By Shelby Lindrud
West Central Tribune
WILLMAR — According to a 2015 housing study, the population of Kandiyohi County has grown by 398 households since 2010 and is expected to grow another 299 households by 2020. Those new arrivals will need somewhere to live and, based on the study, that might not be an easy find.
“I think the housing we have is very stressed,” said Jill Bengston, Kandiyohi County Housing and Redevelopment Authority executive director, during a discussion last week.
Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development director, said Willmar’s unemployment rate sits at around 3 percent, below the state and national average, and businesses are still looking for workers.
The low availability of affordable, market-rate housing, whether to buy or rent, can cause those employees to live outside of Kandiyohi County.
“Absence of affordable housing keeps those commuting as commuters,” Peterson said.
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I made connections with community members and found many common visions. I have begun to get more active in the community due to the connections.
“We are proud to be part of the Vision 2040 effort here at the community foundation because it aligns with our core mission to engage people, connect resources and build community. It was an easy choice to invest not only financial resources to support Vision 2040 but also to lend significat board and staff time to help drive this effort forward. It's transforming our communities for the future our residents dream about-using their ideas and energies to make good things happen organically in real time and for years to come-and we want to be part of making that possible!”
“I'm proud to volunteer and support the efforts of Vision 2040 because creating a healthy community takes a collabortive effort. No one person or entity can create a community where people want to live and work and play, but working together we can create it. Vision 2040 started with an inclusive effort to bring together people from across our region to articulate their vision of the future of our region's communities. The goals that emerged from that vision offer everyone the opportunity to share in the collaborative work necessary to create a healthy and vibrant region--and that's a good thing for all of us.”