McLean County Housing Data Dashboard


The Bloomington Normal Regional Housing Study (BN Home), completed in 2017, identified housing gaps and opportunities in Bloomington-Normal and McLean County. As the first step, it recommended establishing an inter-jurisdictional Advisory Committee to oversee the implementation of the Plan. The Regional Housing Advisory Committee, established in 2018, is a first of its kind effort in the community to address housing issues regionally and comprehensively for people of all ages, incomes, and abilities. One of the purposes of the Committee is to gather housing-related data and track changes on a continual basis. 

The purpose of this dashboard is to paint a picture of the Bloomington Normal region's housing elements including demographics of residents, general data on housing units and costs, affordability and housing options for persons experiencing homelessness. 

This dashboard is designed to be used by stakeholders such as elected officials, city staff, housing providers, and community development professionals to make data-driven decisions.

Note: This story is considered Version 1.0. We will continue to work on enhancements and improvements


Understanding certain demographic trends is key to planning for the future housing needs of a region. As demographics change over time, so do the types of housing required to meet the needs of the region's population.

The median divides the income distribution into two equal parts: one-half of the cases falling below the median income and one-half above the median. For households and families, the median income is based on the distribution of the total number of households and families including those with no income.

The householder refers to the person (or one of the people) in whose name the housing unit is owned or rented.

The American Community Survey (ACS) attempts to capture six aspects of disability (hearing difficulty, cognitive difficulty, ambulatory difficulty, self-care difficulty or independent living difficulty), which can be used together to create an overall disability measure, or independently to identify populations with specific disability types.

To determine a person's poverty status, one compares the person’s total family income in the last 12 months with the poverty threshold appropriate for that person's family size and composition. Persons with incomes below 100% of the poverty level are considered to be "living in poverty" by federal standards.

Connect Transit Bus in Uptown Normal

The right side of the graphs shows the income distribution for those living with a disability. Note that individuals living with a disability are almost eight percent more likely to live below the poverty line.

Source: Census ACS 5-Year Estimates, Table S1811.

Basic Housing Statistics

Along with demographic data, information on housing costs, tenure and market trends are used to track changes in a region's housing economy. 

Heartland Village in Normal

Gross rent provides information on the monthly housing cost plus utility expenses for renters. 

Source: Census ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B25064

Photo By: Transunion ©

Due to each government body’s different classification definitions for permits and permitting requirements vary across each entity, there is no direct comparison for residential permits between each geographic area. See BN Vitals Data Dictionary for list of project types included in each geography's permit calculations.

Homes for sale throughout McLean County

The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines cost-burdened families as those “who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing” and “may have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.” 

Definition Source: HUD

Data Source: Census ACS 5-Year Estimates Table B25106, B25095

Source: Census ACS 5-Year Estimates Table DP04

Note: Pre-1940 Housing Units total 10,432 or 14.5% of total housing mix.

Historic home near Franklin Park in Bloomington

Affordable Housing

An adequate supply of quality, safe, affordable housing is an important part of any region's housing stock. The concept of affordable housing is complicated and multi-dimensional. Its central principal is that a community’s housing stock should align with the economic status of people seeking housing. Ideally, people at every income bracket will find a selection of housing options that answer their needs but do not demand so much of their income that it limits the household’s ability to obtain other necessities.

Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are gross rent estimates. They include the shelter rent plus the cost of all tenant-paid utilities, except telephones, cable or satellite television service, and internet service. Fair Market Rent (FMR) is defined as the 40th percentile of rents paid by recent movers (renters who moved in the last 24 months) in a given FMR area. Source: HUD Fair Market Rent Documentation System

Bloomington Housing Authority sign near Wood Hill Towers

Public housing units are owned and managed by the local Public Housing Authority (PHA). Income requirements vary, but most units are targeted to households below 50% AMI. Households pay 30% of their income in rent, and the difference between the tenant payment and the actual rent is then covered by an operating subsidy that HUD provides the Housing Authority. 

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, "Income-Qualified Housing in McLean County"

The federal government (HUD) provides Housing Choice Vouchers to low-income and very-low-income individuals and households to find decent, affordable housing in the private market. Housing Choice Vouchers are administered by the local PHA.

