Minneapolis/ Real Estate & Development
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Published on March 01, 2024
Bloomington HRA Expands Homeownership Program Amid Affordable Housing PushSource: Unsplash / Jimmy Dean

Bloomington's Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) is amping up its game to tackle the city's affordable housing shortage head-on, stretching its reach from homeless shelters to homeownership. This year, the HRA has laser-focused on broadening its Housing Choice Voucher Homeownership Program, making it even more accessible for residents to trade their rent bills for mortgage payments.

To keep pace with its fast-growing population, Bloomington's authority has reeled in additional funding, mainly through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The HRA recently took a hard look at its 2022 performance, spotting gaps they aim to fill, and doubling down on services for both renters and aspiring homeowners, according to their latest report.

One slice of innovation comes in the form of "population-specific vouchers," like those for foster youth and veterans, ensuring housing assistance is both targeted and effective. "The HRA currently administers Foster Youth to Independence vouchers and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers," Assistant HRA Administrator Anna Salvador told BloomingtonMN.gov. Expect to see these vouchers integrated into the likes of 700 American Boulevard, a new development aimed at 55+ residents with dedicated affordable housing units.

The HRA isn't just propping up new homes, they're hammering out easier pathways to existing ones, too. Their Rental Homes for Future Homebuyers program is a creative deal where folks can rent a place, save up part of that rent, and use it as a down payment later on. And, with an eye on repairing the wide racial disparity in homeownership rates in Bloomington, they’re rolling up their sleeves and getting to work, Salvador confirmed.

Those looking to give their homes a facelift aren't left out in the cold either. The Home Improvement Loan program offers up to $60,000 for key repairs, keeping the cash repayment-free until the house changes hands or is no longer the homeowner's main pad. It's a slick move aimed at encouraging residents to stick around and invest in their homes, the HRA details.

As for future homeowners, $3.2 million has just been snagged by the HRA to construct 27 affordable single-family homes. Through their Bloomington Affordable Homeownership program, homebuyers earning up to 80% of the area median income could see their purchase costs slashed thanks to this fresh pot of cash that was recently secured.

Bloomington is also setting the stage for financial wellness and community camaraderie with its upcoming Home Fair on April 20. For industry connections, look no further than Valley View Middle School from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., where housing riches await everyone from renters to rookie buyers.

The HRA's blitz to bolster housing options and educate the populace doesn’t stop there, though. They’re marching alongside Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity and the Center for Energy and Environment to serve up home repair for the needy and energy savings for all. With a strategy as comprehensive as its enthusiasm, the HRA is reshaping the housing landscape in Bloomington, brick by brick, policy by policy.