Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley joined project leaders in Valentine on Friday, March 11, to cut the ribbon on two new homes made possible by the Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF).

“Since being enacted, the Rural Workforce Housing Fund has empowered our communities to plan and build over 800 affordably priced homes and rehabilitate dozens more,” said Lt. Gov. Foley. “And that’s just the beginning of what this program can achieve. Today is further proof that though there is more work to be done, we have demonstrated a successful blueprint for working together, as a team, to address rural housing needs and grow Nebraska.” 

Signed into law in 2017, the RWHF provided an initial $7 million in State funding in 2018 to help communities in counties of less than 100,000 address an ongoing need for quality, affordably priced homes to grow the workforce. The Fund is Administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. Given the program’s success, the State Legislature allocated another $10 million to the Fund for award last year.

By design, the rural workforce housing investment funds supplied by the RWHF are intended to revolve; as communities invest the funds into new rental or homeowner units or substantial home rehabilitations, the recouped investments can be applied toward the development of additional units. The Lt. Gov. visited O’Neill last October to cut the ribbon on two more units made possible by the same RWHF award. Additional investments in both communities are expected to follow. 

Central Nebraska Economic Development, Inc. (CNED) was one of 14 recipients of RWHF funding in 2018, which it slated for housing development in Valentine and O’Neill. Both communities contributed matching funds to create the resulting Workforce Housing Investment Fund that supplied today’s new builds, with additional match contributed by the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority.

“This has really been a team effort between our rural communities and the State, NIFA and the nonprofit development organizations who are out there making a housing impact in their service areas, in partnership with great local leadership,” said CNED Executive Director Judy Peterson.  

“Housing is a central part of our mission,” said DED Deputy Director Dan Curran. “The Rural Workforce Housing Fund has been an incredible program whose impact will only grow with time. We’re excited to be a part of the strides our rural communities across the state are making on the housing front.”

For more information on the RWHF, visit