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Addressing Housing Needs in Rural Indiana

As Indiana communities seek to increase quality of life and long-term economic growth, limited availability of a diverse supply of housing options continues to emerge as a significant barrier.

Purdue Extension’s Community Development Program led a comprehensive assessment of housing in collaboration with Partnership Parke County, county leaders, businesses and residents through a community-wide survey, focus groups and data analysis. The effort culminated in a housing summit, during which the findings of the study were presented, state and local experts shared resources, and the Purdue team garnered additional feedback for its final report.

“Data collection and analysis have been key to providing insight into our current landscape. Purdue Extension has further assisted our residents and us by bringing in the state and federal partners needed to educate the public and open the door for discussion,” adds Cyndi Todd, executive director for Partnership Parke County, the Economic Development Office for Parke County.

In Parke County, the survey revealed that averagehousing and transportation costs combined equaled 57 percent of income, highlighting a significant need for more accessible housing.

By bringing together local, state and federal resources including the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, USDA Rural Development, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and a local lender - Purdue Extension and Partnership Parke County are positioning the community to effectively develop and implement housing-related strategies.

- Michael Wilcox, assistant director and program leader for Purdue Extension’s Community Development Program

Since the survey was completed, Partnership Parke County hosted a public housing summit to share the data and receive community input. As a result of the summit, USDA Rural Development reached out to Parke County for ongoing discussions on utility infrastructure expansion with financial assistance, a necessary step before development can proceed.
parke county, addressing the housing needs in Indiana Regional Purdue Extension educator Dan Walker (left) and Purdue Extension Hendricks County agriculture and natural resources and community development educator Jeff Pell (right) work with housing summit participants in collaboration with Partnership Parke County.
Purdue Extension, Parke County
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