Communities across Indiana are working to become more livable for residents of all ages.
AARP is working in partnership with local leaders, organizations and dedicated residents to help make that vision a reality. As part of that effort, AARP is excited to announce the largest investment of grant dollars to date through the Community Challenge grant program. More than $3.4 million in quick-action grants are being distributed to 260 organizations across all 50 states, Washington D.C, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Community Challenge funds innovative projects that inspire change in areas such as transportation; public spaces; housing; diversity, equity, and inclusion; civic engagement; and more. This year, with additional funding support from Toyota Motor North America, the program is also increasing its investment in projects that improve mobility innovation and transportation options.
AARP is also bolstering its support of affordable and adaptable housing solutions in response to the national housing crisis, as well as those that address disparities through permanent or temporary solutions. Many of this year’s projects also include ways to help communities leverage funding under the American Rescue Plan Act and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
AARP Indiana is incredibly proud to have five grantees right here in our state. Our goal is to support their efforts to create great places for people of all backgrounds, ages and abilities. As local leaders seek to better their communities for the future, this becomes even more critical.
Here in Indiana, these exciting and diverse projects were funded:
- Blue River Services, Inc. (Corydon, IN) – Toyota North America provided additional funding support for several mobility and transportation projects across the country. Here in Indiana, it will help expand Blue River Services' Southern Indiana Transit System (SITS) into Floyd County, where services are not currently provided. SITS provides on-demand transportation services for older adults and people with disabilities in the rural southern Indiana counties of Crawford, Harrison, Scott and Washington.
- Dream Center (Evansville IN) – This project will repair some sections of failing sidewalks and crumbling curbs in the heart of the Jacobsville Neighborhood, an area in the city that has a high percentage of older adults. It will also update crosswalk markings to improve walkability, safety, and aesthetics.
- Health By Design (Fort Wayne, IN) – The Wells Street corridor is a busy street that connects downtown Fort Wayne with neighborhoods to the North. The grant will fund safety enhancements to three crossing areas at the southern end of the corridor and activate unused spaces with new seating, planters, and more to draw attention to the Bloomingdale Neighborhood.
- The Heart of Lebanon (Lebanon, IN) – After asking older residents what could make the dozens of events staged in downtown Lebanon more enjoyable, The Heart Lebanon took the feedback to create a cart called "The Helping Hub." Grant funds will be used to stock the cart with folding chairs, collapsible chairs, umbrellas, and information on local services and activities for older residents.
- Anchor House (Seymour, IN) – Anchor House received grant funding to install an awning at its food pantry to provide shade and shelter from the weather for shoppers. The grant will also support an art installation and increase outreach to the Latino communities in Jackson County.
The Community Challenge is part of AARP’s nationwide work on livable communities, which supports the efforts of neighborhoods, towns, cities and counties across the country to become great places for all residents. We believe that communities should provide safe, walkable streets; affordable and accessible housing and transportation options; access to needed services; and opportunities for residents to participate in community life.
To learn more about the work being funded by the AARP Community Challenge both here in Indiana as well as across the nation, visit aarp.org/CommunityChallenge. You can also view an interactive map of all of the Community Challenge projects and AARP Indiana’s livable communities work at aarp.org/livable.