Most rural Nebraskans believe there are not enough homes or quality homes available for rent in their communities.
That is according to the Nebraska Rural Poll from University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of Agricultural Economics.
Research manager Becky Vogt says community leaders need to pay attention to their town’s housing options.
“I think many of them do, because potential residents may look elsewhere,” Vogt tells Nebraska Radio Network. “I think it is important to try to address that issue, so communities can grow. They can recruit new residents and a needed workforce.”
The opinion poll also shows many rural residents say there are not enough existing homes or quality homes available for sale.
Vogt says having housing stock available is not enough, because it has to be preferred by new residents.
“There might be some housing available, but it might not be what a person moving there might be looking for,” she says, “so it really is a… you know, there’s no easy solutions to the problem.”
The poll taken earlier this year finds residents of north central Nebraska see housing issues as more of a problem than other areas.
Nebraska Extension professor Randy Cantrell with the Rural Futures Institute at UNL says some communities are creative in addressing their housing issues.
“You have the places that have tried the free lot in an effort to get people to build in their communities,” Cantrell tells Nebraska Radio Network. “You have places that do provide subsidies to senior citizens to help them maintain the house, so it comes on the market in a type of saleable situation.”
Cantrell says that in many rural areas, a third or more of all housing units were built before 1939.