Bloomington is piloting a program to attract firefighters to live within the community they serve. The city is offering new housing incentives, including rental assistance and help with a down payment on a house.
Similar housing incentives were announced in May for the Bloomington Police Department.
The incentives include $750 monthly rent assistance, beginning at the start of employment, for firefighters that rent a residence within the city. There is also a $18,000 one-time down payment assistance for firefighters that purchase a residence within the city after a probationary year.
The city says when firefighters live in the city, it reduces crucial travel time in the event of an emergency. The program is also intended to attract and retain firefighters.
“This pilot program is a huge opportunity for our current and future firefighters to live in the community that they serve,” said BFD Chief Jason Moore. “This investment is a unique pilot program that we believe will be a step in the right direction towards keeping Bloomington Fire Department a top-quality, competitive organization.”
These incentives are funded in part through the city’s Recover Forward initiative and the newly approved Local Income Tax increase by the City Council.
“We’ve already had examples where off-duty firefighters have helped respond to and resolve emergency situations,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “We welcome firefighters and their families to enjoy the great quality of life in Bloomington. These incentives are an investment in public safety and in the community as a whole.”