The Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Indiana University’s Environmental Resilience Institute have teamed up to offer Hoosier cities, counties and towns a Beat the Heat program, which aims to create sustainable, long-term projects, programs and educational material that assist residents in coping with hot days and the public health impacts associated with heat, according to an OCRA press release.
“This collaboration with ERI and our community partners will provide countless innovative tools and resources to better improve the health of our rural communities,” Denny Spinner, executive director of OCRA, said in the press release. “Working with vulnerable populations will be at the center of this project which ensures no one is left behind during a hot summer day. OCRA is excited to build a new partnership with the experts at ERI to provide this opportunity.”
The program will allow for two communities to receive up to $121,940 to fund a full-time staff person for two years and costs associated with program activities.
The staff person, who will receive support from ERI, will be responsible for the following: Assessment of community needs related to heat relief; development of marketing and educational materials; summarization of community engagement techniques; and development and implementation of heat relief strategies.
"Extreme heat is responsible for more annual fatalities in the United States than all other natural disasters combined,” Dana Habeeb, an assistant professor at IU’s Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering and the program’s principal investigator, said in the press release. “With temperatures increasing across Indiana, we are excited to work with local government leaders to create tailored strategies designed to protect at-risk residents. The communities selected for the Beat the Heat program will not only be preparing and empowering their local communities to respond to the challenges of extreme heat, but also pioneering a model that could guide heat mitigation strategies for other communities throughout the state of Indiana.”
Each community will also receive hospital and emergency management services data related to how hot days and nights impact residents’ health as well as a map of the community’s vulnerable populations. Selected applicants will be required to contribute $7,500 toward the project.
Applications are being accepted through March 26 and are available here.
More information can be found at the program's website. Communities may also contact the respective OCRA Community Liaison.