Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch announced 11 communities that have partnered with non-profits will receive more than $1.63 million in federal funding through the new Community Connections for People with Disabilities (CCPWD) grant program. This opportunity is being offered through a partnership between the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS).
“The pandemic has disrupted the life of every Hoosier,” Crouch said. “These partnerships will reconnect Hoosiers with disabilities to their crucial support systems, while also creating new ways for these individuals to thrive and pursue their aspirations. This federal CARES Act funding will help quickly remove some of the social divide COVID-19 has caused.”
The program’s goal is to help develop innovative technology strategies and cultivate strong community partnerships to address the negative social, economic, and health effects of COVID-19 on Hoosiers with disabilities and to increase community and workplace inclusion for this population.
“I’m so proud to see these communities took innovative steps to partner with local organizations to provide assistance is a variety of ways to Hoosiers with disabilities,” said Denny Spinner, executive director of OCRA. “These projects are the first step in ensuring no Hoosier is left isolated and partnering with DDRS to make it happen demonstrates the type of collaboration necessary to create a road to recovery.”
Grant activities for this program implement strategies, including virtual or technology-assisted activities, that address lack of internet access and technology equity, or social isolation and lost access to natural supports.
Eligible applicants include a local unit of government, which include counties, cities, or incorporated towns, both entitlement and non-entitlement communities. Each applicant partnered with a qualifying developmental disability non-profit organization that serves adults (18 and older) with disabilities within the geographical area.
“Due to the pandemic, Hoosiers with disabilities are experiencing various disruptions to their day-to-day supports that they utilize to ensure community inclusion. I appreciate the partnership with Lt. Gov. Crouch and OCRA to provide this opportunity for municipalities and providers to develop innovative technology solutions to mitigate COVID-19 related barriers to community inclusion,” said Kylee Hope, director of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services.
This grant opportunity is made available due to supplemental CDBG Coronavirus (CDBG-CV) funds authorized under the CARES Act. More information on another round of funding will be released by the middle of March.
Below is a summary of the projects being funded for this round. For more program information, visit in.gov/fssa/ddrs/community-connections-for-people-with-disabilities.
• The City of Batesville, in partnership with New Horizons, is awarded $160,462 to create a device lending library, which include 100 tablets, home connectivity devices, adaptive technology, and health monitoring aids. Training support will be provided to lending library participants to utilize the technology to connect with their natural support networks.
• The City of Columbia City, in partnership with Passages, Inc., is awarded $146,523 to purchase 35 devices for a device lending library to facilitate connection with natural support networks. The partnership will also establish an at-home healthy activities delivered through local YMCA virtual exercise memberships and an equipment lending library.
• The City of Goshen, in partnership with ADEC Inc., is awarded $155,322 to create a virtual and physical sensory trail experience which includes three cameras for virtual viewing, a virtual smartphone application for exploration of trails, the purchase of ten iPads for a device lending library to facilitate access to the trail experience, and consultation hours for music and recreational therapists to enhancing the sensory experience of the trails.
• The City of Indianapolis, in partnership with Village of Merici, is awarded $200,000 to develop of virtual app that allows adults with disabilities to access informational content and connect with their natural support networks.
• The City of Marion, in partnership with Carey Services, Inc., is awarded $200,000 to build twelve internet kiosks inside community partner locations, purchase 25 iPads for a device lending library, create a virtual platform addressing social isolation, and a livestream studio for use by city organizations and community members to create virtual social programming for adults with disabilities.
• The City of South Bend, in partnership with LOGAN Community Resources, Inc., is awarded $69,000 to purchase 36 iPads and 32 hotspots for a device lending library intended to facilitate access to natural support networks and virtual social and emotional support programming.
• Dubois County, in partnership with Southern Indiana Resource Solutions (SIRS), is awarded $127,743 to install WiFi hotspots in county public spaces, install an accessible computer workstation at the SIRS office, purchase iPads to create a lending library, and create an application to connect adults with disabilities to community members that can assist in shopping and errand needs.
• LaGrange County, in partnership with and The Arc of LaGrange County, is awarded $67,113 to purchase 50 iPads for a device lending library intended to facility access to social opportunities, educational programming, and health services.
• Lake County, in partnership with New Star, Inc. is awarded $110,000 to create virtual courses for health and wellness, employment readiness and creative expression. The partnership will also purchase 25 tablets for a device lending library to facilitate access to the virtual courses.
• Madison County, in partnership with The Hopewell Center, is awarded $199,630 to create a multi-prong social connection program, using technology to connect participants virtually and in-person through vocational exploration, gaming, social networking and digital theater activities.
• Parke County, in partnership with Child-Adult Resource Services, Inc., is awarded $200,000 to create virtual educational classes. Additionally, the partnership will purchase 60 tablets and 15 smart TVs for a device lending library to facilitate access to the virtual education programming as well as natural support networks.