At a Tuesday press conference held on the back porch of the Bloomington Housing Authority’s community center on Summit Street, some new information was announced about support from the federal government for local housing programs.
Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, also announced that in July he’d be making a request of the city council to support housing initiatives, through an extra appropriation for the 2021 budget year.
The mayor’s request will be for a “multi-million dollar” investment of Bloomington’s allocation of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. Bloomington’s total amount of basic ARPA funds is around $22 million.
In other news announced on Tuesday, Bloomington Housing Authority executive director Amber Skoby said BHA is one of 700 housing authorities across the country that is receiving 28 new emergency vouchers. The vouchers are for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness, at risk of homelessness, fleeing, or attempting to flee domestic violence or who were recently homeless.
The emergency vouchers will be available starting July 1.
The city’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) director, John Zody, prefaced his remarks by noting that last year Bloomington had received $250,000 in additional CDBG funds, to help respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Zody announced that another $650,000 in pandemic-related CDBG funds will be made available for applications starting next week.
An additional fresh set of housing funds was announced by Zody. Bloomington will get an additional $1.6 million through the American Rescue Plan.
The money can be used specifically for the preservation or production of affordable housing, tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services including homeless prevention services, and housing counseling, Zody said. No final guidance from the feds on the use of the extra $1.6 million has been provided, Zody said.
Also at Tuesday’s press conference, Tina Peterson (Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County) and Efrat Feferman (United Way of Monroe County) gave an update on their work to build a coalition to establish needed collaboration and coordination for the countywide area, to create a sustainable strategy to reduce housing insecurity and prevent homelessness.