U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Located south of Indianapolis, Bloomington, Indiana, is home to the main campus of Indiana University. The city has been recognized as one of the "top 10 places to retire" and as one of the "top 10 college towns" in the country.

Action Plan

For the first year of the Consolidated Plan, Bloomington expects to receive about $1.7 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) funds. Some of the key projects being funded include infrastructure improvements, emergency home repairs, construction of rental housing, and various social services.

Citizen Participation

Bloomington drew on its history of citizen activism while developing the Consolidated Plan. The city receives input from the Citizens Advisory Committee, which recommends CDBG allocations.

On December 1, 1994, the city held a public hearing to explain the planning process and to solicit input about the Consolidated Plan. On April 26, 1995, the city sponsored another hearing to receive input on the draft plan, which had been available for a 30-day public review period. In between these two public hearings many individual meetings with affected agencies, consumer groups, and service providers were conducted by the Redevelopment staff.


In 1990 Bloomington had a population of 60,633, with students comprising nearly half of that figure. In 1991 Indiana University students spent an estimated $48 million in the area.

Major employers include the university, General Electric, Thomson Consumer Electronics, and Otis Elevator. Although the economy is relatively stable, low-paying jobs are very common. Nearly 9,000 workers commute to Bloomington and Monroe County from other nearby towns and counties. The city's per capita income is $10,616.


Housing Needs

The 1990 census reported that nearly 850 owner-occupied housing units had some form of physical defect. Although the city's owner-occupied rehabilitation program upgrades homes to ensure that they comply with current codes, the program can rehabilitate only 12 to 15 units per year, depending on available funding levels.

Cost burdens are a serious problem for families and elderly households who rent, forcing them to spend more than 30 percent of their gross income for housing expenses. Critical needs include preserving current subsidized units and building new units that will have guaranteed affordable rental prices. However, several subsidized complexes are eligible for prepayment during the next few years and may become market-rate housing.

Greater opportunities for affordable homeownership also are needed. In addition to traditional homeownership, potential forms of homeownership could include cooperatively owned mobile home parks, cooperatively owned singe-family residences, multifamily units, and expansion of existing land trusts to include scattered sites.

Market Conditions

Up to one half of Indiana University students live off campus, reducing the supplies of affordable housing and land suitable for construction. The city has about 22,000 housing units, and approximately 13,000 of these are rental units. The vacancy rate is nearly 4 percent for rental units and 5 percent for owner-occupied units.

The market for moderately priced homes is extremely tight. In 1994 the median price of a home, which rose each quarter, was $90,000. Of all homes sold during the first quarter of 1994, 21 percent cost between $40,000 and $69,999. Only 4 percent of the homes cost less than $40,000.

Median monthly rental rates also rose, increasing by 96 percent since 1980.

Homeless Needs

There are between 2,500 and 4,000 homeless persons in the Bloomington-Monroe County area. Although the number of homeless persons is growing, the resources available to help them are either static or shrinking. Homeless families have the greatest need. In 1994 Shelters, Inc., served 80 single-parent families and 49 two-parent families. During that same time, another 147 families applied to Shelter, Inc., but were turned away.

The most pressing need is to maintain existing emergency shelter facilities. Shelter, Inc., which is the city's primary emergency shelter, has the capacity to house 30 homeless individuals. Shelter, Inc. places the homeless families in houses scattered throughout Bloomington, but the agency does not have permanent control over these houses because they are either leased or borrowed. In 1994 owners removed two houses from the emergency housing inventory, reducing the number of families that the agency can help.

Bloomington needs transitional housing. Because families are beginning to stay in emergency shelters for extended periods of time, these facilities are becoming make-shift transitional housing operations. However, emergency shelters do not offer the support services that traditionally accompany transitional housing.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

The city has 312 public housing units, and all available units are occupied. Nearly 2,100 families appear on the waiting list, with the wait lasting for more than 1 year. Although approximately 800 families receive Section 8 rental assistance from either certificates or vouchers, the city will not be offering any new certificates or vouchers, and the Section 8 waiting list is closed.

Bloomington has 4 subsidized housing complexes containing 610 family units. These complexes are scheduled for prepayment during the next few years, and the city does not know if it will lose any of the available units.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Bloomington uses numerous policies and ordinances to ensure a safe housing stock, including land use controls, zoning ordinances, and building codes. Some of these policies and ordinances may affect affordable housing.

Land use controls guarantee that land will be used to its fullest potential, and land uses are often restricted because of environmental concerns or because of neighborhood and historic preservation. Bloomington does not maintain any land use controls that negatively affect affordable housing.

Zoning ordinances govern density, setback distances, parking allocations, sidewalks, road width, landscaping, and allowed uses. Many of these requirements increase construction costs. The city has revised its zoning ordinance and has included provisions intended to stimulate the production of affordable housing.

Building and rental housing codes ensure that homes have a sound and safe structure. Various codes govern the square footage per bedroom, the square footage of ventilation and light per room, the number of persons allowed in a bedroom, and the number of persons allowed in one house. Some of these restrictions, such as limitations on the number of people allowed per house, can create barriers to affordable housing.

