Recently, Southwest Initiative Foundation Vice President Scott Marquardt facilitated a conversation in our region about workforce housing. I asked Scott to provide an brief overview to help get us thinking about what role regional business, community and organizational leaders can play in finding solutions:
Earlier this month, SWIF had the opportunity to participate in the Southwest Minnesota Housing and Community Dialogue in Worthington. This event was coordinated by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, Minnesota Housing, and USDA Rural Development, along with key partners and stakeholders in our region.
Topics included the needs in multi-family housing development and owner-occupied housing rehabilitation, and collaboration across and among the private, public, and nonprofit sectors to try and address the needs. A key focus in the discussion was on housing along the I-90 corridor, especially with the outstanding job growth in companies. Many of the jobs in these communities are filled by workers who commute in from other cities, including in South Dakota and Iowa.
The housing need is enormous financially. As reported in a Worthington Daily Globe article Sept. 4, “According to housing studies done in local communities, there is a need of more than $151 million to meet the demand. In Worthington alone, nearly $67 million is needed to meet the demand of renter and owner-occupied housing.”
We hope our business and community leaders throughout the entire region join the conversation and determine their roles in finding solutions for this important issue.