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Columbus, Nebraska Workforce Housing Summit hosts roundtable to source solutions to expand housing supply
[Rep. Mike Flood (NE-01) discussed workforce housing in Columbus, Nebraska on January 23, 2024. The event was hosted by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce on the campus of the Central Community College – Columbus (Photo credit: Jared Barton, Columbus Telegram)]
Rep. Mike Flood (NE-01) discussed workforce housing in Columbus, Nebraska on January 23, 2024. The event was hosted by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce on the campus of the Central Community College – Columbus
(Photo credit: Jared Barton, Columbus Telegram)

Workforce Housing, Missing Middle, or Middle Income - affordable housing has many names - but no matter what you call it, affordable housing is not only for low income (households whose income is 50% or less of the area median income) to moderate income (households whose income is 80% or less of the area median income). According to some sources, Workforce Housing is defined as housing affordable to households earning between 60 and 120 percent of area median income (AMI). Each year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) calculates the median family income for each county or multicounty metro area. The Columbus (NE) Chamber of Commerce hosted Congressman Mike Flood (NE-01), who held a Workforce Housing Summit to gather industry leaders and federal officials to discuss not only the problem, but source available solutions.

Part of those solutions may include programs through HUD’s Federal Housing Administration (FHA) products and Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE), such as the Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (FHLMC), commonly known as Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Bank.

Congressman Flood invited Regional Administrator Ulysses “Deke” Clayborn, leadership from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and Director Sandra Thompson of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and local leaders to speak on a panel and take questions from more than 230 attendees.

At the close of the all-day summit, Regional Administrator Clayborn gave closing remarks that included reference to HUD’s Housing Supply Action Plan, wherein the Department is adding tools with the aim of spurring workforce housing development. Clayborn also provided insight into opportunities to add affordable housing with Section 108 loans, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), manufactured housing, and multifamily housing loans and insurance. To address some of the concerns of the attending real estate agents regarding individuals and families who are not ready to buy homes due to lack of information on the homebuying process, Clayborn advised that there are HUD-approved housing counseling agencies across the state that can provide services like credit and financial literacy classes that will lead to more purchase-ready Nebraskans. As local, state, and federal entities join forces with industry experts to develop workforce housing initiatives, our collective efforts strengthen the foundation of our nation's commitment to ensuring affordable housing remains an accessible and sustainable option for every American.

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