Other barriers that have a greater impact include low vacancy rates, insufficient vacant lots, high demand for housing, affordable housing occupied by university students, and low-wage employment.

Fair Housing

To affirmatively advance fair housing, Bloomington will analyze impediments to fair housing choice and take appropriate actions to overcome them.

Lead-Based Paint

The city has examined the incidence of lead-based paint in the housing stock, using recent census data and guidelines provided by the National Center for Lead Safe Housing. The city also has consulted with the Monroe County Public Health Nursing Association and the Monroe County Department of Health.

An estimated 6,991 low-income rental units and 2,227 low-income owner-occupied homes contain lead-based paint. Of homes built before 1940, approximately 2,450 contain lead- based paint.

The Public Health Nursing Association screens children for lead poisoning and provides information and marketing programs that educate the public about the dangers of lead- based paint. The Health Department can require lead-hazard abatement only in rental units, not in owner-occupied units. The Health Department can provide only guidance and information to homeowners. The Health Department needs a comprehensive database that identifies at-risk units, particularly those units housing young children.

Other Issues

Indiana Care provides Bloomington with rental assistance for households of persons with HIV/AIDS. The majority of the Care Coordination site's 100 clients need some form of housing assistance.

The existing detoxification and residential treatment facilities for substance abusers need to include space for women with children. The concern is that some women may not seek treatment because the facilities are unable to accommodate their children. The local agency operating the current facility has just secured a location for a women's facility that is expected to open in 1996.

Persons with mental illness also have special needs. Local service providers stress the need to provide group homes for mentally ill persons who have been released from institutions but are unprepared to cope with the private housing market. The Redevelopment Department has awarded 1995-1996 CDBG funds to assist in the acquisition of a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) home that will be used as permanent housing for clients of the South Central Mental Health Center.

Community Development Needs

Child-care centers are a major public facility need. The city has an overabundance of low- wage jobs and an insufficient number of affordable day care options.

The city has identified the need for additional youth facilities as well as neighborhood and park facilities. Development of additional parks and neighborhood centers would help to stabilize deteriorating neighborhoods while providing another outlet for youth activities.

Major infrastructure needs include sidewalk, street, and sewer improvements. The city operates a curb and sidewalk program, which is underfunded. The city needs double or triple the amount of money currently available.

Bloomington has identified numerous service needs, including services for youth and the disabled, child-care and substance abuse services, employment training, and health services. Senior services and fair housing activities also are needed.

The city's key economic development needs include more infrastructure and land, especially for industrial use. Infrastructure costs often are high because of topographical considerations, and prices for existing land are higher than the prices in adjoining communities. The city has identified commercial development needs, such as microbusiness and technical assistance.


Antipoverty Strategy

Bloomington's strategy for reducing poverty involves education and economic development. By redesigning high schools, technical schools, and higher education efforts to meet the needs expressed by area employers, the city hopes to make employing residents more attractive to local businesses. Another antipoverty strategy is to diversify the economy, creating and nurturing businesses that compete in the global economy rather than the local market and reducing dependence on a few large employers, concentrated in the ever shrinking manufacturing sector.

Housing and Community Development Resources

Financial resources needed to implement the Consolidated Plan will come primarily from the CDBG and HOME programs. In addition Bloomington's Redevelopment Department has a small tax-based budget of nearly $256,000. These funds are allocated mostly to economic development activities not eligible for CDBG funds. Other potential financial sources include competitive grants or tax-based resources from the city's Affordable Housing Fund.

The city has received a HOPWA grant for $75,000 for the 1995-1996 program year that will be combined with local HOME funds to build a residential facility for persons with AIDS. The city has created an affordable housing trust fund, which will provide a new resource. Government representatives and the Coalition of Homeless and Low Income Citizens, the Housing Network, and the Bloomington Community Foundation have developed the proposal for this fund. The trust fund will be available for profit and nonprofit low-income housing developers. To complement the housing trust fund, the city is creating a package of incentives for low-income housing developers.

Coordination of the Strategic Plan

Bloomington's Redevelopment Department is responsible for implementing its housing and community development activities. Other city departments that participate in these activities include: the Planning Department, which is responsible for administrating the city's growth policies and its zoning ordinance and the Engineering Department and Code Enforcement Division, which are responsible for reviewing and enforcing building codes, development standards, and rental housing inspections. The city's Utilities Department is responsible for providing sanitary sewer and water facilities. These departments collaborate with each other as well as the mayor's office, developers, and the public to provide a framework for implementing housing and community development activities.


Description of Key Projects

The city expects to receive nearly $1.7 million in funds for the 1995 program year. These funds will be used for the following key projects:


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.

MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.

MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.

MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within another of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.

MAP 9 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Bloomington's Consolidated Plan, please contact Mr. Chris Spiek, Executive Director, Department of Redevelopment, at 812-349-3401.
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