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Recently, much of our collective attention has been placed on the challenges facing our state and local communities via the Nebraska Legislature – and rightly so. In the meantime, however, our elected officials in the federal government have continued to craft solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the nation. One challenge in particular seen nationally and felt locally continues to be an obstacle: housing.

The Housing Supply Action Plan recently announced by President Biden aims to tackle housing affordability as part of a larger effort to drive down inflation. These proposed legislative and administrative changes would:

  • Prioritize federal grant funding jurisdictions engaged in certain types of land use and zoning reform

  • Create a program for new federal financing mechanisms that target manufactured homes, renovations, and accessory dwelling units

  • Expand and modify existing federal home financing programs to boost affordable housing stock

In Nebraska, the Rural Workforce Housing Investment Act, which was originally passed in 2017, was extended through FY 2026-2027 by LB 1069. The Act and its extension will be essential in addressing housing initiatives by providing additional grants for the construction of workforce housing in counties with fewer than 100,000 people. LB 1069 lifts the cap of $2 million that a nonprofit development organization could receive and increases allowable costs to construct an owner-occupied housing unit from $275,000 to $325,000 and for rental housing units from $200,000 to $250,000.

Housing is a necessity and a central component of any community. Whether after a natural disaster or during an economic crisis, businesses who help provide or enable housing are doing a huge service to the community they choose to serve. Understanding the connection between housing and overall economic stability and security is critical in finding the necessary housing solutions for the Kearney area.

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