Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley visited Broken Bow on Friday, October 16 to break ground on two of the newest homes to be built in the burgeoning Woodcrest subdivision. The ceremony marked the latest win in an all-hands-on-deck initiative to expand housing options in Broken Bow and accommodate brisk population growth.
Both new builds are being made possible by a $500,000 grant from the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund awarded to project lead Custer Economic Development Corporation (CEDC), plus local donations. A third home will be built harnessing the Trust funds next year.
“The Trust Fund is an important resource for strengthening our communities and growing our state,” Lt. Gov. Foley remarked. “Just as important are local leaders and citizens who are willing to look ahead, pinpoint community needs and execute on a meaningful vision. Broken Bow, like so many Nebraska towns, is fortunate to have not only a terrific group of economic developers in CEDC, but also citizens and businesses who realize the importance of workforce housing and pitch in to make victories like today a reality.”
Leaders, residents and employers in Broken Bow are keen on the importance of new neighborhoods like Woodcrest, and are working together to make strides.
“Broken Bow is a vibrant community with a lot of opportunities, and we’re experiencing an influx of families and young professionals,” said CEDC Executive Director Andrew Ambriz. “This growth is exciting and a big benefit for the community, and we need to ensure we have the homes to keep up with the demand.”
Studies conducted in 2010 and 2018 bear out this observation, revealing the need for at least 130 new homes in the $150-$199,000 range to accommodate forecasted growth in the town of around 3,500 residents. Ambriz says there is a particular need for workforce housing — so much so that numerous banks, businesses and private investors have teamed up with CEDC and the City to support the cause.
“Everyone sees that the need is there,” he said. “We have local investment clubs and numerous donors that have really made this a concerted effort.”
He notes that local donors account for $52,000 in financing for today’s new builds, with the remainder covered by CEDC’s Trust Fund grant — its first since 2013.
Established in 1996, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund is Nebraska’s largest State resource for affordable housing development. The Department of Economic Development (DED) administers Trust funding annually to local governments and nonprofits to cover activities ranging from home construction and rehabilitation to down payment assistance.
“The flexibility of the Trust Fund is part of what makes it a valuable resource for tackling local housing needs and objectives,” said DED Director Anthony L. Goins.
Ambriz says CEDC — with partnering grant administrator Central Nebraska Economic Development District — will make the most of its award by reinvesting proceeds from the sale of the three new builds into the construction of up to 10 additional units. When all is said and done, Woodcrest will contain 25-30 homes — complementing the 50-plus units that have sprung up since Broken Bow’s initial housing study in 2010.
But there’s still work to be done.
“We have a commitment and a vision for our community, and housing is an essential component of that,” Ambriz said. “There’s a lot of excitement for what lies ahead.”
9:00 CEDC President Joyce Richardson said, “Not only are we building houses in Custer County, but more importantly we are building momentum. There have been new homes recently in Callaway, Ansley, Sargent recently received a housing rehabilitation grant for flood damage, Arnold has purchased lots that they are working on, and this is just another piece in that momentum and there is way more to go.”
To learn more about the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund, visit https://opportunity.nebraska.