Construction to Begin on New Apartment Complex in Elko
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At the moment, 800 multi-family housing units are needed in Elko.
The shortage means many mining employees and their families are living in hotels or with co-workers as they wait for housing to become available.
A new project to build about 100 units was approved this week, after a year of negotiations with financial lenders to fund the project.
Pam Borda, Executive Director of the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority, says it's difficult to convince banks to lend money for housing projects in the area.
"Immediately, people assume when you say 'Elko, Nevada' they equate Nevada as being number one in foreclosures in the nation," Borda said. "So, we have to go through quite a process to educate that Elko is not part of that."
In May, the agency held a meeting in Reno to educate lenders about the area's economic vitality, and convince banks to lend money for the projects. Borda says the meetings were a success, but there is still a large housing shortage to overcome.
She says although Elko is economically stable, the lack of housing has hindered its ability to be even more successful. For example, a steakhouse from Idaho cancelled plans to build a restaurant there.
"They did their due diligence and said, 'We don't think we could do it right now because there's no housing even if we could find a workforce,'" Borda said.
There are currently three housing projects that have yet to be funded.