Equal Access for Faith-Based
|Left to right: Ken Brucks, HUD's Region V Faith-Based Coordinator; Ann Helmke, Executive Director of Ft.Wayne Vincent House; Bob Spraggins, HUD Indianapolis Office of Housing; John Hall, Indianapolis Field Office Director; Teresa Jeter-Newburn, Indianapolis Faith-Based Coordinator and Robert Poffenberger, Director of HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development in Indianapolis.|
Ensuring equal access to HUD's programs and resources for Indiana faith-based and grassroots organizations was the goal of the December 4th Indianapolis HUD office faith-based workshop. More than 48 participants representing churches, pastors, prison ministries, HIV/AIDS ministries, community development associations, housing developers, and community leaders, learned about HUD's resources.
John Hall, the new Indianapolis field office director, gave opening remarks following a welcome from Teresa Jeter-Newburn, Indianapolis HUD office faith-based coordinator. Kenneth Brucks, regional HUD faith-based coordinator from Chicago, informed attendees about the President's Faith-based initiative and also encouraged them to continue their good work in Indiana communities. Program supervisors and representatives provided an overview of HUD's programs and resources, and how to establish and run a 501 c 3 organization. Workshop participants were given the opportunity to ask questions. Fifty percent of the participants stated they had no knowledge about any of HUD's programs prior to attending the workshop. Additional faith-based workshops slated for March and July 2003 will bring together federal, state, and local agencies that have programs targeting faith-based and grassroots organizations.
Ann Helmke, executive director of Fort Wayne Vincent House, a non-profit faith-based organization, discussed the successes and challenges of providing housing in a continuum of care strategy. Founded in 1989, Vincent House operates a shelter house for up to nine families, plus Vincent Village, which includes 27 independent homes for low-income working families making the transition from homelessness to their own residences. Vincent House has served more than 375 homeless families and remains the only transitional shelter in Fort Wayne committed to keeping homeless families together.
For many of the participants, the conference was their first opportunity ever to hear about HUD's programs, directly. One participant echoed the sentiments of the group, when he said, "Thank you for bringing us here today and sharing information with us because we are oftentimes the first to help in a community and the last to hear about resources that can assist us in meeting the needs of our community."
Additional faith-based workshops slated for March and July 2003 will bring together federal, state, and local agencies that have programs targeting faith-based and grassroots organizations.