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Announcement

OCRA Launches HELP – Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program

Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs are launching the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program. OCRA says HELP is designed for local units of government to optimize their Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.

“In my position as Secretary of Rural Development, I have seen many Indiana rural communities grow and develop with the help of OCRA’s programs,” Crouch said. “HELP is the newest way for the state to partner with our already vibrant and successful rural communities, and further build them so they become stronger and more resilient.”

OCRA says the program supports communities directly by “building capacity, creating a peer network system, developing a strategic investment plan and providing access to set-aside funding.”

To help carry out the year-long program, OCRA says it is partnering with the Purdue Center for Regional Development, the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, the Ball State University Indiana Communities Institute and Ivy Tech Community College.

Communities selected to participate in HELP will collaborate with the higher education institutions on four areas, including advancing e-connectivity, improving quality of place, promoting community wellness and strengthening local economies.

“When I was mayor of my hometown of Huntingburg, I got to experience how OCRA and its partners can help transform a community,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “I am excited to now bring the spirit of Stellar into a new iteration that will support communities in best employing Fiscal Recovery Funds to create a legacy in these Hoosier towns and cities.”

Additional organizations assisting with OCRA’s new program include the Indiana Arts Commission, the Indiana State Office of Rural Health/Indiana State Department of Health, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

Expected Program Impact:

  • Building Community Capacity through a local Community Coordinator position to guide the community through the program process and SIP implementation
  • Welcoming Your Community Back Home by reconnecting to the larger community through creative engagement opportunities
  • Peer Networking with other HELP Communities as well as various state agencies
  • Strengthening ARPA Confidence through in-depth training on eligible uses of CLFRF with OCRA
  • Training and Technical Assistance from OCRA, institutions of higher education, and statewide leaders in community development
  • Strategic Investment Plan & Dashboard that includes high-quality data prepared about your community
  • Access to set-aside funding for participatory budgeting project and SIP implementation from OCRA and other statewide partners

HELP will have three cohorts, with each cohort supporting up to four communities. The application for the first cohort opens Sept. 6. The deadline to apply is Oct. 1.

You can get more information by clicking here.