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Office Of Community And Rural Affairs Announce Hometown Collaboration Initiative Application Round
Updated May 25, 2016 6:08 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) announces they are now accepting applications for the third generation of the Hometown Collaboration Initiative (HCI).

Self-identified communities with up to 25,000 people that aim to develop a new generation of local leaders; promote the launch, survival and growth of small businesses and entrepreneurs; or invest in place through community design, public space developments, local foods, or other quality of life initiatives are eligible and encouraged to apply.

Interested communities must electronically submit their application to no later than 4:00 p.m. EDT on July 29, 2016.

"By engaging in HCI, we have already seen several communities take those essential next steps in building upon their foundations for locally determined community and economic development opportunities," said Bill Konyha, OCRA Executive Director. "I would encourage other communities to look into HCI and see how this process can strengthen local capacity, setting up cities and towns to move forward with other impactful OCRA programs and initiatives."

HCI is a capacity-building program led by OCRA in partnership with Ball State and Purdue Universities. Together, these entities champion the core principles of HCI, especially broad-based input and buy-in that is vital to the long-term success and sustainability of all community development initiatives.

"HCI is the right fit for local leaders and residents in Indiana's small communities who want to commit themselves to making a difference in their communities. The program equips the local HCI team with the tools, skills and strategies that can serve as a blueprint for making their hometown an ever greater place to live, work and play," added Bo Beaulieu, Director of the Purdue Center for Regional Development.

The application consists of open-ended questions that demonstrate the community's commitment to reach out to a broader array of local individuals who can identify the mix of needs and opportunities present in their hometowns. This commitment to inclusion is a an essential ingredient for gaining community-wide support for the community improvement work of the local HCI team.

The community team will receive extensive training and become increasingly familiar with the following three Building Blocks before shifting focus to one block later in the HCI process:

  • Economy - growing and retaining small businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Leadership - developing new generations of leaders
  • Placemaking - investing in your place

In total, 10 communities have received the HCI designation and each are currently still engaged in the process, moving forward with projects and building blocks in their communities.

"Every community has its own strengths they bring to their region. The HCI process helps local teams both identify and learn how to come together as a community to leverage their assets in building a stronger economy - this is truly comprehensive economic development," said David Terrell, Interim Co-Director of Ball State's Indiana Communities Institute.

For more information regarding the application, eligibility requirements and webinar sign-up visit

Additionally, contact OCRA regional Community Liaisons with questions or explore current HCI designee communities' progress.

Make plans to attend the June 15th HCI webinar by signing up at


The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs' (OCRA) mission is to work with local, state and national partners to provide resources and technical assistance to assist communities in shaping and achieving their vision for community and economic development.

Visit OCRA's website for general information about OCRA programs and services.

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