - Kids’ Voice of Indiana

Staff Accountant 1 - Children's Bureau, Inc.


Senior Research Analyst - United Way of Central Indiana

Information Technology

Information Technology and Data Specialist - National Panhellenic Conference


HIV Prevention Specialist - Damien Center

Housing Case Manager - Damien Center

Referral Specialist - Damien Center

GAL/CASA Program Contract Attorney - Kids’ Voice of Indiana

Site Coordinator, 21st Century Community Learning Center - Martin Luther King Community Center

Assistant Coordinator, Best Buy Teen Tech Center - Martin Luther King Community Center

Career Coach – Indianapolis Urban League

Urban Family Engagement Coach - Indianapolis Urban League

Employment Specialist - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

Fair Housing Specialist - Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana (FHCCI)

Community Leadership Officer - Economic Mobility - Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF)

Youth Program Associate - Exodus Refugee Immigration

Social Worker - Indianapolis Public Library


Maintenance Technician - HVAF of Indiana, Inc.


Teacher-Mentor - Elevate Indy