NeighborWorks hopes to generate more low-income housing

NeighborWorks looks at plans to generate more low income housing

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - NeighborWorks Pocatello has been around for 25 years and in that time, it’s worked to have affordable housing available for the community.

On Thursday, NeighborWorks presented its five-year strategic plan to the city council.

One of the things NeighborWorks Pocatello is known for is home ownership and creating those ownership opportunities.

But community needs are changing.

Mark Dahlquist, executive director of NeighborWorks Pocatello, said not everyone is ready to own a home, or has the financial resources to do so. 

So there’s a growing need for low-priced, quality rentals.

“I know in Pocatello and probably many other communities that it’s serving that low-income population that’s 50% varying median income or less, that according to the city’s consolidated plan, that’s our biggest housing need in the community," Dahlquist explained. "So I think one thing we can do to really elevate the community is pay attention to that.”

That is just one change NeighborWorks is working on the next several years.

Along with rental spaces, also comes the need for rental education.

NeighborWorks is currently working with local landlords to try and develop some sort of program agreement with new renters.

“For example, their renter, when they’re first starting out, they could take a class from NeighborWorks and maybe their landlord would agree to knock $50 off their first month’s rent and I think that would be a dual benefit. It would save the renter a little bit on the first payment, but for the landlord, it would create a more quality and responsible tenant.”

There's another change coming NeighborWorks is also looking to be prepared for.

“We know the dynamics and the demographics of the community are changing and housing is important and housing for lower and moderate income folks is important," Dahlquist described. "But there are a lot of things coming down the pipe with the FBI expansion and Northgate so I think we’ve got possibly another niche to fill there with mixed income levels.”

NeighborWorks will also be looking at redeveloping and modernizing its community boundaries.

And, starting this year, it will also be rolling out a small dollar loan program.

It will work with local employers to offer payroll deductions to help keep people financially healthy.

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