PathStone holds its annual community partnership event

<p>Karen Hemberger presents her ALICE presentation at the annual PathStone community partnership event June 10. Hemberger was this year&#x27;s keynote speaker and spoke about ALICE employees, the people who need the most help paying for their housing. <strong>Maya Wilkins, Screenshot Capture</strong></p>

Karen Hemberger presents her ALICE presentation at the annual PathStone community partnership event June 10. Hemberger was this year's keynote speaker and spoke about ALICE employees, the people who need the most help paying for their housing. Maya Wilkins, Screenshot Capture

PathStone Corporation of Indiana held its annual community partnership event June 10 over Zoom, where the corporation gave awards to individuals and organizations in the community. Guests also heard from keynote speaker Karen Hemberger, vice president of the United Way of Madison County.

PathStone CEO Alex Castro opened the event by thanking the corporation’s partners and telling them how important their role is in PathStone’s mission to provide people with housing counseling.

“Without you, a lot of our work would not be possible and we believe that our relationships are really important, so I first just want to say thank you,” Castro said. 

He then told guests about what PathStone has done through the COVID-19 pandemic, how it has still worked to provide people with housing help and what they have done for their employees.

“We always understand that in order to provide good services for our folks and our partners, we first want to take care of our employees,” Castro said. “That’s what drove our COVID approach. We’re running experiments to see whether or not we can take some of the lessons that we learned from [the pandemic] and see whether we can create a remote workplace or not.”

Hemberger then gave her presentation about employees in Indiana who need the most help paying for their housing — ALICE employees.

ALICE stands for asset-limited, incomed-constrained, employed people. Hemberger said these people usually work low-wage jobs and have little to no savings, and are the ones deemed “essential workers.”

“They’re taking care of our children so that we can continue to work in our offices when necessary. They’re home health aides who are taking care of our chronically ill, disabled or aging loved ones,” Hemberger said. “ALICE [workers are] putting their own health in jeopardy to make sure that we all have what we need.”

Hemberger also said in May 2020, nearly 155,000 households included people considered ALICE employees, just as the pandemic was getting worse. She said she thinks this a “baseline” for the data to come once the pandemic is over.

“Based on the number of people recording layoffs, reduced work hours or job chages, we know that incomes have been affected and we would expect to see a higher ALICE population as a result of COVID-19,” Hemberger said.

After Hemberger’s speech, Annette Phillips, PathStone community development director, recognized a few of the corporation's partners for their help over the past year.

The first organization recognized was the Ball State Department of Urban Planninng. Three students from the Department of Urban Planning have worked with PathStone to create renter resources, a virtual fair housing event and a volunteer mental advocate program.

Phillips then recognized the Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County for their partnership with PathStone over the last several years. The Community Foundation helped educate the Muncie community about meth-contaminated housing through webinars, educational infographics and a feature documentary.

“We really feel privileged to have partnered with PathStone on this important work for our community, and we’re happy to continue into education and advocacy in this area,” said Marcy Minton, senior program officer at the Community Foundation.

The Delaware County Court was also recognized for the work its employees did with Ball State to prevent evictions in the area, even before the COVID-19 rental crisis began.

Brandon Lien, PathStone deputy of community development programs, presented regional and state partnership awards. The American Electric Power (AEP) Foundation received a regional award for helping with rental assistance early in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lien also presented Anderson Housing Inc. with a regional award for helping PathStone create a multifamily housing unit in Anderson, Indiana.

The state partnership award went to Indiana Legal Services Inc. for making sure a renter’s book Ball State Department of Urban Planning students created was legally correct and ready for the PathStone website.

Contact Maya Wilkins with comments at mrwilkins@bsu.edu or on Twitter @mayawilkinss.


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