CEDA Communities Getting Proactive About Housing Needs

Today, many communities across Greater Minnesota and Iowa are challenged with fulfilling their housing needs.  In an effort to remain proactive and strategic, many CEDA communities are taking steps to conduct comprehensive housing studies.  The primary objective of these studies is to assist in determining each community’s housing deficits.  They will provide a detailed analysis that will identify current and future housing needs in the community and help decision makers develop a greater understanding of the housing market.

Communities are often provided with recommendations and action plans for housing development (both short and long-term), as well as, tools and policies that will assist in implementation based on an examination of the demographics, economic characteristics and trends, and current housing market conditions.  The studies will deliver valuable information that community leaders, stakeholders, and decision-makers can use to promote development activity and investment as it shows those potential developers and investors the needs and viability of targeted projects within their communities.

Some CEDA communities are currently undergoing this process with the assistance of their CEDA representatives.  Dodge County, MN has commissioned a study which will be completed by Maxfield Research and Consulting. The County is hoping that the study will analyze and ascertain the housing needs county-wide as well as the specific needs of each of the six individual communities within the county.  CEDA team member Stephanie Lawson who serves the Dodge County EDA is excited to begin the process and is looking forward to the results of the study. “This housing study is the first step in securing the necessary residential options for those individuals living, working or considering relocation to Dodge County.” Lawson said, “Once complete, the study’s results will provide County officials with data that can effectively market the community to appropriate developers as well as aid the County in its planning process.” Dodge County’s housing study is being primarily funded by donations from community stakeholders.  CEDA staff also authored and received a $5,000 Feasibility Study grant from Compeer Financial.  The study is expected to be complete by the end of 2018.

Lewiston, MN is also working on a study which is being conducted by Widseth Smith Nolting. CEDA team member Rebecca Charles works with the City’s EDA and has guided the community’s project efforts. Charles wrote and was approved for a $2,500 grant from Compeer Financial to complete the study. “The Lewiston EDA Board is anticipating our results within the next month.” Charles shared, “The City plans to utilize the information on current inventory, market trends and predicted growth to thoughtfully plan for the future by attracting relevant developers and employers.”

Other CEDA counties currently looking into housing study research include Fillmore County, MN and Howard County, IA.