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United Way focuses on early childhood education, mental health, housing in 2023 session

The 2023 legislative agenda of United Way of Central Indiana – one of the largest community advocacy groups in the state – aligns with some of the top priorities for state lawmakers this year.

The organization will focus on three issues: mental health, housing and early childhood education.

Sam Snideman, United Way vice president of government relations, said Indiana’s lack of access to mental health care is vital because it affects so much else.

“It affects people’s inputs and their ability to hold down sustained employment, to get into higher paying occupations, to have stability in their housing situations,” Snideman said.

READ MORE: Report recommends changes to Indiana’s mental health care system

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That’s a theme in pushing for more access to early childhood education, too. Snideman said it impacts more than just kids.

“We have an inability to get particularly women back into the workforce if we can’t address this issue,” Snideman said.

Snideman said a lack of affordable housing also causes workforce issues. He said he’s optimistic the legislature will address that issue after a legislative task force last year issued recommendations to improve housing availability.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.