United NWI
NWI’s diversity is celebrated, and we work together as a community across racial, ethnic, political and cultural lines for the mutual benefit of the region.
For more information and resources in regard to COVID-19, please visit the

COVID-19 Impact on Food Insecure Communities
COVID-19 has not only impacted the public health of vulnerable communities but has also impacted the food system of vulnerable communities as well. Those who are most at risk are seniors and individuals who live directly in food insecure communities.

Those who live in neighborhoods with limited access to grocery stores and restaurants who rely on public transportation are more than likely experiencing additional challenges due to business closures and transit limitations.

In 2019, NIRPC addressed these types of challenges in the NWI 2050 Plan by developing strategies to achieve mixed and balanced growth, strengthen its role at the regional level to discuss food insecurity issues and develop solutions for strengthening the local food system. NIRPC is currently working on updating maps related to the local food system as it relates to food insecure areas. It has become even more critical to meet the extraordinary demand created by COVID-19 to find and implement tools to address emergency needs related to hunger relief.

Currently, planners in California utilized a mapping tool to assist government officials and nonprofits to identify locations of food insecurity areas that need assistance and have difficulty accessing food while under quarantine. Learn more about this mapping tool here .

To access resources and tools related to Northwest Indiana learn more here:
 NWI Food Council Food Assistance During COVID-19

Indiana Food Assistance Availability Map
Economy and Place
Ignite the Region

Our friends at the Northwest Indiana Forum have been maintaining a list of resources for the business and industry community during COVID-19, which can be accessed here .  
The following piece was contributed by Heather Ennis, the Forum’s President & CEO, prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. Despite the current situation, NIRPC has remained part of the momentum for this region-wide economic initiative -- a momentum that continues even amidst the current crisis and an initiative that will continue to guide the region’s recovery when it is past.

We are excited about the activity happening around Ignite the Region- Northwest Indiana’s Strategy for Economic Transformation .

Since its launch in the fall of 2018, implementation teams have been getting together regularly to make progress on each of the 5 pillars of the plan. Implementation steps for the 5-year plan are over 70% begun and 22% complete.

In just the Business Development & Marketing pillar, the Northwest Indiana story is being told nationwide with over 24 trips meeting with 400 companies, site selectors, brokers and developers last year alone, which helped to attract over 1300 new jobs to our region, and 20 additional trips are scheduled for 2020.

Also in the works is “Impact Labs,” a creative way to bring entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship together, which could have a game-changing impact on the creative ecosystem of Northwest Indiana. Look for more to come on this and other exciting and igniting projects. 
Tackling Invasive Species on Earth Day

As we celebrate Earth Day, part of good stewardship of our planet is mitigating the negative effect of invasive species. The LaPorte County and Porter County Soil & Water Conservation Districts are collaborating on the development of a Cooperative Invasive Species Management Area (CISMAs) to help bring together local knowledge and interest in assisting private landowners.

The districts are still in the early stages of this effort. They are currently focusing on creating and organizing a formal working group and hope to begin developing a strategic plan in the next few months and are being assisted by Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management. 

You can visit the Southern Indiana Cooperative Invasives Management website for more insight on Cooperative Invasive Species Management Areas by clicking   here .

Also, it is not too late to join the Calumet Collaborative's  virtual celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day , already in progress! Free registration is available  here. Recordings of the presentations will be made available to watch after the fact if you decide to spend your Earth Day getting out in nature instead. 

Fixed-Route Technical Assistance

In the upcoming year, NIRPC is putting a greater emphasis on providing transit operators with technical assistance. In one of the many ways NIRPC is providing technical assistance, NIRPC will coordinate with transit operators to fixed-route transit operators with potential improvements to their systems.  

One of the key takeaways from NIRPC’s 2018 Coordinated Transit Plan was the identification of transit needs and gaps across the region. This plan was developed with the assistance of Northwestern Indiana transit operators. NIRPC will use the 2018 plan as a guidebook in navigating the kind of assistance that will be provided. Assistance is available for route optimization, coordination of services between fixed-route providers, bus stop inventories, and others. 

For more information about transit operator technical assistance, contact James Winters: jwinters@nirpc.org .

NIRPC has designed and implemented an interactive  COVID-19  dashboard onto its website, which you can find   here.  Track and observe how  COVID-19  is impacting communities across Northwest Indiana.
Meetings are subject to change due to COVID-19 protocol.
NIRPC Commission/Executive Board Meeting (Subject to Change)
  • May 21st
  • 9:00 AM
  • Lake Michigan Room, 6100 Southport Road Portage, IN 46368
  •  Link for more information
  •  Questions? Contact Candice Eklund at 219-254-2501
  • Can’t make it in person? Watch it on YouTube
Funding Opportunity!
  • The Indiana Volkswagen Environmental Mitigation Trust Fund Round 2 On-road & Non-road Grant has been extended until May 31, 2020.
  • Contact South Shore Clean Cities at (219) 644-3690 for more information.
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