AUBURN – Auburn broke ground Monday on a housing project that is intended to build resiliency in the rural workforce and give a boost to the local housing market.

City Administrator Crystal Dunekacke said 40 percent of the city’s housing stock is over 80 years old, but the city received $520,000 from the state-funded Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund and is starting construction this spring on two single-family homes



Dunekacke: “Our latest housing study indicated that we have an aging stock of our housing units and we need more units that are $200,000 plus range, about 213 of those, and then more of the $350 to $400,000 range, more like another 100 units of that. So there is substantial demand.”

Brian Lavigne of Lavigne Construction said the houses along Kuhlmann Avenue are not from a "cookie cutter" design.

Lavigne: “They are a little bit nicer. They’re going to have hip roofs. They are single story. They are actually going to be pretty nice. They are going to fit into the neighborhood pretty well.”

Mayor Chris Erickson said the city also plans to break ground later this year on the Westgate housing project that will have 34 buildable lots connected to streets and utilities.

Erickson: “We’re going to build these houses – these two houses here. We’re going to sell them on the market and then, when we received those funds back, we will have more revolving funds to be able to do this project again and hopefully just keep rolling this along and keep building houses just like this.”

In a decades old program, the city is still offering $10,000 in cash to anyone who will build a house.