News & Stories

Community Connections Empower Indy Mom to Break out of Homelessness

Amber, Indianapolis mom of 7

Building a healthier, flourishing community for all is a vision that requires many individuals and community partners working together.

Consider the case of Amber, a mother of seven children, including an adult son who is non-verbal with autism and special needs. Multiple chronic conditions have left Amber homebound, and after being unfairly evicted from her apartment, she was forced to relocate to a local shelter for women and children. While there, only five of her children could stay with her at a time.

In the shelter Amber felt anxious and afraid. The regimentation, lack of privacy and continual “drama” among the residents wore her down emotionally and physically. She was getting sick more often and worried about her children constantly. She rarely left her room.

“I stayed in and read the Bible,” Amber said.

She also searched diligently for more permanent housing solutions. Months of effort resulted only in disappointment.

“It was one bad break and broken promise after another,” she said.

CICOA connects Amber to housing resources

Amber found housing through CICOA's connections
Amber and her children are able to focus on their health and happiness in their own home.

Amber receives Medicaid support through Anthem, which in June 2022 brought her into contact with CICOA Medicaid Options Counselor Zakiya Lumumba. While Medicaid does not cover housing costs, it does provide housing-related support through its partnerships, which include CICOA. Soon after receiving Amber’s referral, Zakiya began looking into alternative housing resources.

After a lengthy search, Zakiya discovered what looked like a good fit for Amber with the Homeless Initiative Program (HIP) offered through Healthnet. Zakiya connected Amber with one of the program’s case managers and got the process started.

In December 2022, after a year of living in the shelter, Amber and her seven children moved into their new home.

“I feel blessed,” she said. “Utilities are included with rent I can afford. Everybody has their own room, and you can control the heat and cooling.”

Amber is grateful for the guidance and support that brought her not only to a new home, but greater peace of mind. It’s a long way from the time she felt “like the last thread on a string.”

“It’s a dream come true,” she said.


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