Affordable housing bill passed

A bill intended to increase the availability of affordable housing passed Aug. 13.

Sen. Justin Wayne
Sen. Justin Wayne

LB866, introduced by Omaha Sen. Justin Wayne, adopts the Municipal Density and Missing Middle Housing Act. The bill incentivizes affordable housing projects by establishing a workforce housing investment grant program for urban areas of the state and requiring affordable housing action plans.

The bill contains provisions of LB794, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Matt Hansen, and Omaha Sen. Tony Vargas’ LB1155.

The provisions require cities with populations greater than 20,000 to submit a report every two years, beginning July 1, 2021, to the Urban Affairs Committee detailing their efforts to incentivize affordable housing.

All cities with populations greater than 50,000 will be required to adopt an affordable housing action plan by Jan. 1, 2023, and all cities with populations between 20,000 and 50,000 will be required to adopt an affordable housing action plan by Jan. 1, 2024.

The bill also creates the Middle Income Housing Investment Fund within the state Department of Economic Development to support development of workforce housing in Nebraska counties of 100,000 or more residents.

Only nonprofit organizations may apply for grants, which will be based on a demonstrated need for additional owner-occupied housing in communities with an unemployment rate higher than the state average.

The fund will receive a one-time, $10 million general fund transfer. Any grants awarded will require one-to-one matching funds.

Lawmakers passed LB866 on a 31-7 vote.

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