Bloomington Chosen for NLC Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum
Katie Simpson, City Planner
Bloomington Chosen for NLC Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum to Address Health and Wellbeing of Residents
As part of a national effort to support safe and healthy housing for all city residents, Bloomington has been chosen as one of 6 cities to join the National League of Cities (NLC) Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum.
“With impassioned citizens, concerned organizations, and established community anchors, the City of Bloomington will make excellent use of the opportunities this grant provides,” says Mayor Tari Renner.
In the short term, Bloomington aims to identify and prioritize top housing health issues by understanding the quality of existing housing stock. The City hopes to create and implement a targeted, healthy housing strategy in cooperation with community partners that promotes collective impact and preserves the community’s naturally affordable housing. The City’s long-term goals for healthy housing are to further cooperate and coordinate with local anchor institutions and to learn and employ best practices for engaging developers to improve affordable housing options for residents.
Where we live impacts how well we live. This is particularly true when it comes to housing quality. Americans in cities across the country live in housing that is making them sick. Lead-based paint, dust, mold and pests endanger the health of all residents, but are especially detrimental to children. Health hazards found in housing can result in lead-poisoning and asthma, both of which severely hamper childhood success and can be fatal if untreated.
The Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum is a platform for city leaders to advance solutions to housing quality challenges in their communities. City leaders are well positioned to address health hazards in housing. Cross-systems collaborations, which are needed to meet the needs of families impacted by unsafe housing, can effectively take place at the city level. Code enforcement, rent withholding mechanisms, civic engagement, data-sharing and landlord resources are some of the other key tools city leaders can use to tackle healthy housing challenges.
With the generous support of The JPB Foundation, the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families is launching this pilot to help city leaders develop and implement robust, integrated action plans for their communities. Informed by peer learning and engagement with national experts, participating cities will build on existing assets and partnerships to advance healthy housing in their communities.
The six cities will come together this December in Charlotte, North Carolina to advance their work together, and NLC will broadly disseminate insights and learnings from the convening. Each city team will also participate in the 3rd Annual HUD National Convening on Housing, Hazards, and Health to engage with a larger group of approximately twenty cities. Through ongoing peer learning opportunities and technical assistance, the six cities in the Forum will share, develop, and act upon strategies to ensure that every resident has a safe and healthy place to call home.
In addition to Bloomington, the five other cities making up the NLC Healthy Housing City Leaders’ Forum are Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Charlotte, North Carolina; Detroit, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; and Jersey City, New Jersey.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. The Institute for Youth, Education, and Families, a special entity within the National League of Cities, helps municipal leaders take action on behalf of the children, youth, and families in their communities.