HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) – Finding a place to live in Hastings can be difficult for some, especially those with moderate to low income. The Chamber of Commerce has launched a survey asking people what they think Hastings needs in terms of housing.
Finding somewhere to live in Hastings can be difficult for some and the city is asking for what kind of housing they need more of. (KSNB)
The Community Redevelopment Authority Director Randy Chick said they frequently struggle to help new people coming to town find a place to live. A Hastings Young Professionals focus group had some responses that were fairly common for people new to the community.
‘“I get a job, I move here. I come here and start looking for housing and it’s either a piece of junk or it’s too high priced and it’s not in my budget, it’s not in my price range. there’s not much in the in between,” Chick said.
Chick also said part of why it is so difficult is because new developments had not been built for several years until recently. Now the city is trying to catch up.
Many people who work in Hastings end up living outside of the city, frequently in Grand Island. The survey asks if people would consider moving to town and the reasons why they haven’t so far. Some of the reasons include lack of handicap accessibility, cost of rent, lack of transportation, and more.
“With that, that will give us some direction on what type of developers to be contacting,” Chick said. “If developers come to the community and want to build something, we’ll have that information on here’s what we need and this is fresh data. Here’s what people are telling us they want.”
From focus groups, the chamber has found that there is a gap in the types of housing. There are upscale options that people can’t quite afford and the lower income housing sometimes isn’t in the best shape.
“Affordable housing is a challenging thing especially when you’re building new,” Chick said. “There are state incentives, and federal, and local incentives depending upon where you build that help buy down the cost of those projects.”
Places like the North Park Commons are seeing new developments, but since it is a new facility it is unclear if it will meet the moderate income needs. When asked about the mall on the west side of town and what could happen with that land, Chick said it is too early for the developer to know what they will do with it.