The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention held an open forum discussion, "The Cost of Doing Nothing: A Conversation on Poverty," on Sept. 12 Downtown at the NCAA Hall of Champions in conjunction with CHIP's annual fundraising celebration.
Sponsors, board members, and volunteers voiced concerns to a selected panel of experts on the growing homelessness epidemic sweeping Indianapolis.
Before the panel discussion began CHIP awarded distinguished serves within the organization: Warren A. "Tony" Rodgers received the Joe Fahy Caring for Our Neighbors Award for board service; Sue Reed the Diamond Service Award for advocacy and volunteerism; Cortney Ownes the Joe Fahy Fellowship.
Each member had a brief word with the crowd. Tony Warren kept his closing words simple and direct, "Support your community organizations, volunteer and everybody wins." While Sue Reed bathed the room in hope, herself formerly homeless. "I know I can't change the world, but maybe for one person I can change the world." A standing ovation followed the ceremony.
John Kezenberger, president of Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, moderated the panelists, keeping the flow and focus moving. Panelists included Andy Fraizer Executive Director of Indiana Association of Community Economic Development, Dr. Aaron Kalinowski, associate director at Horizon House and Midtown Health, Tara Seely, senior grants officer of Central Indiana Community Foundation, and Erika D. Smith metro columnist of The Indianapolis Star.
Throughout the panel each guest gave their viewpoints upon poverty and homelessness in Indianapolis. Andy Frazier along with the panel spoke on how poverty and homelessness itself cannot be simply 'fixed,' that in order to erode homelessness in Indianapolis the city must address all the pathways that lead to poverty and homelessness for a community.
"But at the end of the day, we are living in a microcosm, a local ecology if you will, and all those variables are interconnected. So recognizing homelessness and poverty in the midst of our neighborhoods, irrespective of where are you at is a set of challenges that have to be tackled. But there are also rich assets that exist in that community. Our homeless challenges are connected to our transportation challenges are connected to our environmental challenges in the community. At the end of the day, we can best find the collective impacts when we frankly can't stay in our lane and think about the ways we can bring the resources of others into solving some of the shared challenges of others."