81-1229. Workforce housing grant program; established; workforce housing grant; application; form; award; considerations; nonprofit organization; duties.

(1) The director shall establish a workforce housing grant program to foster and support the development of workforce housing in rural communities.

(2) A nonprofit development organization may apply to the director for approval of a workforce housing grant for a workforce housing investment fund. The application shall be in a form and manner prescribed by the director. Through fiscal year 2020-21, grants shall be awarded by the director on a competitive basis until grant funds are no longer available. Grant maximums shall not exceed one million dollars to any one nonprofit development organization over a two-year period, with no more than two million dollars cumulative for any single grantee through fiscal year 2020-21. Grants shall require a minimum one-to-one in matching funds to be considered a qualified grant application. Unallocated workforce housing grant funds held by the department shall be rolled to the next program year.

(3) Grants shall be awarded based upon:

(a) A demonstrated and ongoing housing need as identified by a recent housing study;

(b) A community or region that has a low unemployment rate and is having difficulty attracting workers and filling employment positions;

(c) A community or region that exhibits a demonstrated commitment to growing its housing stock;

(d) Projects that can reasonably be ready for occupancy in a period of twenty-four months; and

(e) A demonstrated ability to grow and manage a workforce housing investment fund.

(4) A workforce housing investment fund shall be required to receive annual certification from the department.

(5) A nonprofit development organization shall:

(a) Invest or intend to invest in workforce housing eligible activities;

(b) Use any fees, interest, loan repayments, or other funds it received as a result of the administration of the grant to support qualified activities; and

(c) Have an active board of directors with expertise in development, construction, and finance that meets at least quarterly to approve all qualified investments made by the nonprofit development organization. A nonprofit development organization shall have a formal plan and proven expertise to invest unused workforce housing investment fund balances and shall have an annual audit of all financial records conducted by an independent certified public accountant.

Source:Laws 2017, LB518, ยง 4.