Local organization works to improve housing quality for low-income people | New
CORE Development Inc. started from a conversation in a café in Ewing.
Since that humble beginning in 1990, six towns have come together to form CORE, which is an acronym for four of those original six: Clearwater, Orchard, Royal and Ewing, with Page and Inman rounding out the six. CORE now serves 11 communities in Holt and Antelope counties. The five additional towns are Brunswick, Chambers, Elgin, Neligh and Oakdale.
Long before becoming an incorporated organization, CORE worked to take several small towns and empower them to effect positive change in their communities, just as cities can with their size. The founders of the group saw strength in numbers.
The five improvement missions that CORE Development Inc. focuses on are recreation, housing, business development and retention, rural health and tourism. The first project undertaken by the organization was to lead and assist in the construction of a golf course near Ewing. Summerland Golf Course opened in 1992.
Since then, for the past 30 years, CORE has primarily focused on improving the quality of housing for low-income people.
Dennis Sanne, a lifelong Clearwater citizen, has been a board member since 1993, when he was approached by the organization and asked to chair the housing committee. Since 1995, Sanne has chaired the board of directors.
In addition to Sanne, the other board members are Kurt Knapp, vice president; Dave Timm, Treasurer; Greg Thramer, secretary; Rod Schlecht, Mike Tabbert, Mike Mahood, Vicki Doty, Debra Fisher, Nikki Hahn, Angie Robertson, Denny Hughes, Myron Hergert, Dick Haskin, James Ramold, Dennis VanEvery, Don Linquist and Anna Stamp. They are nominated by their communities and then elected by the current board members.
To help low-income people find housing, CORE offers two forms of assistance. They can help homebuyers with up to 25% down payment, and they can offer up to $25,000 for homeowner rehabilitation assistance.
To do this, CORE receives grants from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development in Lincoln, and they use these grants to provide low-interest loans to low-income homeowners. The highest tranche is full repayment on a 20-year loan at 3% interest, Sanne said.
In March, the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund presented CORE Development, Inc. with an award for the work it has done on homeowner rehabilitation. According to a press release regarding the award, “CORE Development, Inc. leveraged a 2017 NAHTF award of $240,660 to rehabilitate substandard housing and demolish unsafe structures in Holt and Antelope counties.
The completed projects served nine income-eligible homeowners who were unable to afford the cost of major but much-needed home repairs.
CORE received a 2021 housing grant of over $300,000 to continue this work, and the group is currently taking and processing applications for these funds.
Interested persons can contact Sanne. His address and phone number can be found on the coredevelopmentinc.org website.
“I’m excited about the down payment portion that we’re offering because when you have landlords instead of tenants, people are more likely to do maintenance on their homes,” Sanne said. “When you talk about small towns, there are a lot of old people and low income people, and then the housing stock tends to deteriorate, so with CORE Development, people have another way to get funds to fix their houses.”
He said he was proud of the work the group has done to help low-income people over the past three decades.
“We have received letters of appreciation from candidates who have participated in our program and have shown great joy,” he said.
Sanne said he hopes CORE will continue to help low-to-moderate income people with their housing for many years to come.