The Nebraska Department of Economic Development announced today that the North Platte / Lincoln County “Shot in the Arm” was one of the statewide housing development projects selected to receive Nebraska Rural Workforce Housing Funds. The local program was awarded $383,400 in state funds. Additionally $800,000 in local funds are committed to the program.
Gary Person, President and CEO of the North Platte Area Chamber and Development, commended the state’s innovative approach to workforce housing. He applauded the local funding partners for supporting its $1.18 million housing incentive program and making it possible to get the state funding support.
Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program ($100,000), Great Plains Health ($100,000), City of North Platte Quality Growth Fund ($350,000) and DEVCO’s 90 local business incentive investment partners ($250,000) provided greater than 1 to 1 match for the state program giving the local application the strength it needed to get funded.
“The state challenged communities and organizations across Nebraska to come up with creative and innovative housing development efforts as the message continues to get louder about the lack of work force housing in most rural communities,” Person said.
“When our two largest employers Union Pacific and Great Plains Health step up and say they want to be part of the solution as housing directly impacts their ability to recruit and hire new workers, it makes a tremendous statement about their commitment to our community,” he added.
“We are greatly appreciative to these invested employers and our board of directors, who show vision working towards our future growth opportunities. The City has also been an outstanding partner in everything we do to enhance economic development,” Person said.
“Union Pacific’s corporate vision is ‘Building America,’ and we are talking about much more than tracks running through North Platte,” said Scott Moore, Union Pacific’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Administrative Officer. “Our employees live and work in the community; it’s critical they have affordable housing options, creating growth opportunities and safe neighborhoods for their families.”
“Insufficient housing has a two-pronged impact on our community,” said Mel McNea, Great Plains Health chief executive officer. “First is the inability to address the safety of older and dilapidated homes, which ultimately affects the health of the adults and children living in those homes. The second is the difficulty for large employers to recruit when there are limited homes on the market for new employees to purchase or rent.”
“This program will help close the housing gap for the North Platte area,” said McNea. “We support the efforts of North Platte Area Chamber and Development and the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to improve housing availability in North Platte and across the state. It aligns well with our health system’s strategic objective to ensure access to quality care and grow services. We won’t achieve this objective without better housing availability.”
The Chamber Development program modeled itself after the very successful Phase 1, “Shot in the Arm” housing incentive program from 2015-2017 that added 48 new homes and gained statewide publicity and accolades for its creativity. The Phase 2 program has a strengthened incentive profile with a goal of 150 additional living units in the next two years.
“Yes, it’s ambitious, but the evidence is overwhelming that it’s needed. Every conversation we have with employers and prospective new businesses, starts and ends with a discussion on housing and work force,” Person said. “The number of open jobs and hiring needs of our employers is staggering. We either address it or watch those jobs get shifted to other communities and other states.”
Chamber DEVCO plans to launch the “Shot in the Arm – Phase 2” program immediately and developers and contractors are encouraged to apply for the funds. The program includes a $12,000 incentive for single family and town home duplexes (per side), $6,000 for modular and up to $6,000 per unit for multi-family. Each developer or contractor must commit to at least two units, but there is no maximum, as per the discretion of the Application Review Team.
Brady, Hershey, Sutherland and Wallace are program participants with North Platte. The living units must be located within the zoning jurisdiction of each municipality.
For more information please contact Gary or Megan at the Chamber Development Office 308-532-4966 or email firstname.lastname@example.org