After hearing stories of new employees hired by Sherman County organizations that couldn’t find local housing, Sherman County set to work exploring options to spur the development of additional rental housing. In 2017, Sherman County created the New Rental Housing Development Grant program to provide an incentive for construction of new rental housing, a grant of $10,000 per unit. In 2018, the County created the Housing Rehabilitation Grant program to support renovations of non-owner occupied housing, with the goal of bringing existing housing up to working family standards. Eligible applicants can receive up to $20,000 through this program. Between 2017 and 2020, the County approved about $175,000 in grants to nine applicants with these two programs. The projects included five rental projects expected to complete a total of 13 units, and four rehab projects.
With these successes, the County realized that there was more work to be done with incentivizing housing development. In 2021, two more grant programs were added to their line. The Housing Property Preparation Grant offers applicants up to $20,000 in grant funding to responsibly demolish unsafe housing units, clean up any environmental contaminants on properties and prepare lots for housing redevelopment or sale. The New Housing Construction Grant will provide a $10,000 grant for newly constructed housing units that will be owner-occupied or sold. The County received nine eligible applications to its four programs in 2021, with approximately $90,000 in grants approved to fund two rehab projects, one new rental housing project, and six new housing construction projects.
The County’s fund that supports the housing programs is close to depleted, but an infusion of capital is expected in January 2023. If you are developing housing in Sherman County and are interested in the County’s grant programs, applications can be found on Sherman County’s website. Mid-Columbia Economic Development District (MCEDD) supports the County with the administration of these programs. Contact Jacque Schei (email@example.com, 541-296-2266 ext. 1006) with any questions about the grants or eligibility requirements. Potential applicants are encouraged to review the applications in detail and reach out to Jacque prior to starting projects.