Connecting hearts, minds, and hands to meet needs in our community
Payday Loan Limits Continue to Elude Those Who Fight On Behalf of Indiana's Poorest Borrowers
Our thanks to all who signed the letter last month to Indiana legislators asking for a 36% limit on payday loans. Know that your involvement helps this meaningful cause. Here's the outcome: While Chairman Carbaugh acknowledged receipt of our statement, he ruled it was not relevant at this time and nothing was accomplished on behalf of those of us hoping to curtail onerous practices that prey on the poor.
As you will remember, back in July, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau essentially gutted the 2017 Payday Rule that would have required lenders to verify a borrower’s ability to repay a loan before issuing it. The agency issued a final rule without ability-to-repay requirements. This makes it even more imperative for state and federal lawmakers to put a rate cap in place. One must ask: Just who is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau protecting? Not our poorest borrowers.
Jobs for Life Leaders Ready: UNITE INDY Poised to Train Reentrants and Supply Jobs
Volunteer SecondChanceIndy Ambassadors Bob Dillingham, left, and Phillip Moore completed Jobs for Life Core Training and UNITE INDY is now certified to train reentrants on the job skills they will need to successfully gain and keep employment upon their release.
Bob and Phillip will hold a full day training session for other volunteers in November to be fully prepared to take JfL training into Central Indiana-based correctional facilities as soon as COVID closure restrictions are lifted. In the meantime, we hope to train groups of recently-released reentrants. We believe that the combination of Jobs For Life, a Biblically-based job preparation course, and, UNITE INDY's website that connects reentrants with employers willing to offer a second chance, have the potential to dramatically improve the recidivism rate in Indiana as they advance the successful reintegration of justice involved individuals back into the family structure. We foresee benefits that over time will bring down poverty levels and improve neighborhoods.
IMPD's Diversity Think Tank About to Deliver
For the last year and a half UNITE INDY's Jim Cotterill, has served on the IMPD Diversity Think Tank, a group formed to assist the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in developing a plan that we hope will lead to the formation of a permanent IMPD Diversity and Inclusion Council.
Last week Captain John Walton, pictured, who lead these efforts, previewed a presentation that has since been shared with Chief Randall Taylor. It's important to note that these efforts by IMPD were proactive, and not a reaction to the recent demonstrations that have taken place throughout the country. We are proud to be a part of this positive collaborative effort.
Need Help With Housing? Food? Healthcare? Hundreds of Links Available for All
Erik Davenport, Re-Engagement Center Director of Boys and Girls Club of Indianapolis, pictured upper left, brings a collaborative group together weekly to harness the available resources in our city. He then spreads the word into our community by meeting with local folks in parks, neighborhood centers, and other settings. UNITE INDY is involved because of the work we’re doing with reentrants who are returning to our community from incarceration. Our website,, not only connects reentrants with employers willing to offer a second chance, it also offers links to hundreds of other resources that anyone can use, like help to find housing, food, healthcare, crisis services, finances, job preparation, addiction recovery, identification, mental health, transportation, and more.
Politics & The Culture of Contempt
In the midst of a deepening political divide that destroys friendships and breaks up families, I recently came upon a book that might help us bridge that great chasm between the right and left.
One has to find it interesting that according to polls, people on both sides of the political debate feel that they are motivated by love, while the other side is motivated by hate. However, the good news is that 93 percent of Americans abhor how divided we have become. If you’ve had enough of the name calling, here’s a three point plan to make peace with those who disagree with your political ideas. (Hey, it’s only 41 days until Thanksgiving, when you will have to deal with Aunt Martha!) Check out Nancy's blog!
MCRC Works on Homelessness in Latest Zoom Meeting
The Marion County Reentry Coalition of which UNITE INDY is a part, is working hard to analyze and support the entire reentry population. Last week's Zoom meeting dealt with the surge in the numbers of those who are homeless, many of whom are reentrants, partially due to the large number of COVID-19 early releases from our county jails. Members of MCRC said that at least some of the people who are sleeping when you walk by them on the Circle are there charging their ankle bracelets--which can take two hours. It can be challenging to understand the difficulties faced by those released from jail with little notice and without help or direction. Every bit of understanding helps.
Why Support UNITE INDY?
Unite Indy works to connect government, business and charitable organizations to curb poverty, racism, and hopelessness in our city.

Poverty & Unemployment:
After UNITE INDY published a treatise on the 20+% unemployment rate in our poorest neighborhoods, the connection between extremely high unemployment and the high concentration of those who were formerly incarcerated became crystal clear. Reentrants were often virtually unemployable, causing stress in the family while being an additional mouth to feed in what already may be a financially unstable home. The critical mass of justice involved individuals in some urban neighborhoods had produced an economic challenge for every family in the area. 

The answer was to find jobs for these folks. We personally contacted employers who were willing to offer jobs to those who had been incarcerated. This was no small endeavor, considering that employers would have to allow time for visits to parole offices, deal with ankle bracelet controls, and often the necessity to help with transportation to and from work. was born--an online site just for those who have been incarcerated. The site provides a list of jobs, information on pay rates, skill requirements, location, benefits and more. Featured are hundreds of links to help with licensing, housing, food, health, and so much more.

Developed by Jim Cotterill, UNITE INDY's co-founder, works in tandem with a group of Unite Indy volunteers who teach a program called Jobs For Life to those who are soon to be released. Jobs For Life is a Biblically-based training curriculum that teaches an understanding of the worth of every individual, the importance of work, the attitudes and motivation necessary to gain and hold a job, as well as the most practical of experiences, including resume preparation, mock interviews, and direction from visiting business leaders.

Together, Jobs for Life and are changing the face of our poorest urban neighborhoods.

Support of Ministries and Charities:
Since 2017 UNITE INDY has provided a free web-based system at that connects churches, their time or gifts of money or needed items. UNITE INDY also provides the manpower necessary to assist smaller organizations--that have no one to upload needed items--the help they require to access this service. Through this portal, UNITE INDY has brought thousands of dollars worth of needed goods into the hands of those who assist the poor.

Serving the Servants:
UNITE INDY comes behind urban pastors and ministry leaders by addressing personal and professional needs with free services for those who work tirelessly in their neighborhoods to care for the needy and bereft.

Remember, almost 1 out of every 3 children in Indianapolis lives below the poverty level, yet even in the aftermath of the shut down, as our economy comes back to life and employment is returning, all this good news stops at the lines surrounding many of our inner city neighborhoods. In some neighborhoods of Marion County unemployment still exceeds 20%. and poverty remains the overwhelming divider of people.

Please send a check today to UNITE INDY, 241 W. 38th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46208. Or donate via credit card by clicking Here. It is secure and safe. By sending your fully tax deductible gift* now we can have a greater impact meeting needs in our community in 2021.

Many, many thanks!

*UNITE INDY, Inc. is approved under Internal Revenue Code (IRC) Section 501(c)(3) as a Public Charity, donors can deduct contributions they make under IRC Section 170.
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