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Housing study calls for oversight group
October 28, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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The almost completed regional housing study commissioned by the Western Nebraska Economic Development group calls for the creation of a separate group to implement the study’s recommendations on a regular, ongoing basis.

The plan stresses the need for new construction to provide a healthy 6-8 percent vacancy rate to attract workers to the region when a company locates in the area and needs a large number of employees.

During the group’s October 20 meeting, Lonnie Dickson, Community and Regional Planner with Hanna:Keelan Associates of Lincoln, gave members a “snapshot” version of the much longer document.

Dickson said the data indicates the need for 775 new housing units over the next five years in Scotts Bluff, Kimball, and Morrill counties. Broken down further, the study calls for 521 homes for sale and 256 rental units.

“This will take effort in working together in partnerships,” Dickson told the group. “Major employers and housing authorities need to be involved.”

The study included an extensive survey opportunity for all demographic groups to make known the housing needs in their communities. Hanna:Keelan representatives also scheduled meetings around the communities to hear directly from residents.

Dickson said they also look at the sustainability of existing homes in all communities within the three counties to identify rehabilitation needs, demolition and replacement in some cases.

“The lots where those demolished properties sit can be an incentive for developers of more affordable housing,” Dickson said. “They can take advantage of infrastructure that’s already in place rather than focus on new housing in areas on the edges of communities, which have no existing infrastructure.”

Dickson said that with the goals of study, they recommended the creation of a group to assure the action steps outlined in the study are carried out on a regular basis. The group’s suggested name would be the Western Nebraska Housing Resources Network.

The network would look at the residential needs for those over 50 and would also work with major employers to identify and provide solutions to housing needs.

Dickson said one of the major hurdles is providing affordable housing at a time when many developers primarily work on high-end housing. “Many families don’t have the time to rehab a fixer-upper and don’t have the resources to become homeowners because of the cost of new construction.”

The study indicates there needs to be an ongoing effort to recruit new housing to local communities. “Membership should include community members, housing authorities, major employers and any other organizations that are stakeholders for putting housing into the ground,” Dickson said.

In order to make housing affordable for more people, communities are taking advantage of programs for first-time purchasers, rent-to-own programs, and even Tax Increment Financing to help subsidize some of cost of housing, especially for infrastructure in residential areas.
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Doing a research paper on this for class will tkake any valid of oppinionated information. Sorry if my spelling is not accorate. limited time back to genetics.
- [2016-11-03 09:44:26]