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O'Neill Development Corporation Applying For $1 Million Dollar Grant

Feb 15, 2023 (0)

The O'Neill Development Corporation is applying for a competitive $1 million grant from the Rural Workforce Housing Fund (RWHF), administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. The application and program is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leverage local funding to help alleviate rural housing shortages.  It is a 1:2 match, so for every dollar locally we have, there is a possibility of having it matched with two dollars.

Workforce housing is defined as housing that meets the needs of today's working families with housing that is attractive to new residents that meets the needs of today's working families. The intent of the workforce housing investment funds is long range and if awarded, will allow continual investment in workforce housing projects within our community.

  Specific plans for use of the grant are being worked on,.

Grant is due in March with award announcements announced later this spring.

The funds the City of O'Neill  council approved at the Jan. 6 meeting were from the City's half-percent sales tax that voters approved in 2012 to utilize to fund O'Neill Economic Development Plan, which includes housing as an eligible activity.

Housing Projects Eligible for RWHF Grants Include:

• New owner-occupied housing costing no more than $325,000.

• New rental housing units costing no more than $250,000.

• Owner-occupied or rental housing units for which the cost to substantially rehabilitate exceeds 50% of a unit's assessed value.

• Upper-story housing.

• Rehabilitation/conversion of an existing building into housing.

• And in all cases, housing that does not receive federal or state low-income housing tax credits, Community Development Block Grants, HOME funds, National Housing Trust Fund, or funds from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Eligible Areas

Communities in a county with a population of less than 100,000, as determined by the most recent federal decennial census, are eligible. Presently, this excludes communities in Douglas, Lancaster and Sarpy Counties.

Eligible Grantees

Grantees must be non-profit development organizations, approved by the Department director, that invest or intend to invest in workforce housing eligible activities, and that have an active board of directors with expertise in development, construction and finance.


Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis until grant funds are no longer available. The initial competitive application cycle took place in 2017-18. A new allocation of funds allowed for two 2020 application cycles. The 2022 allocation of $30,000,000 will be awarded through a competitive application cycle beginning soon.

The 2022 RWHF grants require a minimum 50% of the RWHF award in matching funds.

Matching funds can be dollars contributed by individuals, businesses, foundations, local and regional political subdivisions, or other non-profit organizations into a single investment fund administered by the eligible nonprofit development organization.


Competitive awards from the RWHF are evaluated on demonstrations of:

Ongoing workforce housing needs as identified by a recent housing study.

Difficulties filling employment positions or attracting workers in communities or regions with a low unemployment rate.

A community's or region's commitment to growing its housing stock.

A project's likelihood of occupancy in a period of 24 months.

The ability to grow and manage an investment fund for rural workforce housing.


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