In general, a household’s income must not exceed 50% of the area median income for the area in which the household chooses to live in order to be eligible for a Housing Choice Voucher. Through the voucher, the PHA will pay the balance of a rent payment that exceeds 30% of a renter’s monthly income. In McLean County, there are between 650-680 vouchers at any given time.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy"Income-Qualified Housing in McLean County"

The primary source of development funding for creating and maintaining affordable housing is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), a competitive federal tax credit that subsidizes the acquisition, construction and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households. The equity raised from the sale of these tax credit reduces the amount of operating revenue needed to keep the development financially feasible, thus allowing for below market rents. LIHTC units can be reserved for different income levels, but are typically restricted to households at 50%–60% of the area median income. Maximum rents are equal to 30% of the target income level.

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, "Income-Qualified Housing in McLean County"   

Project-Based Section 8 Rental Assistance (PBRA) is a public-private partnership to build and maintain affordable rental units for low-income persons. Housing and Urban Development Authority (HUD) provides private owners of rental housing either a long-term PBRA contract, a subsidized mortgage, or in some cases both, to make units affordable. PBRA makes up thedifference between market rents and what low-income tenants can afford based on paying 30 percent of household income for rent. In order to qualify for a unit, a household’s income may not exceed 80% of the local area median income, 

Source: Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, "Income-Qualified Housing in McLean County"   

Annual income required is based on HUD fair market rents (FMRs), which are the Department’s best estimate of what a family moving today can expect to pay for a modest rental home in a specific area.. Affordability in this report is consistent with the federal standard that no more than 30% of a household’s gross income should be spent on rent and utilities. 

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) 

West Bloomington Navigation Sign Post

Downpayment assistance from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago gives future homeowners easy-to-access down payment and closing cost assistance to help income-eligible home buyers achieve homeownership. This includes Downpayment Plus (DPP®) and Downpayment Plus Advantage® (DPP Advantage®). Eligible households must have annualized incomes of less than or equal to 80% of HUD area median income (AMI).

Source: Federal Housing Bank of Chicago

Photo By: Transunion ©

Statistics on Homelessness

For persons who have little or no income, there may be no housing available and they turn to living on the street. Social Service agencies work with persons experiencing homelessness to place them in permanent housing and then supply them with support services to enable them to remain in the units. However, the homeless population is fluid. As individuals move beyond their homeless condition other individuals experience homelessness. Service providers are shifting their philosophy from managing homelessness to ending homelessness through prevention for those at risk. This is achieved through a coordinated access process that includes assessment, permanent supportive housing, community supports, and rapid re-housing.

The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse individuals experiencing homelessness and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by individuals experiencing homelessness and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

Source: HUD


After - Images by Habitat for Humanity of McClean County

Habitat for Humanity's ReStore in West Bloomington

HUD defines the term "permanent housing" as community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible. "Transitional housing" is a project that is designed to provide housing and appropriate supportive services to persons experiencing homelessness to facilitate movement to independent living. The housing is short-term, typically less than 24 months. "Rapid re-housing" is an intervention designed to help individuals and families that don't need intensive and ongoing supports to quickly exit homelessness and return to permanent housing. Permanent housing is defined as community-based housing without a designated length of stay in which formerly homeless individuals and families live as independently as possible.

Source: HUD

The Housing Inventory Count (HIC) is a point-in-time inventory of provider programs within a Continuum of Care that provide beds and units dedicated to serve people experiencing homelessness. In McLean County, there exits 75 total units and 97 total beds according to the 2019 HIC.

Source: HUD Continuum of Care Funding

Mayor's Manor near Downtown Bloomington

One of the greatest Impediments to purchasing a home is a lack of access to mortgage credit. While numerous financial institutions in the area offer mortgage products, many potential buyers are unable to access them due to low credit scores, bad debt-to-income ratio, etc. The Home Mortgage Disclosure Act requires banks to report their mortgage activity on a yearly basis. The following chart represents the actions taken on mortgage applications (home purchase only) in McLean County between 2010 and 2017 by race, ethnicity and sex