Dubois Strong Releases Results Of Housing Study

JASPER (NNDC) – The results are in and this is just the beginning. A summary of the key findings and conclusions of the Dubois County Housing Study, funded by Grow Dubois County and executed by Development Concepts, Inc. with Dubois Strong, is provided.

Dubois Strong initiated a study with Development Concepts, Inc. a consulting firm out of Indianapolis, in early January. This study is designed to determine the best location, price point and potential number of both new multi-family rental and single-family workforce housing units that are economically feasible to build in Dubois County over the next five years.

Cole says the study was driven by the fact many Dubois County employers are finding it increasingly difficult to fill production level positions due to labor shortages within County and Region. This long standing problem not only impacts current operations but also future decisions on new investment and growth. A major contributing factor is the scarcity of workforce housing near Dubois County’s major employment centers.

“The completion of this study is only the first step,” said Ed Cole, president of Dubois Strong. “It will undoubtedly take an active partnership of employers, the public sector, developers and our housing committee to achieve the proposed action plan.”

Cole points out some of the key assumptions gained from the housing study…

• Inventory is not the biggest issue
• Affordable single-family options exist in Jasper and Huntingburg, but may require some level of rehab
• Ferdinand’s existing inventory of housing is limited
• Few linkages between job clusters and housing opportunities
• Land cost/availability, development regulations/standards and “higher end” market act as barriers to affordable housing construction
• Several key housing products are not apparent in the Dubois County market – affordable mixed income, high quality multi-family product and affordable single- family housing in high amenity neighborhoods.

Cole says the study also points out some key related issues…

• Housing stock in industrial cluster areas developed and generally older – 40 years of age or older
• Little to no workforce housing built within the past 30 years – lack of appropriate, high quality single-family homes and rentals

Cole says the proposed action plan from this study…

The Dubois County Housing Strategies concluded that the workforce housing shortage in Dubois County is both an economic development and housing issue. Failure to address the lack of quality affordable workforce housing within reasonable proximity of major employers will ultimately have long-term negative impacts on the economy.

Potential Local Responses as pointed out in the study’s findings…

• Work with local developers and structure programs which encourage them to produce workforce housing
• Target real estate within 5-10 minute drive time of 3 major industrial clusters for new and in-fill workforce housing opportunities
• Employers and community (public & private) partner to provide programs to encourage existing and future employees to locate closer to employers
• Expand local capacity to work with employers to establish long-term sustainable workforce housing initiatives designed to encourage business growth and reinforce local quality of life initiatives
• Implement a County-wide Demonstration Project (details on following pages) that defines the market and builds local capacity with the intent to attract a broader regional market to Dubois County

For more information on the study, go to Dubois County Housing Strategies Executive Summary or Dubois County Housing Strategies Frequently Asked Questions

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