Homeward Indy

Steve Barnhart and Elliot Zans

Homeward Indy brings you the heart-felt stories of the people who work to end homelessness in Indianapolis. Conversations about who they are, how they got started, what keeps them going and what they have learned. From case managers and data experts to program managers and board members, this is the Indianapolis Continuum of Care- a body of organizations and individuals working to bring everyone in our city home. read less
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Episodes

Episode 33 - From Grief to Action: Justin Phillips and Breanna Baldwin on Overdose Lifeline and Harm Reduction
Jul 9 2024
Episode 33 - From Grief to Action: Justin Phillips and Breanna Baldwin on Overdose Lifeline and Harm Reduction
Imagine losing a loved one to addiction and channeling that grief into a mission to save lives. That's exactly what Justin Phillips did after the tragic overdose of her son, Aaron. In this poignant episode, we sit down with Justin, the CEO and founder of Overdose Lifeline, and Brienna Baldwin, the organization's Director of Harm Reduction. Justin's deeply personal journey led her to advocate for protective legislation that has saved countless lives, and to create a nonprofit dedicated to combating opioid addiction, and Bre's work in distributing naloxone and test strips across Indiana is a testament to their shared commitment to harm reduction.Harm reduction isn't just a buzzword; it's a vital public health strategy. Bre illuminates how this approach, including the use of naloxone, can be as routine as wearing a seatbelt. We tackle the misconceptions surrounding naloxone, emphasizing its life-saving role as opposed to the myth of being an enabler of drug use. Addiction, much like diabetes, requires emergency interventions, and naloxone's accessibility can be the difference between life and death. Bre provides a compelling argument for the necessity of harm reduction practices in keeping people alive and giving them a fighting chance at recovery.Our conversation also highlights the power of community engagement. Bre shares her experiences working with a network of grassroots distributors to ensure naloxone and test strips reach those in rural and underserved areas. From her public health graduate days to her current role, Bre's passion for harm reduction is profound. We also explore the importance of open dialogues about drug use among youth and the proactive steps parents and caregivers can take to foster awareness and caution. This episode not only sheds light on the opioid crisis but also offers actionable insights into how we can all play a part in saving lives.Website: https://www.overdoselifeline.org
Episode 32 - Breaking Chains: Raymond, Lin, and Jeannie on Transformative Re-entry Support with PACE
Jun 18 2024
Episode 32 - Breaking Chains: Raymond, Lin, and Jeannie on Transformative Re-entry Support with PACE
Featuring:Raymond Powell, Pre-Release ManagerMelinda “Lin” Adkisson, Peer Coach &Jeannie Reed, Peer Recovery Services ManagerEver wondered how much impact a second chance can have on someone's life? Hear firsthand from Raymond Powell, Lin Adkisson, and Jeannie Reed, three individuals who have taken the resources and support from PACE (Public Advocates for Community Reentry) and turned them into transformative life changes. Ray, once a client, now works as a program manager, while Lin has progressed from facing justice involvement to becoming a Peer Coach and Food Service Manager with PACE's guidance. Jeannie also came to PACE as a client, and was recruited by PACE as a diversion specialist, and later became the Peer Recovery Services Manager. Their compelling journeys highlight the critical importance of lived experiences and robust support systems.This episode places a spotlight on PACE’s multifaceted efforts to aid justice-involved individuals in reintegrating into society. Lin discusses the vital work she does and the necessity of building connections before release, while Raymond offers insights into his moral reclamation therapy program. Together, they paint a vivid picture of how PACE’s comprehensive services—such as emergency assistance, re-entry programming and resume-building workshops—work in tandem with community organizations to offer holistic support. We also delve into the organization's advocacy work, from influencing legislative policies to providing essential direct services under the leadership of CEO Rhiannon Edwards.Lastly, we tackle the misunderstandings around working with those who have had justice-involvement. We illustrate the dedication and potential of justice-involved individuals when given employment opportunities, breaking down common misconceptions and showcasing the positive impacts on both personal and professional fronts. Through personal stories and advocacy, this episode demonstrates how employers partnering with organizations like PACE can make a substantial difference, offering hope and tangible support to those working to rebuild their lives. Join us, and discover the powerful impact of community, healing, and second chances. Learn more, donate, or get involved at https://paceindy.org/
Episode 31 - Healing Connections: Jessica Evans and Amanda Sparks on Nurturing Survivor Recovery with Allies Mentorship
May 14 2024
Episode 31 - Healing Connections: Jessica Evans and Amanda Sparks on Nurturing Survivor Recovery with Allies Mentorship
