The Bloomington Housing and Redevelopment Authority helps provide affordable housing opportunities for those who are not adequately served by the marketplace, coordinates the City’s efforts to preserve existing neighborhoods and promotes development and redevelopment that enhance Bloomington.
The HRA performed an assessment of its work in 2022. As a result, it is focusing on policies, programs and services along the housing continuum. Read about some of the services and programs the HRA provides to help renters, homeowners and homebuyers in Bloomington in this two-page spread. For more information about the resources HRA provides visit blm.mn/hraresources.
Working along the housing continuum
The housing continuum is, at its simplest, the range of housing types available in a community—from emergency shelters on one end, all the way to homeownership on the other. In between lies an assortment of housing options and types, each critically important for different people at different times. See graphic below.
Homeowners who have fallen behind on their mortgage or other eligible housing-related expenses because of the pandemic are eligible to receive assistance for past-due expenses. MN Housing’s HomeHelpMN program is accepting applications. Call 1-800-388-3226 or visit HomeHelpMN.org for more information or to apply.
Foreclosure prevention and counseling
The City is partnering with the Minnesota Homeownership Center to offer the Bloomington Homeownership Preservation Program (BHPP). The program provides support to homeowners within Bloomington who are past due on their mortgage or other housing expenses. The BHPP offers foreclosure prevention advising and limited financial assistance. To determine eligibility, visit hocmn.org/bloomingtonhpp.
Housing choice vouchers
In 2022, more than 650 households were served through rental housing assistance programs administered by the HRA, with the majority served through the federally funded Housing Choice Voucher Rent Assistance Program, more commonly known as Section 8. Learn more at blm.mn/hra.
Household & Outdoor Maintenance (HOME) Program
The City partners with Senior Community Services to provide housekeeping, handyperson tasks, lawn mowing and snow removal, and help with personal technology for Bloomington residents aged 60 or older. For more information, call 952-746-4046, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit seniorcommunity.org/home.
The Energy Assistance Program helps pay for home heating and water costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households. It is a federally funded program. Grants are paid directly to the utility company for the household’s bill. Grants are available to renters and homeowners, and are based on energy cost, household size and income. Learn more at blm.mn/hraresources.
Bridge to Benefits
Bridge to Benefits is a project from the Children’s Defense Fund — Minnesota that aims to improve the well-being of families and individuals by linking them to public work support programs and tax credits. By answering a few questions, you will be able to see if you are eligible. This tool is easy, free, and confidential. Learn more at bridgetobenefits.org.
What to do if you’re experiencing housing instability
The HRA supports four Bloomington nonprofits, listed below, and refers those who would like to access assistance to these organizations. Find additional resources online at blm.mn/hraresources.
VEAP’s mission is: Together we create pathways to stronger, more hopeful communities through access to healthy food, housing stability, and supportive services.
Journey to Homeownership education
The HRA is partnering with Project for Pride in Living to offer educational opportunities about the differences between renting and homeownership throughout the year. Educational sessions are available each month in English, Somali and Spanish. Learn more and view the dates and times at blm.mn/hraresources.
Rental home for future homebuyers
The Rental Homes for Future Homebuyers program provides a five-year track for qualified households to rent a home, owned by the HRA, and escrow a portion of their rent for a down payment in the future purchase of a home. This moves participating families toward homeownership, increases housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income people and preserves existing housing inventory. Learn more at blm.mn/rentalhomes.
Down payment assistance
Bloomington’s Homebuyer Mortgage Assistance (HMA) is a pilot down-payment assistance program for income-eligible households. To prioritize disadvantaged communities that experience barriers to obtaining homeownership, applicants must complete financial and homebuyer counseling, provided through partner organizations Minnesota Homeownership Center, Twin Cities Urban League and Minnesota Housing Homeownership Capacity Program. The HMA is administered by NeighborWorks Home Partners, nwhomepartners.org. The HMA program will help inform a permanent Bloomington down-payment assistance program.
A Brush with Kindness
Habitat for Humanity’s A Brush with Kindness program offers weatherization assistance, energy-efficiency upgrades, resources for aging homeowners and more in the seven-county metro area. The program is also accepting applications for a limited time to help homeowners address critical tree care needs, including trees affected by Emerald Ash Borer. Projects will be considered on a first-come, first-served basis, with priority given to homeowners who have received citations from their city requiring tree removal. Learn more at home.tchabitat.org/home-repair.
Housing and Environmental Loan Program
The Housing and Environmental Loan Program provides qualifying owner-occupied households in Bloomington the ability to access forgivable loan funds for emergency repairs without completing a full-scale rehabilitation project or signing a long-term repayment agreement. Eligible repairs include systems red-flagged by a utility company, orders of violation or requirement for immediate repair of health or safety items by City of Bloomington. Learn more at blm.mn/loans.
Home improvement loans
The Home Improvement Loan program provides Bloomington owner-occupied households the ability to access funds to maintain, repair and improve their homes. Loans are available up to $40,000 for eligible home repairs that address health and safety requirements including electrical, heating, plumbing, energy efficiency and exterior improvements. Homeowners do not have to repay the loan until they sell, transfer title, or the property is no longer their principal place of residence. Learn more at blm.mn/loans.
Home Energy Squad
The City partners with the Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) to help residents save energy and money on utility bills through Home Energy Squad Enhanced visits. The CEE’s team of trusted energy consultants will visit homes in Bloomington, evaluate energy savings opportunities, and install energy-efficient materials. The Home Energy Squad Enhanced visit also qualifies homeowners for CEE’s 2.99% energy financing. The City buys down the cost of the visit to $50 for residents. Learn more at blm.mn/hes.
Homes Within Reach
In partnership with the City, Homes Within Reach—West Hennepin Affordable Housing Land Trust purchases and rehabilitates at least two houses per year in Bloomington to create and preserve affordable homeownership opportunities. Current homeowners may sell their home to Homes Within Reach, if they choose. Since 2016, the City has partnered for the success of 12 first-time homebuyers in Bloomington. Learn more at HomesWithinReach.org.
Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity
Through partnership with the City, Habitat for Humanity Twin Cities constructs, rehabilitates and finances homes to provide long-term affordable homeownership opportunities to qualified low-to moderate-income households. Since 1997, the City has partnered with Habitat for Humanity to provide homes to 18 first-time homebuyers in Bloomington. Current homeowners may sell their home to Habitat for Humanity, if they choose. Learn more at tchabitat.org.