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KEDCO Talent & Entrepreneurship Stories – How local housing initiatives contribute to thriving communities

Thursday, February 29, 2024

What makes a quality place to live? Living within proximity to where you work? Natural resources and amenities? Family? The answer for many of us is likely a combination of “all of the above” and more. But regardless of our nuanced want lists, if there’s not enough housing available in a community, it limits opportunities and is certainly a barrier for attracting new people.

That’s why the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation (KEDCO) is taking steps to help address housing challenges throughout the county.

Creating more housing has become increasingly more important to local economic development and community organizations because it supports population growth, sustainability, and stimulates local economies,” said KEDCO Co-Interim Director Suzie Light. “From a business standpoint alone, data tells us that a lack of housing can lead to longer commute times, higher turnover rates, and challenges with filling job openings.”

Coming together to address the problem
After a housing needs study commissioned by the City of WarsawKosciusko County, the Kosciusko County Community Foundation (KCCF) in partnership with the Housing Resource Hub, showed market potential for 2,000+ additional housing units in Kosciusko County, KEDCO was identified to create more market-rate workforce housing, with a key focus on proximity to employment centers.

KEDCO utilized the State’s Anchor Employer Workforce Housing Demonstration Program through the Indiana Housing and Development Authority (IHCDA). The program is a public-private partnership that promotes the creation of workforce housing in target communities throughout Indiana.

After IHCDA launched the program, KEDCO worked alongside leading employer Zimmer Biomet, to apply and participate as an Anchor Employer. With approval $1 million in funding from IHCDA to support workforce housing in Kosciusko County, Zimmer Biomet generously matched the funding with $1 million. KEDCO then established a revolving loan fund to help support development projects and gain some momentum with the initiative.

What does the process look like?
KEDCO works with local units of government to identify potential sites and assesses key factors such as: soil conditions, road access, available utilities, and proximity to employers. A local steering committee identifies a preferred location, KEDCO then pursues site control, manages a request-for-proposals (RFP) process to identify a developer and builder for the property, and serves as a point-of-contact for project, helping with communication and negotiation needed for local support required to move the project forward.

“By creating more housing in proximity to some of our largest employers, this can help reduce commute times for employees who currently live outside of the area while offering new employees more options and opportunities to live near work,” said KEDCO Talent Partner Jessica Hauck.

Transformation – A few projects underway
KEDCO is working alongside and supporting the City of Warsaw and Rebar Development to rehabilitate and develop the former Gatke warehouse and factory site located along the “Argonne Corridor” connecting Warsaw and Winona Lake. The Gatke project will offer a unique mix of housing, flexible office/studio options, and commercial space. KEDCO also worked alongside the City to develop and distribute a request for proposal to developers for the Millworks mixed-use project coming to the former Owen’s grocery store site in downtown Warsaw.

Another example includes the new Eastfield Subdivision in Milford. Located on the northeast side of Milford off 1250 N, Eastfield will offer more than 50 single-family homes when construction is finished by Goshen-based Miller Brothers Builders. Eastfield currently has two brand new homes for sale, with a third home coming to market in the next month.

Another part of KEDCO’s role is stay connected with employers about housing availability.

 “The more our employers and HR personnel know, the better, because they’re recruiting and hiring and having those conversations with current employees and potential hires about where they want to live and what they need,” said Hauck.

Interested in getting involved with workforce housing? Contact KEDCO at or 574-306-4119. Stay up with events and happenings by connecting with KEDCO via Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram @kosciuskoedc.