When the path to healing intertwines with the power of human connection, remarkable transformations can occur. Jessica Evans and Amanda Sparks from Allies Inc. join us to share the heartening strides they're making in supporting survivors of human trafficking. Their organization's approach is unique in its commitment to long-term, voluntary mentorship, which fosters a sense of family and belonging that many of these young individuals have sorely missed. Our conversation highlights the importance of authentic relationships, and how Allies' innovative programs are helping survivors navigate the arduous journey toward recovery and self-discovery.As we dig deeper into the experiences of these young survivors, the complexities of human trafficking begin to unfold. The unsettling truth that exploitation often comes from within one's trusted circle is a focal point of our discussion with Jessica and Amanda. They take us through the challenges survivors face in breaking free from these manipulative bonds and the critical role therapy plays. Allies’ methodology highlights the dual imperative of the brain—survival and connection—and how this shapes the support structures necessary for genuine healing. This episode offers a candid exploration of the gray areas in recovery, emphasizing the need for a robust support network.We wrap up our time by celebrating the ripple effect created when one life is uplifted—how Allies' work not only aids survivors but also touches entire communities. Jessica's personal transition from educator to nonprofit leader brings a critical perspective on the impact of dedicated advocacy. Whether you're eager to understand more about this cause or you're considering stepping into a role of support, this discussion is a testament to the incredible difference that each one of us can make. Afterward, Elliot and Steve discuss how we understand human trafficking from a national data perspective, and some of the specific limitations of data in capturing the complex realities of human experiences with insights from philosopher C. Thi Nguyen’s article The  Limits of Data. Allies Website: https://www.allies-inc.org/
Episode 28 - Every Sacred Life: Sara Nowlin and Niki Wattson on Coordinating the 2024 Point-In-Time Count
Apr 5 2024
Episode 28 - Every Sacred Life: Sara Nowlin and Niki Wattson on Coordinating the 2024 Point-In-Time Count
Each year, communities across the nation coordinate an annual, snapshot survey of citizens experiencing homelessness on a specific night in January. The Point-In-Time Count, or “PIT” Count provides communities with some information about who is experiencing homelessness, and also a unique challenge in how to go about finding those people.We are joined by CHIP Program Manager Sara Nowlin, and Horizon House Outreach Manager and PBSPO (Professional Blended Street Outreach) Coordinator, Nikki Wattson. Together, in collaboration with people across the Continuum of Care, they coordinated the 2024 Indianapolis Count. This conversation cuts through the complexities of homelessness, revealing the meticulous orchestration behind this federally mandated count and the collaborative efforts required to make it happen.Nikki takes us through the winding roads of street outreach. She shares the profound impact of being the first friendly face for those on the fringes, the art of building trust with those in encampments and the critical role of community involvement. Through her insights, we paint a vivid picture of what it means to see the stories and souls behind the statistics.In a reflection that's both personal and profound, Sara discusses the relationship-building that was central to the organization of the PIT Count, and her own experiences in social services. This episode reiterates the need to center humanity in all aspects of our work and showcases the success of this approach.
Episode 26 - Uncovering Discrimination: The Fight for Fair Housing with Erika Fotsch and Brady Ripperger
Mar 5 2024
Episode 26 - Uncovering Discrimination: The Fight for Fair Housing with Erika Fotsch and Brady Ripperger
Have you ever felt the sting of injustice, that fleeting moment, or those arduous times where something doesn't seem right or fair? Meet Erika Fotsch and Brady Ripperger of the Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana, our esteemed guests who bring these subtle undercurrents of discrimination to the forefront. They provide us with a sobering look at how the fight for fair housing is far from over, despite the many strides we've made. From the challenges faced by those with disabilities to the nuanced 'discrimination with a smile,' this episode uncovers the ongoing battle for equality in the housing market, and the vital role of FHCCI's advocacy, testing, and community education in safeguarding our rights.  The episode provides a heartening glimpse into the future of fair housing advocacy, including a unique approach to fostering diversity and understanding in our children. We highlight an inspiring children's book project emphasizing the beauty of diverse communities, alongside critical reports on lending practices and the influence of out-of-state investors. Join us as we explore the intersection of housing, health, and longevity disparities, and how the passion and personal experiences of individuals like Erika and Brady are driving change towards a more inclusive society. Website:  https://www.fhcci.org/From their contact page:If you believe you may be a victim of housing discrimination or have questions about fair housing laws, contact:Fair Housing Center of Central IndianaPhone: 317-644-0673 Toll-Free: 855-270-7280 Relay: 711Email: info@fhcci.orgStreet Address: 445 N. Pennsylvania Street, Suite 811 Indianapolis, IN 46204Hours: By Appointment OnlyPlease note that due to our small staff and time required in and out of the office, we are unable to accept walk-ins. Fortunately, most matters can be handled by phone. If this is not possible, please call ahead to arrange an appointment. We do not have attorneys on staff so cannot provide legal advice. In addition, we do not receive funding to assist in issues applicable under Indiana Landlord/Tenant Law. No solicitations, please.
