The Importance of Housing in Growing a Successful, Thriving Community

The Importance of Housing in Growing a Successful, Thriving Community Main Photo

10 Jun 2024

Access to housing is a cornerstone of economic development – and it’s something that One East Kentucky is supportive of in our region. Adequate housing gives residents stability, enabling them to establish roots, find employment, and stay close to family. Ultimately, prioritizing housing initiatives not only improves living standards but also fuels economic progress, laying the foundation for a prosperous society.

The communities in Eastern Kentucky are actively working together to invest in infrastructure to support housing for our region’s skilled workforce. From housing summits to new construction projects, here’s how Eastern Kentucky leaders are prioritizing safe, accessible, and affordable housing.

How Local Government is Tackling the Housing Crisis

In April 2024, Johnson County leaders gathered for their first-ever Housing Summit. Developers and housing experts discussed the need for new housing developments in Eastern Kentucky, exploring how private-public partnerships can help drive housing innovation forward. Members of the One East Kentucky team highlighted how housing access is critical to moving individuals toward meaningful careers. Creating housing to attract and retain the workforce has a snowball effect. When individuals have an affordable place to live, they’re more likely to secure local jobs, which grows the economy and attracts new investment to the area. When the local economy grows, more housing projects are started, repeating the positive cycle again.

Another theme at the summit was downtown development and revitalization. Kentuckians are proud of this state we call home, and keeping our downtowns beautiful is part of that pride. Local government leaders discussed the innovative strategies they’ve seen work in other communities, exploring how to apply them locally. Summit attendees made plans to uncover what’s important to each community when revitalizing downtown areas.

In addition to the recent housing summit, local government leaders in Perry, Knott, and Letcher Counties are working to complete Kentucky’s first higher-ground housing sites. These projects are designed to provide housing for the victims of the devastating July 2022 flood. The state of Kentucky has secured nearly $300 Million in federal grants to make these projects happen. Thankfully, new housing sites are almost ready for construction, so families impacted by the flood will soon have new places to call home.

Supporting Kentuckians Through Housing Development

The One East Kentucky region is comprised of tight-knit communities. Rich in outdoor recreation, arts & culture, and incredible school systems, Eastern Kentucky communities offer residents a stellar quality of life. The cost of living in most communities is lower than the U.S. national average, while wages for skilled workers are competitive. With an available, skilled workforce, many industries find themselves relocating to Eastern Kentucky to take advantage of the opportunities available here. However, the OEK team does more than just develop industrial sites. Part of our commitment to maintaining and growing our incredible state is through supporting holistic community development projects, like improving housing.

OEK supports the planning and development of new housing opportunities to attract more workers but also to keep Kentucky families close to home. As a firm believer that no one should have to leave home to find work, OEK’s President Colby Kirk ensures that housing and industrial development go hand in hand - increasing job opportunities in the state while creating enough housing to support the local workforce. To learn more about OEK’s mission for community development, visit our website today.