WREDC-JBS Establish Rental Housing Fund

Worthington, MN – WREDC and JBS are announcing the creation of the WREDC Rental Housing Challenge Fund. The fund was created to encourage building new multi-unit market rate rental. JBS seeded the fund with $50,000 donation at the end of December 2015 hoping that others would also contribute.

In a written statement released shortly after approval of fund by JBS and WREDC Board, JBS’s Len Bakken stated “we are proud to partner with WREDC in establishing a fund that will create a new avenue for supporting new market rate rental housing construction and development within Nobles County. We understand that developing additional rental housing is critical for the long-term growth of our community and surrounding area. We need to address market rate rental housing options with local ideas and resources. Therefore, local business and community leaders, in partnership with city and county officials, must step up and find meaningful solutions. JBS is contributing the first $50k into this fund. We would like to challenge other businesses, institutions, and organizations in the area to join us in this very important endeavor with WREDC to address Nobles County rental housing needs”.

Nobles county’s and Worthington housing supply continues to be a challenge. While the tax abatement Nobles Home Initiative (NHI) helped spur owner occupied housing starts with about 35 new single family homes to date, no rental units were built under the NHI. “We hope that this fund in combination with NHI program could change that”, Steve Robinson, Worthington City Administrator said.

“If we are going to make a dent on the supply side of the rental housing market, I believe we need to try something new”. Said Darlene Macklin, Worthington Area Chamber Of Commerce Executive Director. She added, “We need new tools to use in combination with what we already have to encourage private sector investment in housing”.

According to Jason Vote, WREDC Chairman the Rental Housing Fund was put together to promote and allow for the construction of new market rate rental housing developments throughout the county. He expressed WREDC’s appreciation for JBS and its generous contribution to help create this fund. Adopted fund guidelines state among other things, that:

  • The fund can be used for the purpose of creating additional rental housing units.
  • The fund is open for contributions/donations from private and public sources.
  • Each contribution will be monitored based on its source with an annual fund sources and uses report.
  • If the fund or portions thereof were not utilized within three (3) years from the date of each contribution then contributor has the option to recall their contribution plus interest earned within 30 days from the end of the 3rd year.
  • WREDC will promote and market availability of the Housing Challenge Fund to potential builders
  • Terms of Contributions to each project will be determined by WREDC Board. 

“This is a step in the right direction. Housing is an integral part of economic development and community growth does not happen in vacuum. It requires certain prerequisites among them local leadership and a balanced approach to all elements of community development. Central among them is the availability of housing options, Algadi said.

For more information about the fund or if you would like to support this effort, please call 507-372-5515