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United Way focuses on early childhood education, mental health, housing in 2023 session

The eastern exterior of the Indiana Statehouse in winter.
Lauren Chapman
/
IPB News
The United Way of Central Indiana will focus on three issues in the 2023 legislation session: mental health, housing and early childhood education.

The 2023 legislative agenda of United Way of Central Indiana – one of the largest community advocacy groups in the state – aligns with some of the top priorities for state lawmakers this year.

The organization will focus on three issues: mental health, housing and early childhood education.

Sam Snideman, United Way vice president of government relations, said Indiana’s lack of access to mental health care is vital because it affects so much else.

“It affects people’s inputs and their ability to hold down sustained employment, to get into higher paying occupations, to have stability in their housing situations,” Snideman said.

READ MORE: Report recommends changes to Indiana’s mental health care system

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That’s a theme in pushing for more access to early childhood education, too. Snideman said it impacts more than just kids.

“We have an inability to get particularly women back into the workforce if we can’t address this issue,” Snideman said.

Snideman said a lack of affordable housing also causes workforce issues. He said he’s optimistic the legislature will address that issue after a legislative task force last year issued recommendations to improve housing availability.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.