Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs today announced nine communities to be included in OCRA’s new Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program.
HELP is a year-long program that offers guidance for communities in spending allotments of Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which was created under the American Rescue Plan Act. The HELP process will culminate in a community-focused Strategic Investment Plan.
HELP culminates in a dynamic Strategic Investment Plan rooted in four pathways:
- Advancing e-Connectivity
- Promoting Community Wellness
- Enhancing Quality of Place
- Strengthening Local Economies
The HELP process and implementation of the resultant Strategic Investment Plan ultimately seeks to build long-term capacity, develop attainable projects and leave a legacy in the community.
“This new program presents a unique opportunity for communities,” Crouch said. “Those chosen to participate in HELP will learn how to best spend their recovery funds in order to create a lasting positive impact and legacy in their area.”
The first cohort will begin the year-long program in January 2022 and includes the City of Auburn, Jay County and Kosciusko County.
“HELP builds upon the successes of the Stellar program, while also adapting to best respond to the current challenges Indiana communities are facing,” said OCRA Executive Director Denny Spinner. “Those chosen for this program have exhibited a great dedication to community engagement and development and we look forward to working with each of them during this process.”
Throughout the program, the chosen communities will collaborate with the Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement, the Purdue University Center for Regional Development, the Ball State Indiana Communities Institute and Ivy Tech Community College. These higher education organizations will help provide training and technical assistance during the program.
Beginning the HELP program in the summer of 2022 is the second cohort, which includes Daviess County, Dubois County and the City of Vincennes. The third cohort will kick off the program near the start of 2023 and includes the City of Connersville, Franklin County and Wayne County.
In addition to the higher education organizations these communities will partner with, they will also work with the Indiana Arts Council, the Indiana Department of Transportation, the Indiana Department of Health, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, Columbus-based CivicLab and NEXT Studios.
“We are fortunate to have the expertise of these community institutions and state organizations for this program,” said Andrea Kern, OCRA director of strategic initiatives. “With their guidance, we will be able to propel this program to new heights for our Hoosier communities.”
Visit in.gov/ocra/help/ to learn more about the Hoosier Enduring Legacy Program.