Monday, May 4, 2015

Video: City Officials Explain Workforce Housing Needs in MN

Imagine being a large employer committed to your community in Greater Minnesota and ready to grow. Now imagine that despite open job positions in your operation, the workers you need to drive expansion are being discouraged by impossibly low vacancy rates and limited housing stock.

This is the situation workers and employers in several Greater Minnesota cities face every day.

For cities and large employers dealing with this troubling reality, there simply aren’t enough homes for new employees to move into, and despite strong demand, it can be nearly impossible to finance the construction of new, market rate apartments and houses. As a result of this market failure, growing businesses are being forced to look at other regions for expansion, costing the home city jobs and threatening local economic vitality.

In this video, city officials from Windom and Austin talk about the importance of building new workforce housing in their communities, and the need for the state to help finance market-rate, workforce housing.

So what’s being done to bridge the gap? Several League of Minnesota Cities-supported legislative proposals are embedded in omnibus bills being considered right now by both the Minnesota House and Senate. The League is advocating for a grant program that would help cities with emerging workforce housing needs and for tax increment financing authority to help cities fund housing development.

Check the weekly Cities Bulletin for updates on workforce housing proposals and what you can do to help.

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