Episode 25 - The Compassion of Coroners: Chief Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew on Dignity and Service
Feb 15 2024
Episode 25 - The Compassion of Coroners: Chief Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew on Dignity and Service
Our latest episode welcomes Chief Deputy Coroner Alfie Ballew, whose empathic and dedicated approach to caring for Indianapolis decedents has changed the way we honor our dead. Alfie unravels the emotional and logistical tapestry of reconciling death with respect, sharing the Coroner's Office's collaboration with the He Knows Your Name Ministry to ensure no one in our community departs this world without recognition.Journey with us as we navigate the delicate process of relocating cremains, an endeavor that is as much about paperwork as it is about heart. Alfie and the team go to great lengths, employing social media and newspapers to reach out to families, providing them a final opportunity to claim their loved ones and offering closure. The poignant stories shared illustrates the profound impact this work has on the staff, fostering a culture of support and empathy as they balance the scales of grief and duty.As the conversation unfolds, we touch upon the broader societal canvas, examining homelessness, dignity in death, and the legislative support that propels the mission forward. Alfie's personal trajectory from a curious child to a compassionate chief deputy is a testament to the power of empathy in guiding a career. Together, we underscore the commitment of the Marion County Coroner's Office to honor every life, and the political will needed to expand our care full circle.https://www.indy.gov/agency/marion-county-coroners-officehttps://heknowsyourname.org/for-coroners/
Episode 24 - Care and Connection: Insights from Brightlane Learning's Karen Routt and Erin Haring-Switzer
Feb 2 2024
Episode 24 - Care and Connection: Insights from Brightlane Learning's Karen Routt and Erin Haring-Switzer
How often do we consider the quiet struggles of children who don't have a place to call home? This episode delivers an eye-opening conversation with Karen Routt and Erin Haring-Switzer of Brightlane Learning. Their dedication to serving the educational needs of Indianapolis's homeless youth shines through as they recount the organization's evolution from School on Wheels and its collaborative efforts with local shelters and schools. Their touching stories and the organization's unique approach to mentorship offer a sense of hope and stability for young learners amidst the chaos of housing insecurity.  Homeward Indy takes pride in highlighting individuals and organizations making a real difference, and this episode does just that. Karen and Erin guide us through the essential framework of volunteer tutoring, which stands as the backbone of Brightlane Learning. The commitment of volunteers spending time each week with students is nothing short of inspiring. We explore the behind-the-scenes orchestration, from Education Support Coordinators to the strategic oversight of an Education Director, that ensures these programs achieve their goals of providing high-quality academic assistance.  The conversation doesn't shy away from the complexities these students face beyond the classroom walls. We delve into the challenges posed by housing insecurity, and the critical role of early intervention, demystifying the McKinney-Vento law and its implications for our youth. Karen and Erin share the importance of stable relationships and community education, which can lead to profound changes in the trajectories of these children's lives. Listen in for an episode that not only sheds light on the unseen hardships but also celebrates the determination and strength of the very children we aim to uplift.  Brightlane Learning - Every child has the right to an educationProgram Wish List - Brightlane Learning
Episode 23 - Past, Present & Future: Lillian Herbers-Kelly on Horizon House & Beyond
Jan 16 2024
Episode 23 - Past, Present & Future: Lillian Herbers-Kelly on Horizon House & Beyond
