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Results of Rushford housing study unveiled


Fri, Mar 28th, 2008
Posted in Government

The results of the long-awaited housing study conducted by Maxfield Research, commissioned by the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund, were unveiled last Thursday at Stumpy's.

Numerous sources of funding and grants are dependent upon this study being conducted, and the assumption is that the study's arrival will grease the wheels of progress for housing flood recovery in Rushford.

About forty people gathered to hear the generalized results presented by Mary Bujold.

On the positive side, Bujold noted that Rushford had experienced housing growth in the period from 2000-2007, and was thus on a slight growth trend at the time of the August 2007 flood where many homes were destroyed.

Of the approximately 65 residents surveyed who are in temporary housing, all stated they wanted to remain in or move back to Rushford, with the greatest proportion wanting to rebuild their existing home.

Bujold reported that nearly all the rental properties in Rushford were either seriously damaged or destroyed in the flood, creating an immediate need for rental housing. Unfortunately, some rental property owners, including Linda Hovland who was present, have experienced falling through the funding cracks between business and housing.

Another positive sign for Rushford's growth is the fact that the population is spread fairly evenly throughout these three demographic groups: 25 to 44; 45-65; 65 and over. It is more typical of small rural towns to be heavy in one or two of these groups.

In the year prior to the flood, Rushford had experienced a slight job loss of 20 jobs out of 1,130. However, an optimistic projection based on commitments of new business and industry coming to town sees growth of 21 new jobs in 2008 and 32 more in 2009, according to Bujold.

On the negative side is the funding gap between what some home owners need to rebuild, and what they've been able to obtain so far.

The study estimates a modest demand for housing growth in the future-a total of 21 market rate and 32 affordable homes between now and 2015. On the rental side, the study predicts a need for 24 new market rate units and 33 affordable units in the same time span.

But by reading between the lines of the presentation, one can see that housing demand will be entirely dependent on the far-from-guaranteed prospect of job growth.

The complete study can be viewed on the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund website by late next week--www.gmhf.com

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