Grand Island receives $1 million in Rural Workforce Housing funds
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A local organization has received a $1 million dollar boost for housing development. The Nebraska Department of Economic Development awarded that sum total to Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation.
The money will be split between area contractors to help develop housing in various parts of the city. However, this round of funds still may not be enough to keep up with demands.
“The first time Grand Island had Rural Workforce Housing Funds, we had $2 million as a revolving loan fund to developers,” said Mary Berlie, President of Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation. “When we sent out that RFP for interesting parties to utilize the funds and developers, we received $13 million in ask.”
Berlie said these funds are a valuable aid in solving a major crisis.
“Central Nebraska is not any different than any other community in the United States, but we’re seeing a significant housing shortage,” Berlie said. “Rural Workforce Housing Funds and the Grand Island’s Build Grand Island Program really just helps adds solutions to the problem of housing shortage.”
Berlie said similar to the first go around, they expect a number of request for the funds.
“With this second round of funds we anticipate going through the same process,” Berlie said. “We will send out a request to developers, request for proposal for local developers. We do anticipate a large amount of interest because Grand Island is growing and housing stock is growing. It’s just not at the pace that our growing population is demanding.”
Berlie said these funds are a step forward, but solving the issue is still a work in progress.
“The Economic Development Corporation Build Grand Island program utilizing Rural Workforce Housing Funds from the state of Nebraska just adds one more solution to a very complex and multi-layered housing problem,” Berlie said. “These revolving loans funds give our developers in Grand Island a leg up to continue to build.”
Berlie said they hope to have more housing by next year and that developers who receive the loan from GIEDC have to create a balloon payment or payment plan to recycle the funds.
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