SECS Childcare Cover

Strengthening Essential Infrastructure: Supporting the Childcare System in Southeast Indianapolis

Southeast Community Services (SECS) recognizes that easily-accessible, licensed childcare is essential to both the short- and long-term success of families and communities. Seeking ways to support the expansion of high-quality affordable early learning/childcare opportunities in the Twin Aire neighborhood and the southeast side of Indianapolis more broadly, SECS commissioned the Indiana Community Action Poverty
Institute to explore barriers and opportunities using research literature, quantitative data, and direct engagement with parents, providers, and workers in the community. Our research yielded a rich array of options to strengthen this essential infrastructure.

DECEMBER 2023 | Download Report

Payday Lending: A Drain on Hoosier Families and Communities

This update on our 2019 report shows that payday lenders drain over $29 million in finance charges from Hoosier borrowers annually on loans that average $386. Effective January 2023, the maximum payday loan increased from $605 to $715, and lenders can charge rates as high as 391% Annual Percentage Rate (APR). As the report shows, Indiana saw a precipitous drop in loan volume during 2020, likely due to robust federal support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the expiration of important federal supports such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, additional unemployment insurance, and rental assistance, payday loan volumes are trending toward their pre-pandemic levels.

JUNE 2023 | Download Report

 Payday 2023 Report Cover

Overlooked & Undercounted
Struggling to Make Ends Meet in Indiana

Developing strategies to ensure Indiana households reach economic security requires data that defines how much is enough and which households are struggling. This report reveals the “overlooked and undercounted” of Indiana, describing which families are struggling to make ends meet. This analysis is based on the Self-Sufficiency Standard, a realistic, geographically specific, and family composition- specific measure of income adequacy, and thus a more accurate alternative to the official poverty measure. Over the last 23 years, calculation of the Self-Sufficiency Standard has documented the continuing increase in the real cost of living, illuminating the economic crunch experienced by so many families today.

February 2023 | Download Report

Educational Attainment Among Hoosier Adults

The vision for Next Level Jobs says it all: “Two million Hoosiers need additional training to compete in the 21st Century workforce, and there will be over 1 million job openings in Indiana due to retirements and the creation of new jobs by 2025.”

Employers need trained workers now.

Helping adults access and persist in post-secondary education and training has to be a bigger part of the solution. Two million Hoosier adults could benefit from additional training now, but they have real barriers to being successful. 

January 2023 | Download PDF

Educational Attainment Among Hoosier Adults
Advancing Prosperity in Rural Indiana

Advancing Prosperity in Rural Indiana:
Seven priorities for creating thriving rural places, businesses, and families

The rural and small-town way of life is worth fighting for. Hoosiers across rural Indiana deserve a state government that is committed to advancing shared prosperity in their communities. As the ravages of COVID-19 recede, these rural areas stand at a crossroads—they can suffer stagnation, decline, and the loss of people who make rural Indiana so special, or, with the right state laws and policies, they can become places that flourish, grow, and share prosperity broadly among the people who live there. We wrote this report to help state leaders choose the right path for rural Indiana.

June 2022 | Download Report 

Medical Debt in Indiana

This report discusses the health and social impacts of medical debt, explains how individuals become indebted, provides data about financially vulnerable Hoosiers and statewide trends, summarizes recent government and private action, and recommends policy solutions to address rising medical debt.

June 2022 | Download PDF

Medical Debt in Indiana
2022 Community Needs Assessment

2020 Statewide Community Needs Assessment

The following report, based on survey data from clients using Community Action Agencies’ services across the state as well as data available from the U.S. Census Bureau, gives life to the academic study of poverty. As part of this needs assessment, financially vulnerable Hoosiers were asked about many areas of life that research have shown to contribute to the causes and conditions of poverty.  Factors such as educational attainment, debt burden and access to financial services, employment, housing, transportations, health care, food insecurity, and many others. Neighbors and community members say, in their own words, factors that caused their current experience of poverty, what effect poverty has had on their lives, how the pandemic affected the and their families, and what they still need as they work through poverty in a system that is set up to keep some people on the bottom.

June 2022 | Download Report 

Financial Drain: Payday Lenders Extract Millions from Hoosier Communities

In 2002, the Indiana General Assembly granted payday lenders an exemption to our state's loansharking law, allowing them to charge up to 391% APR. Over the past five years, payday lenders have used that exemption to drain over $300 million in finance charges from Hoosiers, largely in low-income communities and communities of color.

September 2019 | Download ReportRead More

Status of Working Families 2018

The Status of Working Families in Indiana: 2018 Report

Indiana once was a leader in the Midwest in income, poverty, employment rates, and more. Now, with declining standard of living, it faces a choice: continue the low-road policies that brought us here, or focus on policies for working families that will restore broad-based economic prosperity.

August 2018 | Download ReportRead More

Wages, Wealth, & Poverty: Where Hoosier Women Stand & Ways Our State Can Close the Gaps

Hoosier women earn less, own less, and experience poverty more often than men. Suggested state policy solutions would address the gaps by giving women the tools to combat pay discrimination, resolving caregiver-worker tensions, improving equity in education, and giving Hoosier women a raise. 

DECEMBER 2017 | Download ReportRead More

Wages Wealth and Poverty Report
Jobs Pathway Report

Clearing the Jobs Pathway: Removing Non-Academic Barriers to Adult Student Completion

In order to reach the state’s workforce and economic goals, Indiana needs leadership to better align resources for adult students and to remove barriers that stand between them and post-secondary education and training programs.

JUNE 2017 | Download ReportRead More

Paid Family and Medical Leave: Policy Analysis and Recommendations for Indiana

This report describes the many benefits of paid family and medical leave for employees, their loved ones, businesses, and the economy and makes recommendations for state legislation that would maximize low-income, working families' ability to take leave.

DECEMBER 2016 | Download ReportRead More

Paid Family & Medical Leave Report
Self-Sufficiency Standard Report

The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Indiana 2016

This report presents and analyzes The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Indiana 2016. The measure calculates how much income a family must earn to meet basic needs, with the amount varying by family composition and where they live.

JANUARY 2016 |  Download the ReportRead More 

On the Road: Exploring Economic Security Pathways in Indiana

This report addresses the issue of economic security for Indiana households. The Self-Sufficiency Standard approach to economic security consists of three elements: securing the costs of daily basic needs, creating an emergency savings fund, and choosing the appropriate asset-building Economic Security Pathway(s).

JANUARY 2016 | Download the ReportRead More

On the Road Report