A Flaherty Hood report prepared last month for the Greater Minnesota Partnership demonstrates the need for more workforce housing across the state.

The partnership’s workforce housing proposal “gives tax credits and grants to workforce housing projects located in cities with private sector employment over 500 jobs, with rental vacancy rates less than 5 percent for at least two years, and with a private sector jobs to population ratio of at least 40 percent.” There are quite a few southwest Minnesota communities on this list of qualifiers: Worthington (56.96 percent), Jackson (63.59 percent), Lakefield (77.11 percent), Pipestone (51 percent), Slayton (45.03 percent) and Windom (57.49 percent) all make the cut.

When Sen. Amy Klobuchar spoke this past Thursday at the Worthington Bio Conference, she noted that a study on Worthington’s housing needs indicated that 500 more housing units are needed by 2020. “At the current pace of development, that would take 60 years,” Klobuchar said.

Worthington and other cities across our area need more housing if they’re going to remain economically viable. The reality is that the type of proposal put forth by the Greater Minnesota Partnership is necessary, and legislative action critical.