The Hometown Collaboration Initiative, a program of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, is accepting applications from communities or counties with a current population of 25,000 or fewer. This program is targeted toward energizing communities who aim to develop a new generation of local leaders; promote the launch, survival, and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; or enhance community design and public spaces to build on the community’s physical and natural resource assets. "Indiana is dotted with nearly 700 small cities and towns, and HCI is the right program to help strengthen the long-term vitality of these communities," said Bo Beaulieu, director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension community development program leader.
The Purdue Center for Regional Development and Purdue Extension Community Development Program are program partners for this community capacity building program. Also collaborating in the HCI effort is Ball State University's Community and Economic Development Center.
The program has three phases: In the foundation phase, communities will study data, assess local assets, invite public input, and determine the priority needs of the community. Next, they will select one of three "building blocks" to explore more fully: expand local community leadership, grow local jobs, or enhance community design and public spaces. Last, during the capstone phase, communities will finalize and implement a project that aligns with their building block activities.
Applications are due on October 20 and selected communities will be announced in December.