Gary Lueders moves quickly — he’s a fast walker and a fast talker. As executive director of Olmsted County’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority, he basically has no choice but to move fast.
The county’s projected need for affordable housing is huge, and Lueders’ agency is one of the major players in helping to address that need. A recent study by the Minneapolis-based real estate research group Maxfield Research found vacancy rates for affordable units now to be virtually nonexistent. Affordable, or workforce housing, as it is often called, in Olmsted County has a vacancy rate of 1.2 percent. The vacancy rate for senior affordable housing is 0.8 percent, according to the study.
The Maxfield study showed production on pace with demand in the market-rate housing arena, but a lack of production and increased demand for affordable units. For Warren Hanson, the executive director of the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, that means starting school teachers, medical assistants and hospitality workers are left out of the equation.