The Custer Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) was recently notified they were one of three additional recipients of the Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF). CEDC received $400,000 from the fund which was also matched with $464,000 from the community.
Created by the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act, which was signed into law by Gov. Pete Ricketts in 2017, the RWHF is designed to help finance quality, affordable workforce housing in counties of less than 100,000.
The funds are awarded to nonprofit developers in collaboration with local governments and require at least a 1:1 local match. RWHF dollars are used to create revolving housing investment funds that are applied toward new-builds, home rehabilitation, and other housing-related activities.
According to CEDC President Joyce Richardson during a press conference on Tuesday, Broken Bow will use the funds to build new housing.
“Not only are we building houses in Custer County, but once again we are building momentum. It wasn’t that long ago that we were putting shovels in the ground for the building of this home [located on Hillcrest Drive], a second down the street that recently sold, and a third up to the north that will be built in the near future. Also, new homes have been built in Ansley and Callaway which is still another part of our Custer County momentum,” said Richardson
Richardson thanked a number of people including the past CEDC Executive Director Andrew Ambriz. She also thanked Stuart Fox, Workforce Housing Chairman for the work he had done throughout the process.
During the conference, Fox explained this is a revolving fund that could incentify contractors to create speculative devolvement. He also noted this is a less restrictive fund than the one granted to CEDC for the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
“These homes are for workforce housing development. That differs basically because there are no income requirements on the homes,” said Fox.
He did note that as of now the homes must be under $285,000 for homes sold and not to exceed $215,000 for rental properties, but could change each year.
City Administrator Dan Knoell commented, “The City is just excited to be a part of the growth and development of Broken Bow. We look forward to getting the infrastructure in.”
Newly appointed CEDC Executive Director Keith Ellis said the community needs to be recognized contributing funds to the matching part of the program.
“There are a lot of businesses that made investments to make that happen and I think we need to recognize the power of the community to do something like this and to make that investment. It shows the commitment of the business community to make this happen,” Ellis said.
While the exact time of when the funds would be released to the CEDC is unknown, the projects will hopefully be underway in 2022.