City officials and developers in rural Nebraska are closely watching a measure being considered in the Legislature that would create housing grants, but they acknowledge it won't solve the problem of a dearth of workforce housing in small towns.
Although housing is a crucial concern when towns try to attract new business, small communities have fewer developers and workers needed for residential construction, and housing must be built on a smaller scale.
It creates a difficult situation for a city like Norfolk, which recently attracted a pipe manufacturing plant that will employ at least 300 people. The northeast Nebraska community of 24,000 only has about 125 homes on the market and fewer than half of them cost less than $150,000.
"It's one of the first questions employers who are looking to expand ask about," Norfolk city administrator Shane Weidner said. "It's schools and housing."