CHIP — “Q&A with Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, CHIP’s new executive director”

Indianapolis Business Journal, December 7 2018

Chelsea Haring-Cozzi knows, through a close relative’s experience, how important a safety net can be in keeping people from becoming homeless.

Haring-Cozzi, 42, the new executive director of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, also has both a doctorate in public policy and college teaching experience—not the average background for a not-for-profit executive.

Her first day on the job was Nov. 26, and she took some time that day to talk with IBJ about how her professional background and personal experiences shape her views on homelessness.

What does the average person misunderstand about homelessness?

I think there’s a misperception that people choose to live this way or maybe aren’t struggling in the way that we know that they are. Not to make it very personal, but … my brother struggled with ad

What did you learn from academia that is useful in your current job?

The lens I bring to the nonprofit world is really understanding the impact of systems on the structure of opportunity in our communities, and kind of the distribution of power and resources. … It really does take a collaboration of people from different sectors to understand our role in what we see happening, whether it’s around homelessness or criminal justice reform.

What one thing would most improve the homelessness problem?

I think there are a lot of people and organizations in this community doing some really good work. But I think sometimes we do it in a kind of fragmented way. … And to have that more unified approach in our city, that would better leverage voice and resources.

Is there any piece of the puzzle that is either a weak link or not really present?

I think I would like to see more of the business community get involved in helping us find creative ways of addressing what we see happening around homelessness that puts the individual first and really understands the struggles of those experiencing homelessness. There’s been a lot of focus on what’s happening downtown, and the downtown Mile Square, and I would love to see those business organizations come sit at the table and problem-solve alongside us so that we can make sure that Indianapolis is a community that everyone can enjoy.

I think that’s starting to happen, but I would really like to see the business community get more engagedor homelessness is not being in touch with family.

Yeah. A lot of homeless people have employment. They have jobs. We have a lot of people in our community that are experiencing homelessness because they have a criminal history and can’t find a place to rent to them—or have family living in a place that, if they come there, they would get evicted because of very restrictive policies around criminal history. … And that becomes a policy issue—part of the way we’ve set up our system. What kind of barriers have we put in place that have actually contributed to the problem?

 

Categories: Newsmakers

Tags:

Post Your Thoughts

Related Posts
CHIP — Mobilization to defend the homeless in Indianapolis

CHIP — Mobilization to defend the homeless in Indianapolis

An Indianapolis Star article cites a Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention representative, who states that the city doesn’t have enough shelter space. Most shelters are only open in the evening, and day shelters like Horizon House, close their doors hours before overnight shelters open. Moreover, many shelters restrict the basic rights of the homeless to sleep with their partners and families, subject the homeless to religious doctrines, refuse service to many disabled people and enforce lifestyle regulations.

CHIP — Councilor’s panhandling reduction plan irks homeless advocates

CHIP — Councilor’s panhandling reduction plan irks homeless advocates

Caleb Sutton, interim executive director at the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) Interim Executive Director, said he is opposed to the plan as it’s currently written. 

He released a statement saying in part: “Currently, our City does not have the capacity to house individuals experiencing homelessness during the day, given the fact most shelters only open in the evening.”

CHIP — “Indy homelessness plan unveiled; panel opposes ‘no sit, no lie’ idea”

CHIP — “Indy homelessness plan unveiled; panel opposes ‘no sit, no lie’ idea”

Up to $250,000 would go toward permanent housing solutions — serving an estimated 500 people each year, according to the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, also known by its acronym CHIP — as well as direct services for homeless people downtown.