The Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF) provides matching grants to non-profit development organizations administering workforce housing investment funds through a competitive process. The funds are invested in eligible projects to increase supply and reduce the cost of workforce housing in Nebraska’s rural communities.
Workforce housing is housing that meets the needs of working families and is attractive to new residents locating in a rural community.
Housing Projects Eligible for RWHF Grants Include:
- New owner-occupied housing costing no more than $275,000. (Updated 5/1/2021 to $285,000)
- New rental housing units costing no more than $200,000. (Updated 5/1/2021 to $215,000)
- Owner-occupied or rental housing units for which the cost to substantially rehabilitate exceeds 50% of a unit’s assessed value.
- Upper-story housing.
- Rehabilitation/conversion of an existing building into housing.
- And in all cases, housing that does not receive federal or state low-income housing tax credits, Community Development Block Grants, HOME funds, National Housing Trust Fund, or funds from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Communities in a county with a population of less than 100,000 as determined by the most recent federal decennial census.
Presently, this excludes communities in Douglas, Lancaster, and Sarpy Counties.
Grantees must be non-profit development organizations, approved by the DED director, that invest or intend to invest in workforce housing eligible activities, and have an active board of directors with expertise in development, construction, and finance.
Grants shall be awarded on a competitive basis until grant funds are no longer available. The initial competitive application cycle took place in 2017-18. A new allocation of funds allowed for 2020 application cycle(s). The first 2020 application cycle awards were made and a second 2020 application cycle is now open. A required Letter of Intent is due June 1, 2021. Applications are due July 29, 2021.
RWHF grants require a minimum one-to-one in matching funds.
Matching funds can be dollars contributed by individuals, businesses, foundations, local and regional political subdivisions, or other non-profit organizations into a single investment fund, administered by the eligible nonprofit development organization.
Competitive awards from the RWHF are evaluated on demonstrations of:
- Ongoing workforce housing needs as identified by a recent housing study.
- Difficulties filling employment positions or attracting workers in communities or regions with a low unemployment rate.
- A community’s or region’s commitment to growing its housing stock.
- A project’s likelihood of occupancy in a period of 24 months.
- The ability to grow and manage an investment fund for rural workforce housing.
Reporting Forms & Templates
Have Questions About the RWHF?
Workforce Housing Specialist