Nonprofits share $7.5 million in state grants for urban ‘workforce housing’

By: - June 10, 2023 5:15 am

(Getty Images)

LINCOLN — Three Nebraska nonprofits have been awarded a total of $7.5 million in state funds to create more affordable housing in urban parts of the state.

The grants, which required at least a 50% match from the nonprofit, were announced this week and are the latest allotment from the state’s Middle Income Workforce Housing Investment Fund created by the Legislature in 2020.

Roughly $10 million now is left in the fund that aims to expand housing in older and higher-minority neighborhoods of Douglas, Sarpy and Lancaster Counties, said State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha.

State Sen. Tony Vargas of Omaha (Courtesy of Unicameral Information Office)

Vargas, of Omaha, said he would like to see the Department of Economic Development disburse the funding quicker to better meet growing demand.

He said he is disappointed that Gov. Jim Pillen successfully vetoed legislation that would have added $20 million to the middle income housing fund and another $20 million to a fund devoted to building rural housing.

“This is about economic development for the working and middle class,”  he said, adding that he would continue to push to add more funding for housing programs.

DED administers the middle income housing fund through a competitive application process. 

Winning recipients in the latest round: Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, $5 million for Douglas and Sarpy Counties; Holy Name Housing Corp., $2 million for eastern Omaha; and Nebraska Housing  Resource, $500,000 for Lincoln.

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Cindy Gonzalez
Cindy Gonzalez

Senior Reporter Cindy Gonzalez, an Omaha native, has more than 35 years of experience, largely at the Omaha World-Herald. Her coverage areas have included business and real estate development; regional reporting; immigration, demographics and diverse communities; and City Hall and local politics.