Nebraska City Program Targets Workforce Housing Shortage

NEBRASKA CITY – Nebraska City is ramping up a program to purchase homes for repair and re-entry into the housing market.

Tom Bliss, director of Southeast Nebraska Development District, said the program is one of two currently funded by the state Department of Economic Development.

Bliss: “What we try to do with these different programs is prop up workforce housing, prop up affordable housing for the entry-level jobs and for the people working in Nebraska City.”

The need for housing rehabilitation runs across the district. In Richardson County, the median age of a house is 70 years old.

Bliss: “Most of the houses in southeast Nebraska were built way before 1979, early ‘60s.”

Bliss said it is critical to have housing available when jobs are available.

Bliss: “People are actually wanting to move to southeast Nebraska. The reality is that employers pay more here, than in nearby states. You’ve got a higher quality of life here than in nearby states. Employers are desperate for workers, but, unfortunately, the workers just can’t find available housing.”

He said available housing means housing that is in reach of someone making $18 to $20 an hour.

Bliss: “We want to see this work in Nebraska City because, if we can show it works here, we can show it can work other places, as well.”

SENDD is also active in helping communities with owner occupied housing rehabilitation.