At an Oct. 6 working session, the Monroe County Board of Commissioners and Monroe County Affordable Housing Advisory Commission members discussed the county's approach to increasing the supply of housing.
Two of the three county commissioners – Penny Githens and Lee Jones – attended. Commission Julie Thomas was absent. AHAC members included Cathi Crabtree (chair), Will Smith (vice chair) and Deborah Myerson.
Watch the Oct. 6 discussion on CATS here. It will continue at the next Board of Commissioners' working session on Wednesday, Oct. 13. The working session immediately follows their regular meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. via this Zoom link.
The $270 million Indiana Connectivity Program was launched this week to connect residents and businesses that lack access to broadband internet service with service providers and to assist in the cost of extending broadband to those locations. It is offered by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
To be eligible for the program, a location must either have no access to internet, or access to download speeds less then 25 Mbps and upload speeds less than 3 Mbps. Homeowners and business owners looking to participate in the program can go to the Next Level Connections portal and enter their address and information. They can also call the Indiana Broadband Connect Center during business hours at 833-639-8522.
Click here for more information about the Connectivity Program.
At the July 21 Bloomington Council meeting, results from the 2021 Community Survey were presented. Among the key findings:
Read the full report here. Watch the consultant's presentation to council on CATS here.
United Way of Monroe County, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, and the South Central Housing Network (SCHN) have released the “Heading Home 2021: A Regional Plan for Making Homelessness Rare, Brief, and Non-Repeating.” This plan is intended serve as a community guide to support long-term initiatives in reducing and eliminating regional housing insecurity and homelessness in Monroe County.
The plan focuses on the Housing First model, a broad philosophy to house people impacted by homelessness as quickly as possible. Having stable housing creates a foundation that better equips households to address the underlying issues that resulted in housing insecurity and/or homelessness.
Recommendations include creating two full-time positions, housed initially at the United Way, to help implement the plan. Organizers are seeking funding from the City of Bloomington, Monroe County and other sources.
Read the Heading Home 2021 report here.
At their June 16 meeting, Bloomington City Council unanimously approved a 10-year abatement for the Retreat at Switchyard, a residential development at 1730 S. Walnut St.
The development involves construction of 64 residential units. Of those, 48 units will be devoted to households with low to moderate-incomes for a period of 99 years. Ten of those 48 apartments are set aside for clients of StoneBelt. The five-story building, adjacent to the Switchyard Park east entrance, includes a 3,000-square-foot first-floor retail space. The abatement, which is applicable only to the 48 affordable units, would start at 100% and step down to 5% in year 10.
The developer is Real America. The city's Redevelopment Commission intends to convey the land and structure to Real America for $1. That's a value of about $975,000, according to Alex Crowley, director of the city's Economic & Sustainable Development department.
Watch the council's June 16 deliberations on CATS here. Read abatement-related materials from the council's meeting packet here.
A March panel discussion hosted by the United Way of Monroe County focused on evictions, housing security and local programs that address those issues.
Moderated by Mark Fraley, panelists were Beacon Inc. Rapid Rehousing Coordinator Amy Harrison, Housing & Eviction Prevention Project Coordinator Tonda Radewan, and Monroe Circuit Court IV Judge Catherine Stafford.
Click here to watch a video of the panel discussion.
The City of Bloomington released a housing assessment study that was commissioned in 2019, analyzing the current status of housing stock and identifying goals and actions to take.
A sampling of findings:
Chamber CEO Erin Predmore served on the steering committee for this study.
Click here to read the full report.
On Nov. 6, Bloomington City Councilmembers Susan Sandberg and Chris Sturbaum released the final report of the Affordable Living Committee that they've been working on since 2015.
From the introduction: "This report is not intended to be the authoritative word on affordability in Bloomington. Instead, it is intended to point out the need for a systems view of affordability – a vision that is bigger than just housing. It is our hope that as the community conversation about affordable housing continues to evolve, that it does so mindful of a comprehensive approach to the problem. One that includes, but is not limited to: wages, housing, child care, health care, and food. "
Click here for a copy of the report.