CAJE

Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment

Background

The mission of the CAJE Organization is to draw together people of faith to act powerfully to address local community issues through processes of relationship building, direct action, and negotiation with decision-makers.

Accomplishments

Opiod Epidemic  Since 2014 countless lives have been saved in the city of Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Warrick County, and Posey County, due to CAJE’s push to equip all local first responders with the opioid overdose antidote Narcan.

Dental Care  At the 2014 Nehemiah Action, CAJE won commitments from Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, ECHO’s Sandy Strader-McMillan and County Council President Tom Shetler to find funding for ECHO Health’s proposed dental care program. This program gives low income and members of the community access to quality dental care at a sliding scale cost. The program was funded during the summer of 2014 and there are currently 19 area dentists involved in the program, with that number growing. This allows them to serve around 3,000 members of the community annually.

Affordable Housing In November 2014, CAJE voted to address the lack of affordable housing in Evansville. Since that time CAJE has pushed the City to reinstate regular meetings for the existing Affordable Housing Trust Fund and brought its policies and procedures in line with best practices. In May 2017, CAJE got commitments from the Mayor and key City Council members to put $500,000 in the trust fund for the 2019 budget year. The organization is committed to ensuring that amount is put in during the final budget votes and is continued annually.

Drug Treatment  In 2012, CAJE got Mayor Lloyd Winnecke, County Council President Tom Shetler, State Senator Jim Tomes, County Prosecutor Nick Hermann, Judge Wayne Trockman, and Drug Treatment Court Director Larry Paul to form a working group to find funding for expansion of drug treatment court in the county. Drug treatment court is a proven method for lowering criminal recidivism and drug addiction, but had been severely understaffed in Vanderburgh County, resulting in long waitlists. The working group created by CAJE leveraged $1 million for the expansion of drug treatment court, resulting in a 20% expansion of the number of participants in the program annually.

Mental Health In 2016, CAJE took local mental health providers and city officials to San Antonio, Texas to tour that city’s successful crisis intervention center. Plans are now in place to make such a center a reality in Southwest Indiana. Once doors open in early 2019, the Crisis Stabilization and Sobering Unit will provide an alternative to jail or the emergency room for individuals in crisis.

Re-entry In 2017, CAJE got Vanderburghs County Commissioner Ben Shoulders and the majority of the Vanderburgh County Council to allocate funding for a second case manager for a succesful re-entry program. The case manager was hired in January 2018, doubling the capacity of the program. The resulting reduction in recidivism is estimated to save the county over $125,000 by the end of 2018.

Current Membership

CAJE is a coalition of 22 diverse congregations.

In the past year, CAJE has trained over 120 leaders, over 600 leaders participated in our annual listening process and over 200 leaders have participated in building strong justice ministry networks in their congregations.

Contact Us

info@greaterevansvillecaje.org

Amy DeVries
Lead Organizer

33 W. Virginia St.
Evansville, IN 47710
Tel. 812 760-3700