Unemployed? Here’s how you can connect to Indiana assistance, support resources

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As of Thursday morning, we’ve learned 5.2 million more people in the country sought unemployment benefits last week. Nearly 12 million are now receiving unemployment checks, and that includes thousands of Hoosiers.

That raises the question of what if that money, along with the stimulus payments isn’t enough?

There’s no one size fits all solution during this crisis.

“Maybe, we’ll all come out stronger,” stated Jennifer Haptonstall of Columbus, Indiana.

Jennifer and Troy Haptonstall are just one of the thousands of local families who have had to find a way to make it work. Both had to quarantine due to COVID-19, thankfully the couple tested negative but what happened next has been even more difficult.

“During that quarantine time, both of our jobs had to close,” Haptonstall explained.

That left both Jennifer and Troy unemployed waiting for money from the government, with three children at home. A challenge that this family hasn’t faced before but had no other choice than to face.

“Just like everybody else, you know,” Haptonstall added, “Not knowing how much food we have left and just trying to budget the meals out and say look, we can’t overindulge.”

There are resources to help, like a call to Indiana 211. This month, the hotline is averaging nearly 1,200 calls per day.

“With an average of 2.1 referrals per caller, we are making a little over 2,500 connections for Hoosiers to services per day,” according to Catherine McNaughton, Interim State Director for the organization.

The top five needs that people are reaching out for ranked highest to lowest are food, utility assistance, housing, healthcare and income support.

The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration released a video to encourage Hoosiers to see if they qualify for food, temporary cash assistance or health coverage.

In the video, Jennifer Sullivan the Secretary of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration said, “First and foremost, your benefits are safe. Whether you’re on SNAP, TANF, Medicaid or childcare vouchers. Your benefits will continue without interruption as long as the public health emergency exists. Two, if you are not one of our clients today but you need help, we are here for you.”

Online, the Department of Workforce Development also lists a variety of resources on from a food stamp program, home energy assistance, WIC and online law advisors.

“It’s great what they are doing, it’s great for the people that they can help, but it’s not much for the people in the gray area,” said Jennifer Haptonstall.

The Haptonstall’s fall into the gray area, where they don’t qualify for most of the help they need.

Indiana 211 advises families like theirs to seek food pantries or reach out to FSSA.

“Stay strong and know that you’re not alone, others are going through the same things that you are going through and hopefully this will all get figured out,” said Haptonstall.

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