The City of Bloomington began construction on the Arlington Park Development, an income restricted housing complex that will be located on Bloomington's northwest side and will contain 344 rental units.
The City of Bloomington held a ribbon cutting ceremony Oct. 13 for the Arlington Park Development on a 41-acre site that contains 45 shovel ready lots, meaning workers can be employed and began construction, according to the City of Bloomington. Bloomington City Council and Mayor John Hamilton approved the Arlington Park Development in March 2020.
Director of real estate development for the Bloomington Housing Authority, Nathan Ferreira, said the Arlington Park Development is the first Community Land Trust project. He said the units will be restricted to individuals and families who have higher incomes than those who are eligible for federally subsidized affordable housing but still struggle to find housing. To qualify, the household income would have to be between $42,533 and $63,799, according to Indiana Public Media.
A non-profit subsidiary of the Bloomington Housing Authority, Summit Hill Community Development Corporation (SHCDC), will take ownership of the lots and work with developers of affordable housing. The Community Land Trust, established by SHCDC, will oversee the development.
Bloomington Transit will also expand Route 10 to allow bus services to the area, according to the City of Bloomington.
Ferreria said they are estimating the development will be completed at the end of 2026.
Ferreria said that Bloomington is facing a housing crisis. He said that there is not enough housing for how many people are in Bloomington and want to live here.
According to the U.S. Census, the median household income in Bloomington is $41,995. Median sale prices for homes jumped from $167,000 to $217,00 in 2019 and are still rising.
According to an IDS article, a Point in Time Count found that 335 people were homeless in Monroe County in 2021.
According to a study from 2020, Bloomington will need an additional 2,592 housing units to support the population growth over the next decade, including several units of rental and mortgage housing.
“Working people keep getting priced out of the city,” Ferriera said. “People who work here have to keep living further and further away from the city.”
Director of Housing and Neighborhood Authority John Zody said the City of Bloomington is trying to conquer the housing crisis in Bloomington. He said that the city approaches the crisis in three areas: housing security, rental housing and homeownership.
Zody said they are focusing on housing security with the Arlington Park Development because many residents are paying more for housing than their monthly income.
“People simply do not have enough money to do other things,” Zody said. “Housing insecurity can make you homeless.”
Zody said they have been working with Heading Home of South Central Indiana, an organization that focuses on reducing homelessness in order to strengthen housing security.
About two-thirds of Bloomington residents are renters, and rent is unaffordable, Zody said.
The 2020 study found the greatest shortage of units is for households that make below $25,000. They found that students who receive housing assistance through parents or student loans make up a small portion of this population, and making up housing for this specific market is the most challenging.
Zody said that HAND is working on a project for rental housing, Hopewell neighborhood. This neighborhood will have multiple rental homes and is being built where the old IU hospital used to be located on West Second Street.
The city is also focusing on helping people who would like to purchase their first-time home, go from an apartment to a house or seek home repairs.
Zody said the Arlington Park Development will be one of a kind for the city. He said that many people fall between the cracks with making a higher income and not being able to afford a house.
“Just because someone makes a high income doesn’t mean they can afford housing,” Zody said. “The working needs housing.”
Applications for Arlington Park houses are now open. To obtain an application, people must attend an information session to make sure they understand if they qualify for a house. Interested applicants can email info@shdc to inquire about information sections.