Community Economic Development
SENCA is committed to developing safe, decent, appropriate, and affordable housing for low-to-moderate income persons. SENCA works to identify the current housing needs for families within Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, and Sarpy counties in Nebraska. SENCA encourages persons that have knowledge of an existing need to contact the agency to explore ways the need may be addressed. SENCA’s Housing Development Department is dedicated to the agency’s mission of “investing in people to build strong communities.” For more information on Nebraska's housing programs, click here.
SENCA has been involved in housing related activities for many years. In 1995, SENCA's Board of Directors adopted an official resolution recognizing the shortage of safe, decent, sanitary, and affordable housing throughout the agency's service area. This resolution further stated that SENCA is committed to increasing the availability of affordable housing through developing, owning, sponsoring, and managing affordable housing projects and activities. In 2004, the Board of Directors re-affirmed this commitment and adopted a process by which the beneficiaries of such affordable housing projects would be provided with opportunities to participate in the development of these projects and activities. Since the original commitment to affordable housing projects, SENCA has assumed ownership and management of three rental housing complexes within southeast Nebraska. These three rental housing complexes provide 15 units of multi-family, rental housing and 12 units of elderly-disabled housing. Rent within each of these units is based upon a household's income and rental assistance is available. In addition to the aforementioned rental complexes, SENCA is part owner of a 24 unit, multi-family rental complex in Nebraska City. Timber Ridge apartments provide both housing for low-income families and market-rate units. In order to learn more about Timber Ridge or how to apply visit Perry Reid Properties.
In the fall of 2002 SENCA became approved as a REACH Affiliate Educator. REACH (Readiness, Education, Awareness Collaborative for Homebuyers & Homeowners) has the mission to remove the barriers of home ownership through a statewide education delivery system, enhancing the success of homebuyers in achieving and maintaining home ownership. SENCA is an educator for Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, Richardson, and Sarpy counties.
In 2005, SENCA implemented a project known as SENCA HOMES (home ownership makes economic sense) which provided eligible first-time homebuyers with down payment assistance through deferred, below market-rate loans. Buyers were also provided with housing rehabilitation grants in order to address health and safety issues, code violations, and energy efficiency issues associated with the homes purchases. This project, aimed at assisting new homeowners, has the most direct impact on economic development. The project was a huge success and an excellent opportunity for the local economy that produced $5 for every $1 invested. SENCA continues to operate this program today.
In 2008, SENCA implemented a project known as SENCA OOR (Owner Occupied Rehab). The SENCA OOR program is aimed at assisting low-to-moderate income homeowners with the rehab and preservation of the area's older housing stock. The program addresses code deficiencies, minimum rehab standards, energy conservation, fire protection, incipient deficiencies and general improvements. Addressing these housing issues will improve the health, safety, and affordability of area homes. The first project was very successful and an excellent opportunity for the local economy that produced $2 for every $1 invested. SENCA continues to operate this program today.
The department is responsible for conducting and developing new affordable housing projects and activities that address the needs of low-to-moderate income families. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Housing Development Department conducts affordable housing activities including the identification of needs, gaining public support, and gathering input from housing beneficiaries. SENCA operates housing projects and activities aimed at assisting renters, first-time homebuyers, and current homeowners. Visit this website’s Weatherization and Affordable Housing pages to learn more. Scroll down to learn more about SENCA Homebuyer Education, SENCA HOMES, and SENCA Owner-Occupied Rehabilitation projects currently available.
“The class was very educational and opened my eyes to the process. There is a lot more to buying a house than I realized.”
– SENCA Class Participant
SENCA holds classes on a regular basis. Classes are offered in two different formats. Interested participants may take a 1 session 8-hour class or complete 2 sessions of 4 hours each. A full 8 hours must be completed in order to receive a Certificate of Completion. Participants learn how to develop a budget, determine a down payment, and how to work with a realtor. Credit issues, financing options, insurance and taxes, offers and closing, and home maintenance are also addressed. From start to finish, our instructors are prepared to walk homebuyers through the home buying process. Instructors are also available to work one-on-one and help develop an action plan that determines the necessary steps to becoming a homeowner.
Registrations must be received at least one week in advance. Registration consists of submitting a completed Homebuyer Education Application and a $35 registration fee. Classes are available to everyone regardless of income and all participants are provided an opportunity to complete a screening for down payment assistance. To learn more about REACH and/or locate a workshop near you visit www.housingdevelopers.org.
