ST. PAUL, Minn. (Sept. 15, 2015) — The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) will begin accepting applications on Nov. 2 for grants awarded by the Workforce Housing Development Program.
The program, which is open to cities and joint county-city economic development authorities in Greater Minnesota, provides matching funds that communities can use to encourage developers to build market-rate rental housing.
“Workforce housing is essential to supporting economic growth, especially in Greater Minnesota,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “Employers tell me all the time that housing shortages make it much harder for them to recruit and keep employees. This new investment is a step in the right direction.”
A total of $2 million will be awarded by the program next year and another $2 million in 2017.
“This new program will encourage rental housing development in areas of the state where new construction has not kept up with job and population growth,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Not only does new housing help businesses attract workers, but it contributes to economic development in communities.”
Under the program, grants cannot exceed 25 percent of the cost of building a new rental housing development. Units of local government, nonprofits or benefiting businesses must contribute $1 for every $2 provided by the program.
The deadline for applying for next year’s round of funding is Jan. 15, 2016. Projects will be selected on the basis of need, statewide economic impact, project financial plan and project readiness. Preference will be given to areas with fewer than 18,000 people.
DEED launched a pilot version of the program last year to encourage new housing in Roseau and Pennington counties. Both areas of the state are struggling with housing shortages that make it difficult to attract workers for growing businesses like Polaris Industries in Roseau and Digi-Key in Thief River Falls. Developers say the cost of housing construction in those areas often is higher than the value of the buildings being built.
Other details about the program are available here or by [email protected] .
Public information sessions about the program and grant application process will be held next month at the following locations:
Thursday, Oct. 1, from 9 to 11 a.m.
Jay C. Hormel Nature Center
Ruby Rupner Auditorium
1304 21st St. NE
Friday, Oct. 2, from 9 to 11 a.m.
City Council Chambers
333 S. Washington St. 507-637-5755
Tuesday, Oct. 13, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Sheriff’s training room (basement)
440 NE First Ave.
Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 9 to 11 a.m.
City Council Chambers
1025 Roosevelt Ave.
DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at http://mn.gov/deed. We’re on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mndeed.