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 enhances the city. The HRA had a busy year helping to provide stabilization and housing opportunities across the entire housing continuum. This includes providing support for community organizations working with people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, rental assistance, affordable housing development, single family rehabilitation and homeownership. The HRA is governed by a five-member board, appointed by the mayor with the approval of City Council, that meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. HRA board meetings are livestreamed on the City’s YouTube channel. For more information about the HRA, visit blm.mn/hra.
Housing stability and rental assistance
In 2021, older adults, medically fragile people and people experiencing housing instability experienced an increasing need for temporary housing options in Bloomington. The reasons for this included socioeconomic status, health, safety and mental health concerns. To provide social services resources, food, street outreach, shelter referral services and housing assistance to those who needed it, the City of Bloomington leveraged state and federal funding and partnered with Bloomington Public Schools and community organizations such as VEAP, Affinity Care MN, Cornerstone, Oasis for Youth, Comunidades Latinas Unidas En Servicio, and St. Stephen’s Human Services.
In 2021, 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.
St. Stephen’s Human Services Street Outreach works with people living outside or in places not meant for human habitation. St. Stephens helps people navigate the various crises that occur without stable housing and meet people where they are to address immediate, basic needs for safety and survival outside, and assist them in their journey toward permanent housing.
Contact Street Outreach through its Community Line at 612-879-7624.
Affordable housing development
In 2021, 569 units spanning four developments were under construction and at varying stages of leasing. Of these new units, 303 have rents that are affordable to households with incomes that fall between 30% and 60% of the area’s median household income. The remaining 266 units are market rate rents. The map, above, shows where these four developments are in Bloomington.
One of the City’s strategic priorities is to increase homeownership opportunities in Bloomington. The City supports this goal by offering education and assistance to first-time and first-generation homeowners. It also prioritizes development of affordable housing stock and offers foreclosure prevention services.
The HRA administers the Rental Homes for Future Homebuyers program. This program provides a five-year track for qualified households to rent a home, owned by the HRA, and escrow a portion of their rent to be used as a down payment in the future purchase of a home. In 2021, two households that participated in HRA-administered programs purchased a home.
The Minnesota Homeownership Center, a statewide nonprofit, provided quantitative data and reporting on impacts of down payment assistance, education and counseling services provided to Bloomington households in 2019 – 2020 and housing related impacts of the global pandemic. The Minnesota Homeownership Center provides homebuyer education, counseling, and foreclosure prevention services in Bloomington through its advisor network.
Home improvement loans
In 2021, the Home Improvement Loan program was put on pause for several months for a comprehensive assessment and update to its policies, procedures and processes. The program started back up at the end of the year with some revisions.
The Home Improvement Loan program provides Bloomington owner-occupied households access to funds to be used for maintaining, repairing and improving their homes. Loans are available in amounts up to $40,000 for eligible home repairs that address health or safety requirements including electrical, heating, plumbing, energy efficiency and exterior improvements.
There are no monthly payments, and the loans accrue interest at an annual rate of 2% for the first 10 years of the 30-year loan term. Homeowners do not have to repay the loan until they sell, transfer title, or the property is no longer their principal place of residence. Program information and electronic application is available online at blm.mn/loans.
Housing Improvement Areas
Town home and condominium homeowner associations that are unable to obtain private financing for improvements to common areas may apply for Housing Improvement Areas financing. Applications are due by March 31, 2022.
Program information and application is available online at blm.mn/hia.