CoAction Offers Support, Assistance to Those Experiencing Poverty

Everyone deserves to be able to live a life that satisfies the basic needs of humanity: food, water, shelter, clothing, and sleep. While many in the Region manage, it only takes one unplanned event to find yourself in a seemingly inescapable situation. That’s where organizations like CoAction step in to help. 

“CoAction believes all people want to thrive and have the right to equitable access to healthy food, safe and affordable housing, educational opportunities, gainful employment, and quality healthcare.  We listen to our community and identify programs that will serve the greatest needs with the highest impact,” said CoAction President/CEO Jennifer Trowbridge.   

Poverty is an issue that closes a lot of doors. Having to choose between the electric bill and the water bill, not being able to afford food, and having to face emergencies while living paycheck to paycheck create negative outcomes for both physical and mental health. Addressing poverty is incredibly important for CoAction given the organization’s roots in the Region. 

“We have three of the poorest cities in Indiana, and 12% of our service area lives in poverty,” Trowbridge said. “Many people in Northwest Indiana do not have enough money for food, their utilities are shut off, they fear losing their homes within two months, and they are unable to pay for medical care. The cost of healthcare, childcare, and eldercare is extremely draining to families and what is affordable may not be adequate or quality care.” 

CoAction offers a variety of programs to help families and individuals experiencing poverty. These services help those in the Region by providing support and guidance to overcome barriers to basic needs and beyond.

“People whose basic needs are met discover hope to overcome barriers, find meaningful work, invest in our communities, pursue education, and have a vision for a brighter future,” Trowbridge said. “With more people invested in our communities, we can build a place we all love.” 

Because of the wide-range and extent of the work CoAction does, the organization often uses volunteers to give it as many eyes, ears, and hands as possible. This January, those volunteers will be taking part in the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count to provide the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with an accurate snapshot of homeless individuals in America. 

“Nationwide, volunteers go into the community and complete surveys with folks that are experiencing homelessness to gather demographic information,” Abby Johnson, manager of homeless resources at CoAction, said. “Our information gets submitted to the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and HUD. HUD and the IHCDA assess what the need is in each community and divide grant programs across regions based on the need.” 

This year’s PIT Count is occurring on January 24. Those interested in becoming involved can reach out to Johnson at  for more information. 

“We’re going to be doing a couple informational sessions,” said Johnson. “The day of the count, we’re going to have some in-person group kickoffs as well as virtual options for volunteers going out. It’s a really cool time for agencies and volunteers to come together and work as a team to collect data that will benefit the agencies that are serving people experiencing homelessness.” 

CoAction’s impact on the Region cannot be overstated. Whether you’re a senior who’s homebound, a family struggling to keep the lights on, or someone who has had a string of bad financial luck, CoAction has a program that can help you. 

“Because CoAction is in our community, pregnant women are healthier and give birth to healthier babies; women are supported in breastfeeding; children perform better on reading assessments; children are not hungry at school; parents are less stressed because they can provide food and a home for their children,” said Trowbridge. “CoAction is building compassionate communities where needs are met and people are given the opportunity to flourish.” 

To learn more about CoAction, become involved, or check out donation and sponsorship opportunities, visit