Roseau County Workforce Housing Program

Two major Northern Minnesota employers ban together to create affordable housing.

Both firms were expanding their workforces but there was inadequate housing available to accommodate the prospective employees, leading to new workers doubling up in hotel rooms and moving into homes designed for much smaller households.

These pressures led to the formation of the Roseau County Workforce Housing Program and the new single-family and multi-family housing developments described below.

Single-family development

The funders agreed that in order to encourage single-family builders to re-renter the market after the economic downturn, the program would have to offer developer incentives such as low-interest construction financing, or reduced price lots or fee waivers from the city, and a value-gap pool that developers could access if homes did not sell as envisioned. Homebuyers would be offered affordability gap loans.

The funding pools were assembled and agreed upon by all the funders in May 2013 with the intent to fund 30 homes over a three-to-four year period; four regional homebuilders have been approved to access the funding pools. The first home began construction in August 2013 and was sold before it was completed; two or three additional homes were constructed in 2013 and eight to ten homes are planned for the next two years.

Multi-family new construction program

GMHF has been working with the same partners identified in the single-family program to assist with a plan to construct new rental housing with limited subsidy. The City of Roseau has received inquiries from developers seeking to construct new multi-family rental housing to meet the need identified in the August 2012 Roseau County Housing Study.

GMHF has also contacted the City Administrator for Warroad who said Warroad does not have a current need for new rental housing but welcomed the opportunity to participate in the single-family new construction program described above. With this in mind GMHF staff has been focusing on new rental housing in the City of Roseau which will require some level of city assistance.

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