Gov. Ricketts (both hands on scissors), State Senator Matt Williams (right of the Governor), new homeowners, and community leaders prepare for the ribbon cutting at today’s ceremony.
This morning, Governor Pete Ricketts attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a new home in Holdrege constructed, in part, through a grant from the Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF). The Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED) administers the RWHF, which supports rural communities in their efforts to build affordable housing for working families.
“The Rural Workforce Housing Fund has been a key part of our strategy to make sure families can find a high-quality, affordable place to live,” said Gov. Ricketts. “Congratulations to the South Central Economic Development District and Phelps County Development Corporation on their work together to build this beautiful new home.”
On May 1, 2018, Gov. Ricketts announced South Central Economic Development District (SCEDD) as one of 14 recipients of the inaugural Rural Workforce Housing Fund grants. SCEDD serves 13 counties in South Central Nebraska by promoting rural economic development. In addition to grant monies from the State, the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority, SCEDD, and area donors made contributions to establish a Workforce Housing Revolving Loan Fund. The purpose of the fund is to assist the construction of great homes for working Nebraskans. Upon sale of the homes, the money is repaid to the fund so that it can be loaned again. This creates a perpetual funding instrument for South Central Nebraska.
The home celebrated at today’s event represents the culmination of a successful partnership between SCEDD and Phelps County Development Corporation (PCDC). PCDC acquired the dilapidated rental structures that previously occupied the location and demolished them. SCEDD then purchased the property for $1 from PCDC and carried out the construction of the new home.
One of the biggest challenges employers in Nebraska face is attracting highly skilled workers to their communities. The RWHF helps to make sure there’s an ample supply of quality housing in rural areas. In turn, the availability of affordable housing helps towns and small cities retain their graduates and recruit top talent to the Good Life.
The RWHF was created through the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act of 2017. Senator Matt Williams, who took part in today’s ribbon cutting, introduced the legislation. It passed unanimously and was signed into law by Governor Ricketts on April 27, 2017.