City receives $5 million grant to fight homelessness

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A $5 million grant will go toward tackling the homelessness problem in Indianapolis. It comes after the city lost a significant amount of federal grant money during the application process last year.

The money comes from Department of Housing and Urban Development. The grant, Continuum Care, is competitive. Applicants have to submit specific proposals in order to qualify. Last year, the city didn’t meet the requirements. So, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration formed a committee, and focused on tweaking its proposal. The new plan would shift from transitional housing to more permanent solutions. As a result, the city regained $600,000 in federal funding. Funding that is life changing for some.

Kirk Swingley dreams of the day when he can return back to South Florida.

“I have a master license to drive boats of 200 tons or less on all oceans,” Swingley said.

That was his career until chronic depression overcame him. So, he headed home to Indiana where he has been homeless for the past eight months.

“I finally got a hold of myself and said ‘You’ve got to come out of this,’ and I needed to get help,” Swingley admitted.

Kirk turned to the Horizon House. It’s a center that provides a variety of services to those in need, like; warm meals, showers, help with job searches, and medical treatment which includes psychiatric help.

“The medicines we had to use, try different drugs for depression until they hit the right one. It’s made a difference within the last four months,” Swingley explained.

Kirk’s story is a success story, like many others. But, it wouldn’t be possible without funding. During a news conference on Tuesday, Mayor Hogsett addressed the importance of funding.

“That’s why the administration has worked extensively with housing and service providers to maximize the federal funding for homelessness aid and prevention through the Continuum of Care,” said Hogsett.

The city received more than $5 million that will go toward 27 projects meant to provide housing and support as well as address issues like mental health and drug addiction. It’s an effort that will help people like Kirk, who is well on his way to living his dream.

“Back down in South Florida and mentally ready to handle the responsibility of a $10 million yacht,” Swingley said.

Kirk says he’s been working part time and saving his money. He hopes to be back in Florida by Easter. As for Mayor Hogsett, he promised that funding is just the beginning and that his administration is looking to end homelessness for good in Indianapolis.

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How to make Apple Pie Tacos

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s dessert … in a taco shell!

Apple Pie Tacos are easy, delicious, and kids love them! 

Apple Pie Tacos

9 soft street-taco shells (see note below)
2 tablespoons raw sugar 
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided 
5 ROCKIT® apples, skin left on and diced
2 tablespoon raw honey 
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
2 teaspoons cornstarch 
1/4 cup water, plus more
coconut whipped cream 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On a plate, sprinkle raw sugar and cinnamon. Gently mix the two together. Spray both sides of the soft taco shells with nonstick cooking spray, then lightly dip both sides in the cinnamon mixture. 
2. Flip a muffin tin over. Place each cinnamon-coated soft taco shell between each of the muffin tins, so that the muffin-tin humps help the taco shell stay in place and formed. Place in the the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool completely. 
3. To make apple filling, combine chopped apples, honey, lemon juice and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a small saucepan. Stir cornstarch into the 1/4 cup water and add to the saucepan. Heat on medium for about 10 minutes until apples are completely softened and gooey-thick. You may need to add more water — about another 1/4 cup — as the apples cook to create a sauce-like mixture. 
4. Spoon the apple filling into each of the taco shells. Top with coconut whipped cream and a sprinkle cinnamon, or a little granola.  Enjoy immediately! 

Apple Pie Tacos (WISH Photo/Annessa Chumbley)

Note: A tortilla that’s about 3-4 inches across works great. If you need to, you can take a larger wheat tortilla, and cookie-cut it using a 3-4 inch small bowl.