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Mayor’s memo: HRA receives nearly $3.2 million in grant for new program

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By Mayor Tim Busse

Last December, the Minnesota Housing Board of Directors granted the Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) $3,199,500 to build 27 new single-family homes. This effort is part of the HRA’s new Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program.

This is the first program of its kind for the HRA. Housing is a primary wealth-building tool. Through the Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program, the HRA hopes to lower the cost barrier for homebuyers and create and preserve affordable housing. The Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program also advances the City’s Racial Equity Business Plan because it provides a strategy to eliminate racial disparities including inequitable access in housing.

The Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program will serve households at or below 80% of the area median income by providing a $118,500 gap subsidy to lower the cost of each of the 27 homes. It will also preserve long-term affordability with deed restrictions for owner occupancy and resale restriction for a minimum of 15 years.

“Inequitable access to homeownership opportunities prevents the City from living out its values, which is why creating and preserving affordable homeownership opportunities is a focus for the HRA,” Bloomington HRA Administrator Aarica Coleman said. “This new program is a creative way to reduce a common barrier to homeownership.”

All 27 homes built through the Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program will also provide opportunities to small and emerging developers that have been historically underutilized and/or underrepresented for the development and construction of the homes.

Newly constructed homes would incorporate Minnesota Housing requirements of Universal Design and accessibility, visitability (larger door openings, at least one no-step entrance; and half bath, or larger bedroom, on main level), and Enterprise Green Communities (sustainability).

This program is a great example of our Bloomington. Tomorrow. Together. strategic priorities in action. Continued action toward creating and preserving affordable housing in Bloomington is a key touchpoint for all three of our strategic priorities that include being a welcoming, connected community; a healthy community; and a community with equitable economic growth.