Hamilton Center Awarded DMHA Poverty Simulation Systems of Care Grant

Sets date for next SOC meeting.

Terre Haute, IN- Hamilton Center has been awarded the Project AWARE Systems of Care (SOC) School Based Engagement grant by the Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA). The grant provides $4,942 to fund Community Action Poverty Simulations (CAPS) that will help increase awareness and understanding about poverty and how it impacts the youth and families in our community. In partnership with local SOCs, Hamilton Center, Inc. will serve Vigo, Sullivan, Parke, Vermillion, Clay, Greene and Marion counties with this grant.

Poverty is a significant area of concern for central and west central Indiana. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, counties served by this grant have a higher percentage of children living in poverty than the state average, an estimated 17.8 percent for individuals under the age of 18.  All counties proposed for the grant fall above that number, with Vigo and Marion at 25 percent, and Vermillion, the lowest of the group, at 17.9 percent. This group of counties also struggles with other issues related to poverty. In the state, Clay and Parke counties rank in the top 10 for removal of children from the home due to substance use; Sullivan County ranks 7th for unemployment rate; while Greene County ranks 5th for unemployment.

“Poverty is a reality for many individuals and families” Said Melvin L. Burks, Hamilton Center’s CEO.  “But unless someone has experienced poverty, it’s difficult to truly understand,” he said.

The Community Action Poverty Simulation (CAPS) bridges that gap from misconception to understanding. CAPS is an interactive immersion experience. It sensitizes community participants to the realities of poverty.  The goals of the simulation are promote poverty awareness, increase understanding, inspire local change, and transform perspectives.

“These staggering statistics show a significant need for community initiatives like the SOC,” said Dwight Weaver, SOC Coordinator and Program Manager of Child & Adolescent Services at Hamilton Center, Inc. “The primary function of the SOC is to increase services and collaborations among providers to meet the increasing needs of the youth and families in our communities, with the ultimate goal of improving these statistics,” he said.

Hamilton Center has taken a primary role in developing SOC’s across its regional footprint, applying for several grants that will help increase access to services and market the good work of the group. The organization received the DMHA School Based Systems of Care grant in August of 2019 to develop a marketing campaign and website which will provide a broader reach for the initiative. Go to www.vigosoc.org to get more information.

Community members, specifically those involved in the “system of care”, are invited to attend the monthly SOC meetings. If you are interested in attending by call Dwight Weaver, Program Manager, Hamilton Center, Inc., at 812-231-8194.

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