Rural workforce housing program expanded, extended

An effort to increase workforce housing in rural Nebraska communities by updating an existing grant program was approved by lawmakers April 12.

Sen. Matt Williams
Sen. Matt Williams

The Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act, passed by the Legislature in 2017, provides grants for the construction of workforce housing in counties with fewer than 100,000 people. Grants are available to nonprofit development organizations in eligible communities.

LB1069, introduced by Gothenburg Sen. Matt Williams, extends the grant program — which had been set to expire at the end of this fiscal year — through FY2026-27. The maximum allowable cost to construct an owner-occupied housing unit is increased from $275,000 to $325,000 and for rental housing units from $200,000 to $250,000.

The bill removes the current $2 million cap that a nonprofit development organization can receive under the program and replaces it with an amount set by the director of the state Department of Economic Development.

Additionally, LB1069 reduces the required local matching grant from a one-to-one match to 50 percent. Projects that receive funds from the National Housing Trust Fund are ineligible for the program.

The bill passed on a 42-4 vote and took effect immediately.

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