Homeward Indy kicks off the new year with an insightful interview with Lillian Herbers-Kelly, the Director of Housing at Horizon House. As a longstanding and integral part of the Indianapolis Continuum of Care, Horizon House operates as a day shelter and service center for neighbors experiencing homelessness. Beyond that though, Horizon House also oversees a street outreach team, case management, and a permanent supportive housing program. Lillian and Steve discuss existing programs, as well as some exciting new services and programs in the works, and the complex process of getting access to housing. Find out what the future has in store for one of our most impactful service partners and learn how Lillian came into the work she does today.Horizon House Website to explore, donate or volunteer: Horizon House | Help Hope Home -Find links to information about upcoming housing legislation below (This is not an exhaustive list, please see IGA | Bills for 2024 Session (in.gov) for all bills:HB 1087: PROHIBITED DISCRIMINATION IN HOUSING (PACK R) Expands the Indiana fair housing statute to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person's: (1) source of income; (2) military active duty status; or (3) veteran status. Defines the terms "source of income", "active duty", and "veteran".HB 1195: RIGHT TO COUNSEL EVICTION TASK FORCE (SHACKLEFORD R) Establishes the access to counsel in eviction task force (task force) to review matters related to the eviction process and potential funding sources to increase a tenant's access to counsel in an eviction proceeding. Sets forth membership, and requires the task force to issue a report to the legislative council not later than November 15, 2024. Provides that the task force expires December 31, 2024.HB 1199: REPEAL OF ECONOMIC ENHANCEMENT DISTRICT LAW (MCGUIRE J) Repeals the chapter in the Indiana Code authorizing the legislative body of a first class city to establish a special assessment district known as an economic enhancement district.HB 1413: STATE AND LOCAL POLICIES ON HOMELESSNESS (DAVIS M) Cancels the appropriation in the 2023 budget bill for the state's housing first program and reallocates that appropriation to the Indiana housing and community development authority (authority) as follows: (1) Provides that state funds for homelessness must be used for: (A) parking areas; (B) camping facilities; (C) individual shelters; and (D) congregate shelters; and specifies conditions and requirements applicable to those facilities. This impacts housing first programs significantly. A good explainer of the issues is here.SB 111: ENFORCEMENT OF RESIDENTIAL LANDLORD OBLIGATIONS (TAYLOR G) Provides that in addition to, or instead of, bringing a court action to enforce a statutory obligation of a residential landlord, a tenant may enforce the obligation by doing the following: (1) Providing notice to the landlord, at least 30 days before the tenant's next regular rental payment is due…Note: One of the rent withholding bills this session. Indiana is one of only six states that does not allow tenants to withhold rent on significant habitability issues.SB 64: HOUSING MATTERS (FORD J) Requires, before November 1, 2024, the Indiana housing and community development authority (authority) to prescribe a statement of the rights of a residential tenant in Indiana. Specifies the contents of the statement. Requir
Episode 21 - Love and Advocacy Beyond Life with Linda Znachko of He Knows Your Name Ministry
Dec 4 2023
Episode 21 - Love and Advocacy Beyond Life with Linda Znachko of He Knows Your Name Ministry
Content Warning: Infant abandonment and death (non-graphic), death and after-death care, the process for unclaimed persons, and grief and loss processing. Please take care of yourself.As winter settles around us and the year draws to a close, please join us for a poignant and important discussion of what it means to advocate for our neighbors who have passed away without connection. In this episode, Steve speaks with Linda Znacho of the He Knows Your Name Ministry about her work to care for our community members after death. Linda has worked closely for many years with the Marion County Coroner’s office, first to name and lay to rest an abandoned infant, and more recently to ensure that the unclaimed remains of adults in Marion County are laid to rest with dignity in a timely manner. Linda also describes her journey into this work and her passion for implementing Safe Haven Baby Boxes for parents who cannot care for their babies to surrender them safely and legally into services to prevent tragic losses. Afterward, Elliot and Steve discuss the process of claiming cremains from the Coroner’s office and their thoughts on the conversation.www.heknowsyourname.orgThe Safe Haven Baby Box Crisis Line is (888) 742-2133JOIN US IN REMEMBERINGAnnual Homeless Persons’ Memorial ServiceThursday, December 21, 2023 | 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.Robert’s Park United Methodist Church (401 N Delaware St)To find more information, visit the event page.   To volunteer, visit HERE.
