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.
On June 16, Bloomington Council approved a new ordinance requiring landlords to sign and maintain an affidavit listing occupants of their rental properties. Tenants must also sign. The law applies to buildings with four or fewer units.
The original proposal, which council amended, was submitted by the city's Housing & Neighborhood Development (HAND) department and would have required the document be turned into the city. It also would have required tenants to disclose their relationship with each other. Questions about privacy issues prompted revision of the ordinance.
The affidavit is intended to help the city track compliance with occupancy limits. Certain zoning districts set a limit of three unrelated adults who can live in a rental unit. Watch the council's June 16 deliberations on CATS here.
An ordinance requiring landlords and tenants to sign annual occupancy affidavits was postponed by Bloomington Council to their June 16 meeting.
The ordinance, intended to better monitor occupancy for smaller residential rentals, would require disclosure of the relationship between tenants (family or unrelated), as well as contact information and signatures. Non-compliance could result in fines and possible felony charges.
John Zody, director of the city's Housing & Neighborhood Development department, said that the ordinance is a priority for the administration. Mark Figg, president of the Monroe County Apartment Association, expressed concerns and said landlords hadn't been aware that this ordinance was in the works.
Watch the June 2 council deliberations on CATS here. Read the relevant meeting materials 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 following press release was issued by the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce to oppose the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 regarding homeless encampments:
Based on overwhelming feedback from members, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes the proposed Bloomington Council Ordinance 21-06 that would allow encampments in public parks for extended periods.
“Over the past year we’ve heard increasing complaints and deep concerns voiced by members of the business community regarding encampments at Seminary Park and elsewhere,” said Erin Predmore, the Chamber’s president and CEO. “We must find an alternative way to support the needs of houseless residents that does not negatively impact local businesses, the jobs they provide, and the broader community.”
The 2021 Chamber State Legislative Preview will be held virtually from noon-1:30 on Friday, Jan. 15. We’ll hear from state legislators who represent all or parts of Bloomington/Monroe County, who’ll share their insights and answer questions about the 2021 Indiana General Assembly session.
We’ll also unveil the Chamber’s 2021 Local Advocacy Agenda and State/Federal Legislative Agenda, which will shape our advocacy efforts in the coming year.
Click here to register. We hope you’ll join us!
The All IN 4 Democracy Coalition – a campaign to provide Indiana citizens a redistricting process that will be transparent and serve the public interest – is seeking applicants for the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC).
The nine-member bipartisan commission will:
The application deadline is Jan. 4. Click here for more details and to apply.
The City of Bloomington has released a report looking at digital equity among city residents. The report is intended to guide development of the city's digital equity strategic plan.
Among the findings:
Click here to read the report.
Bloomington Council is holding its 2021 budget hearings from Aug. 17 through Aug. 20. All sessions start at 6 p.m. Here’s the lineup:
MONDAY, 8/17: Zoom link
Overview, HR, Clerk, Legal, IT, Council, Controller, Mayor
TUESDAY 8/18: Zoom link
Fire and Police
WEDNESDAY 8/19: Zoom link
Public Transit, Housing Authority, HAND, Economic & Sustainable Development, Community & Family Resources, Parks & Rec
THURSDAY 8/20: Zoom link
Utilities, Planning & Transportation, Engineering (new department), Public Works (includes animal control, parking, street/traffic, etc.)
The 338-page budget book with more materials is posted here.
A lively discussion on the proposed local income tax increase was the focus of the March 6 WFIU Noon Edition. Panelists included Mary Morgan, the Chamber's Director of Advocacy & Public Policy; Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton; Bloomington City Councilmember Matt Flaherty; and Ellettsville Town Councilmember William Ellis.
Click here to listen.
The panel was moderated by WFIU's Bob Zaltsberg and Sara Wittmeyer, who also took questions from listeners calling in or emailing.
The Chamber has not yet taken a position on the income tax proposal, as few details have been provided about how the money would be spent in the proposed Sustainability Investment Fund. We continue to advocate for transparency and accountability in all aspects of government, as well as for broad public engagement in decision-making.
Director of Advocacy & Public Policy