Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Susie Johonson, Director of Hand

GANA Speaker Series
Susie Johnson
HAND Director

7:00 pm, January 25, 2006

Susie Johnson, Director of HAND (Department of Housing and Neighborhood Development), handed out brochures and told us about a number of programs for which some Green Acres residents might qualify. The following four programs are all possible through a direct entitlement from HUD (Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development). They offer grants and loans for housing initiatives to people whose income falls within current HUD guidelines to sustain and develop neighborhoods within Bloomington city limits.

Purchase Rehabilitation Program: A loan program that helps people purchase homes in need of repair. HAND will offer down payment and closing cost assistance up to $5,000. For rehabs, they will help determine what needs to be done, receive bids and select a contractor, and work with the project from start to finish. They will also assist financially by providing a deferred second mortgage with no payment or interest if the owner stays 15 years.

HAND offers a regularly scheduled 14-hour class called Home Buyers Club that teaches people how to purchase a home. Income-eligible graduates may be able to access up to $3000 in down payment and closing cost assistance (for the next class, see schedule on their website:

Owner-Occupied Home Rehabilitation Program: two types of grants of up to $7,500: 1) the Emergency Home Repair Program for emergency repairs that includes, for example, roof leaks, an inoperable or unsafe furnace, electrical malfunctions, roof leaks; and 2) Home Modifications for Accessible Living, for example, ramps, doorway ad hallway widening, handles and grip bars in bathrooms, additional lighting in kitchens.

So, if you know of an elderly or otherwise handicapped neighbor who might need HAND's help, please talk with them about this program that helps them be able to stay in their own homes as long as possible.

HAND also has a Rental Rehab Program for owners who rent their homes, a $1 for $1 loan, if the owner rents to a low-income family for five years.

(Unfortunately, HAND's HUD allocation for 2006 includes a $102,000 cut from 2005 (about 10%).)

HAND also

  • has a Rental Inspection Program: registered rentals are inspected every three to five years.
  • works with tenant complaints against landlords and landlord complaints against tenants (though they advocate people solving their disputes themselves, if possible).
  • issues weed and trash tickets (contact Jo Stong:
  • provides staff support to Bloomington Historic Preservation Committee.
  • provides Clean-Up grants.
  • provides Small and Simple grants (one of which Georgia Schaich and Sabrina Grossman will be attempting to get for GANA by the March due date).

Ann Kreilkamp

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