For Homebuyer Education class schedule and application packet, please click here.
“I couldn’t have done this without SENCA’s help.”
– SENCA HOMES Loan & Grant Recipient.
SENCA HOMES provides financial assistance to eligible, first-time home buyers to purchase a home and make improvements which ensure the health and safety of the home purchased. This program is funded through the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Fund and/or HOME funds which are managed through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. In order to be eligible first-time homebuyers must meet income guidelines and complete SENCA’s Homebuyer Education class. Read above to learn about this class. Pre-application eligibility also includes receiving pre-approval for a 1st mortgage and a determination of income eligibility for SENCA HOMES. Household income must not exceed 80% or 100% of area median income (depending on funding source). Current income guidelines can be found here. 2013 Income Guidelines, click here.
Down payment assistance of up to 20% of the total purchase price with a $15,000 maximum and a $1,500 minimum is made available through a low interest, deferred loan. Applicants are given 1 year for every $1,500 utilized in order to repay SENCA HOMES. During the first 2 years of the loan there is no interest accrual and no payments required. Beginning in year 3, interest accrues at a rate of 1% and payments never exceed $135 per month.
In addition to the down payment assistance loan, eligible homebuyers may be provided with a grant of up to $15,000 in order to complete needed repairs/rehab to the home purchased. Upon homebuyers selecting a home, SENCA will complete an inspection to identify any health and safety hazards that need to be addressed. Dependent upon the required repairs needed being less than $15,000 in cost and the homebuyer's decision to proceed, SENCA will work with the applicant to obtain the services a qualified contractor to make the repairs. All repairs will be made after a loan closing is complete. Any home built prior to 1978 must pass a clearance for lead based paint hazards prior to a family living in the home.
Homebuyers interested in applying for assistance through SENCA HOMES II are strongly encouraged to contact SENCA as early in the home buying process as possible and PRIOR to signing a purchase agreement to purchase a home.
SENCA Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation
SENCA’s Owner-Occupied Housing Rehabilitation project will assist qualified homeowners thanks to funding through the Nebraska Affordable Housing Trust Funds or HOME funds administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development (NE DED). The project is available to assist owner-occupied homes within Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe, Pawnee, & Richardson, & Sarpy counties. SENCA anticipates making this service available in each of the aforementioned counties once every four years.
Units eligible for assistance must be occupied by owners whose income is at or below 80% of the area’s median income by family size. 2013 Income Guidelines are available, click here. Eligible properties must be single-family, owner-occupied dwelling units that do not meet the NE DED Minimum Rehabilitation Standards, as determined by project staff. Rental properties are not eligible. Units assisted must be the principal residence of the owner. The project’s objective is to restore eligible units receiving financial assistance to a physical condition which will result in a life expectancy of at least 20 years.
Eligible properties will receive rehabilitation services that address code deficiencies, minimum rehab standards, incipient deficiencies, energy conservation, fire protection, and general improvements. General improvements will only be addressed after all other identified needs have been addressed. The maximum financial assistance for these rehab services is $24,000. Financial assistance will be provided through conditional grants, deferred loans, and direct loans with 0% interest. The form of financial assistance provided will be determined based upon household income. Households with income at or below the 50% limits will receive conditional grants. Households at or below the 60% limits will receive deferred loans, and those with incomes at or below the 80% limit will receive a direct loan at 0% interest.
The Fair Housing Act
The Fair Housing Act provides you with the right to buy, rent, insure, or living in housing under the same terms and conditions as everyone else without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, family status, or disability. Housing discrimination is against the law. All persons have a right to safe, decent housing, and to have access to this housing without discrimination. The following links provide you access to websites that explain the law and who to contact in the event that you feel you have been discriminated against in the sale or rental of property:
Department of Housing & Urban Development
Department of Housing & Urban Development Topics/Housing Discrimination
Department of Housing & Urban Development - Nebraska
Fair Housing Advisory Services, Inc
Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission
If you feel you have been discriminated against and/or need assistance in accessing help regarding a housing discrimination situation you may contact Angela Antholz, SENCA Housing Development Director at 402-862-2411 ext. 113 or toll free at 888-313-5608 for assistance.
To learn more about any of these services please contact:
802 Fourth Street
P.O. Box 646
Humboldt, NE 68376
Housing Development Director
(402) 862-2411 ext. 113