Episode 20 - Staying Focused: Dr. Chelsea Haring-Cozzi on Housing Solutions
Nov 18 2023
Episode 20 - Staying Focused: Dr. Chelsea Haring-Cozzi on Housing Solutions
We are thrilled to welcome Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, Executive Director of CHIP to feature in our 20th episode of Homeward Indy! Chelsea and Steve discuss the causes of homelessness, the importance of fostering a deep understanding of these causes in our communities, and the power of policy. This conversation provides critical insight into the long-term impacts of decisions made decades ago and the importance of decisions we make today. Tune in for a clearer picture of the systemic causes of homelessness and to learn what we all need to focus on to bring everyone home. Giving Tuesday: Street Reach IndyTo be a direct part of someone’s journey homeward, you can invest in your community by donating to Street Reach Indy, a flexible fund hosted by CHIP that provides financial assistance to individuals and families experiencing homelessness to overcome barriers to permanent housing. This is truly one of the most impactful ways you can help your neighbors come home.CHIP’s Giving Tuesday goal is to raise $10,000 to support the fund through 2024’s coldest months of the year and beyond. To give to the Giving Tuesday Street Reach Campaign, please visit www.ChipIndy.org/Donate on Tuesday, November 28, 2023 to access the Giving Tuesday Campaign. You can also tune into CHIP’s Social Media accounts to learn more. In the meantime…did you know?Street Reach Indy costs over $100,000 a year to fully fund If you, your business, or your employer is interested in becoming a Street Reach Indy Sponsor, please email Gabby Hoyt at ghoyt@chipindy.org Book Recommendation: Homelessness is a Housing Problem by Gregg ColburnYou can buy it from the site linked above, get it from your library, or buy it from one of Indy’s amazing local bookstores!
Episode 19 - Homeward Indy Halloween Special: NHSDC Haunted Housing & Health Partnerships Recorded in Philadelphia
Nov 2 2023
Episode 19 - Homeward Indy Halloween Special: NHSDC Haunted Housing & Health Partnerships Recorded in Philadelphia
Hello Homeward Indy Listeners, old and new! Join us from location in Philadelphia at the Fall 2023 National Human Sciences Data Consortium Conference! Steve and Elliot take the show on the road, make new friends, and host a spellcasting conversation about the ways housing and health (and health insurance!) partnerships are changing the landscape of homelessness services in multiple states. With two special guests, Shawn Baker, Senior Project manager for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Housing and Homeless Services division, and Kristopher Kuntz,  Program Director of Housing and Homeless Strategy with Anthem Blue Cross.  Tune in to hear about groundbreaking data matching projects, the challenges and rewards of cross sector partnerships, and the way Medicaid is changing funding landscapes and opportunities in the California social services. These topics are followed by an audience-driven Q & A for a fascinating look at some possible futures for the work we do to end homelessness. Special thanks to our episode Participants (Not necessarily in order of appearance):Mauree Van Deusen, Associate Director of Planning: CARES of NY, Inc, Schenectady, NYRebecca Moreno, Director of Housing & Supportive Services: Community Action Partnership of Kern (CAPK), Bakersfield CASarah Moore, Social Worker II, Maryland Services to End and Prevent Homelessness, Rockville MDMelissa Zhiss, Behavioral Health Licensed Clinician: Mecklenberg County Criminal Justice Services, Charlotte, NCIan Costello, Senior Program Manager, CSH, Los Angeles, CAElisabet Avalos, Access Point Lead: San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, San Francisco, CA
Episode 18 - "All Walks of Life”: A Conversation with Breanna Klink of Holy Family Shelter
Oct 17 2023
Episode 18 - "All Walks of Life”: A Conversation with Breanna Klink of Holy Family Shelter
In this compelling episode of Homeward Indy, we delve deep into the formidable challenges families face when grappling with homelessness. Our guest, Breanna Klink, the dedicated Program Director at Holy Family Shelter, shares her experiences and insights from aiding families from diverse backgrounds on their journey toward stable housing. At Holy Family Shelter, Breanna and her team assist families of all kinds, including many refugees and immigrants new to Indianapolis. Using an impactful translation service, Propio, the shelter goes above and beyond to bridge language barriers, ensuring every resident receives the support they need. Discover how Holy Family Shelter not only provides a haven but also a wide array of comprehensive services to both its residents and the broader community, including eviction prevention and housing problem-solving. Breanna also sheds light on a critical issue: the glaring lack of dedicated funding and housing projects tailored to serve families. This leaves them with distressingly limited options for shelter or stable housing, exposing a systemic challenge that demands our attention. Tune in as we explore the transformative work of Holy Family Shelter and gain a deeper understanding of the ways we can better support families facing homelessness.   Holy Family Website: https://www.archindy.org/cc/holyfamily/Translation Service:  https://propio-ls.com/