Three projects honored for using State housing funds to change lives and transform communities.
The Nebraska Commission on Housing and Homelessness (NCHH) has announced the recipients of the 2023 Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund (NAHTF) Award. The annual award was established in 2018 to recognize organizations and projects that have leveraged Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Funds to create high-quality, affordable housing.
This year’s honorees are Blue Valley Community Action, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha, and Custer Economic Development Corporation.
“Across Nebraska, local leaders are finding innovative ways to maximize State housing funds to benefit families in their communities,” said Joe Fox, Interim Director of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (DED). “As a department, we deeply appreciate our local housing partners. These agencies are best positioned to determine their community’s needs and design solutions to housing shortages. Congratulations to this year’s NAHTF award winners and thank you to the many dedicated leaders working to provide Nebraskans with access to affordable, high-quality housing.”
Administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, the NAHTF is one of Nebraska’s largest annual resources for affordable housing development. Since 1996, the program has supported the construction or rehabilitation of thousands of homes throughout the state, while assisting nonprofits and local governments in their mission to address housing needs.
DED announced the most recent round of NAHTF grants in August 2022. The agency awarded $17.5 million to assist 40 housing projects throughout Nebraska. The funding is supporting the construction and rehabilitation of over 190 housing units and assisting 185 homebuyers to purchase a home.
This year’s NAHTF awards celebrate projects undertaken from 2018 to the present. Award winners were announced yesterday in Lincoln during the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority housing conference. Lee Heflebower, current chair of the NCHH, was on hand to present the awards.
“Having a nice, affordable place to live increases a family’s financial flexibility. It also gives children much-needed stability,” said Heflebower. “With high inflation hitting family budgets, housing affordability is an especially urgent need. Agencies across Nebraska are stepping up to meet this need—and investing an extraordinary amount of time and energy to do so. I’m grateful for the opportunity to honor three of the very best organizations working to put affordable housing within reach of Nebraska’s families. They greatly deserve this recognition.”
About the 2023 NAHTF Awardees:
Blue Valley Community Action in Fairbury received a NAHTF grant of $252,000 in 2018, which was supplemented by $25,200 in cash match. The agency used the funds to rehabilitate eight single-family homes in the region. The project extended the life expectancy of each home by at least 20 years.
Habitat for Humanity in Omaha was awarded $500,000 for new home construction through the NAHTF in 2020. With the funds, Habitat helped construct 12 new homes in North and South Omaha on previously empty, overgrown lots. The homes are meeting the needs of larger households, with the residences having up to five bedrooms per unit.
Habitat for Humanity has a unique approach to preparing homebuyers for the purchase of a home. Families are directly involved in the creation of their new home, volunteering time at the construction site. In total, families contributed 350 hours of work to help build the 12 homes funded through this NAHFT award. Habitat also assisted households at lower incomes through low-interest loans and homebuyer assistance to make home mortgages more affordable.
In 2019, Custer Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) applied for and received $524,139 in Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Funds to invest in the construction of new single-family homes. Local matching funds of $62,500 were also provided for the project. Central Nebraska Economic Development District has supported CEDC in the new home construction project.
Using the NAHTF grant, two new single-family homes have been built in Broken Bow—and both were quickly sold. A third home is being built in the Village of Callaway in a newly developed subdivision. The NAHTF award will have benefit beyond these three homes; CEDC is committed to reinvesting the sales proceeds into the construction of more housing units in other communities in Custer County.