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City of Bloomington, Habitat for Humanity partner on new affordable housing


Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton and Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County Chief Executive Officer Wendi Goodlett chat at the ceremony in Habitat's Trail View neighborhood Wednesday announcing the partnership between the City and HFHMC to launch Osage Place. The neighborhood will create about 50 affordable homes. Courtesy Photo

A partnership between the City of Bloomington and Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County will create about 50 affordable homes in the Osage Place neighborhood in the next five years, city spokesperson Yael Ksander said.

Mayor John Hamilton and HFHMC Chief Executive Officer Wendi Goodlett announced the project May 15 at a public reception in the Trail View neighborhood, according to a city press release. Osage Place will be west of South Rockport Road and South Rogers Street.

Habitat for Humanity is a global nonprofit housing organization that aims to eliminate poverty by partnering with families in need to build affordable homes. The Monroe County affiliate has housed nearly 700 people, including almost 400 children, since it was founded in 1988, according to its website.

“They have a really great track record locally and nationally,” Ksander said.

The partnership will create an affordable housing neighborhood, Osage Place, on eight acres of undeveloped land HFHMC owns on the southwest side of Bloomington, Ksander said.

The city will provide 45% of infrastructure costs for the homes, which is about $800,000 of a near $1.8 million total, Ksander said.

The homes will be available to people who have household incomes between 25 and 80% of area median income, according to the release. Median household income for Monroe County residents between 2013 and 2017 was $45,689, according to the United States Census Bureau.  

Half of the homes will remain affordable for at least 20 years, Ksander said. If an original owner sells their house within 20 years, HFHMC will buy the house and resell it to someone who meets the income requirements. If the organization does not buy it, the city will.

Owners will be allowed to sell the homes at market cost after 20 years.

The partnership also requires that half of Osage Place homes stay in the Habitat program for at least 30 years, according to the release.

The neighborhood is 1.5 miles from downtown and two blocks from Switchyard Park, which is scheduled to be fully completed by 2020. The park will include a playground, splash pad, outdoor performance space, courts, fitness stations and more activity spaces.

The neighborhood is also near Bloomington Transit, further reducing cost barriers.

“Housing affordability is directly related to transportation costs,” Hamilton said at the event. “If you live a considerable commute from your place of work, what you might save in housing prices can often be lost to the cost of maintaining a vehicle, not to mention valuable time spent on the road. And dispersal of population leads to sprawl, increasing our carbon footprint and eroding our social fabric.”

Ksander said infrastructure construction is scheduled to begin early next year. She estimated the project will break ground near the end of 2020 or early 2021 with the hope of completing the homes in five years.

“Developing our third Habitat neighborhood is vital for us to continue providing homeownership opportunities to deserving families who qualify for our program,” Goodlett said in a statement after the announcement. “All who support Habitat are helping to make Bloomington a place that everyone can call home.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misstated the location of the new neighborhood. The affordable homes will go in the Osage Place neighborhood, which will be west of South Rockport Road and South Rogers Street. . The IDS regrets this error.

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