Housing Crisis Addressed at Council Meeting 18 Jan 17

They wanted action and action is what they got.

After years pushing the City Council to come up with answers to a local housing crisis, Business Leaders are finally seeing progress in options that will allow the local labor market in Thief River Falls to expand and invest.

Development Director Christine Anderson says, over the past 14 months developers have created 145 new apartment units city-wide and addressed the problem of student housing with the newly renovated NCTC Apartment Complex, which is full. Work Force demand has eased with the opening of West River Falls Estates, the subsidized Noper Project, 102 units, as of Tuesday, 46 of those units were still available for rent.

And it appears the option of apartment rental may be appealing to retirees, with an unexpected shift that has also opened the market for single family homes, Anderson says, of the 76 now on the market locally, 13 are priced under $100,000, 27 in the $100,000 to $160,000 range and 36 over $160,000. That compares to less than 10 homes available in the Thief River Falls Market 30 months ago.

So, as the market opens in Thief River Falls, is there still interest in redeveloping the former hospital site down town?

Schuett Companies has proposed a purchase of the former Sanford Site for high end housing development.

How does housing correspond to employment when it comes to the availability of jobs in the listening area?

According to the latest numbers from the Minnesota Office of Employment and Economic Development, it is a moving target.

DEED numbers show unemployment grew slightly in Pennington County from 3.4% last October to 4.4% in November. That equals 400 people out of work in a Labor Force Deed targets at nearly 9,000. But that was significantly down from a high of 8% unemployment in March of last year, a time when seasonal workers traditionally remain on annual company furlough.

And from month to month the seasonally un-adjusted numbers can vary greatly. Looking at the last three years, that includes, an unemployment low of only 2.6% in October of 2014 to a high of 8.7% in March of that same year.