At the February 25 Bloomington City Council meeting, another step was taken to ensure all residents of Bloomington will have access to affordable, dignified and safe housing.
A robust group of supporters were in attendance from 7:00 p.m. until past 10:30 p.m. when the ordinance passed unanimously. A group of 15 stakeholders spoke on the issue, including representatives from VEAP, developers, tenants and housing advocates. There were no opposition speakers.
The “Opportunity Housing Ordinance” creates support for the construction of opportunity housing units, incentives for developers and current owners of affordable rental housing, and additional protections for tenants. This will go into effect in August. While this won’t completely solve the affordable housing crisis, it is another significant step in the right direction. The city will continue to work on opportunities to create more housing options that address the lowest poverty levels.
The health, safety and economic welfare of the present and future residents of Bloomington depends on the availability of a range of housing choices affordable to the working people and families who reside here and those on fixed incomes. Stable, safe and affordable housing has measureable health benefits for persons and families. The city seeks to maintain a balanced community that provides housing for households at all income levels.
This is an innovative, first of its kind ordinance in Hennepin County. Bloomington continues to lead the way for affordable housing innovation and action!
How can you get involved? Join the Bloomington Housing Coalition. Start by following them on Facebook to learn more about events and meetings. You can also contact, via email, Tara Little, VEAP’s Social Services Associate Director with any questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). Tara is also the Chair of the Bloomington Housing Coalition. Bryan Hartman leads the NOAH workgroup, and he can be reached at email@example.com.
From Tara Little:
“My name is Tara Little and I have many roles—I am a former Bloomington renter, a landlord, and the Chair of the Bloomington Housing Coalition, but tonight I am speaking to you thru the lens of the Associate Director of Social Services at VEAP. As an employee of VEAP and tenant advocate for the past 7 years, I am deeply embedded in this community and the housing needs of Bloomington renters. I have had the joy of supporting Bloomington tenants in obtaining affordable housing and the sorrow of watching families relocate, or even become homeless, due to rising rental costs and limited vacancies in our community. These people want to stay here. This is their home. They love Bloomington. They work here, their children attend school here, they attend school here, they volunteer here, they worship here… you get the point. The Opportunity Housing Ordinance should be applauded as a progressive and innovative step in the direction of inclusivity for the Bloomington rental community and economy. I look forward eagerly in anticipation of Bloomington being the first Hennepin County city to pass an ordinance of this caliber.”