The Steering Committee of the Communities for a Lifetime Project is pleased to announce that a new Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) six-month Planning Grant has been awarded through Pathfinder Services in strong partnership with Huntington County Council on Aging (HCCOA), Boys and Girls Club of Huntington County, and the City of Huntington to continue building on the foundation of the Communities for a Lifetime philosophy that the NNORC project introduced in 2008.

There are key differences in this new initiative; it will serve people with disabilities as well as our seniors and the geographical area has been expanded to the full city limits of Huntington. The new Communities for a Lifetime planning initiative will include two comprehensive surveys: the AdvantAge Survey is for city residents 55 and older and targets seniors and family members who are caregivers, and the Indiana Disability Poll is for people with disabilities, their family, caregivers, advocates, and for professionals in the disability field.

The Initiative is being kicked off with three community meetings in which residents can take the survey and learn more about the project; May 15th, 2012 at 6 pm, Southside Fire Station, 1333 Etna Avenue. May 24th, 2012 at 6 pm, HuntingtonPublic Library, 255 West Park Driveand May 29th, 2012 at 6 pm Café of Hope, 900 East State Street. These meetings are FREE and open to the public. For more information on the community meetings please contact Teresa Plasterer at 260-356-2191 or at [email protected].

Getting the word out to the residents to take the surveys is a key component to the successful outcome of this initiative. The surveys are available online at Residents are encouraged to come to the kick off meetings on May 15th, 24th and 29th or go online and take the surveys which come with an incentive of $100.00 cash drawing prize to those who register and complete the survey.

In 2008 theHuntingtoncommunity was awarded a state grant, Neighborhood of Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NNORC) – Communities for Life project administered through Aging and In-Home Services of North East Indiana. That Planning Grant was fulfilled, andIndiana’s Dept. of Aging awarded the Implementation Grant to Huntington County Council on Aging (HCCOA) to run from January through June, 2009. In 2009 the NNORC-Communities for a Lifetime (C4aL) resident driven steering committee implemented strategic goals based on a 2008 AdvantAge survey that identified Personal Safety issues as needs and gaps inHuntington’s east central neighborhood. The NNORC- C4aL, among other achievements developed a Home Modification plan and completed 19 home modifications, totaling nearly $30,000.00 invested in the east central neighborhood. Although, the lack of state funding ended on that grant in June, 2009, the volunteer steering committee secured local grant funding and remained active until April of 2010.

As in the original NNORC project, the steering committee will analyze the two survey results and work closely with other key community and city officials to develop an Implementation Plan to address the needs as identified in the surveys. The committee will focus on the areas of interest, build upon previous strategies and plans, identify future projects, develop a schedule to complete projects, determine the level of community impact, and the significance of each project to the overall comprehensive development of a Community for a Lifetime philosophy. That information will be included in the Implementation Grant Application which will, we believe, bring funding for these projects to our city.