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Home Ownership Program Update

Program Assisted in Purchase of 25 Homes Last Year

Financial incentives offered through the NCK Home Ownership Program assisted in the purchase of 25 homes in the region following the pilot program’s official expansion to Jewell and Saline Counties in June 2021.

The program assisted eligible home buyers with down payment and closing cost assistance. The total value of the 25 homes was $4.3 million, with $312,500 coming from the pilot program. Five homes in Jewell County and three homes in Saline County were purchased with program assistance. Another 17 homes were purchased in counties where the NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program had launched previously. The program completed in December 2021.

The NCRPC administered the program offered by its housing non-profit, NCK Housing Opportunities, Inc. The non-profit serves Cloud, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, and Saline Counties. An award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas, assisted in the creation of the loan and grant pool, along with a regional match from NCK Housing Opportunities, Inc. The mission of the non-profit is to preserve and strengthen housing in its service area.

The 2021 pilot defined and marketed an eligible home project to include a home purchase price of $50,000 or greater including an existing home, existing home with planned/financed upgrades totaling $50,000 or greater, manufactured home including lot and infrastructure, or new construction.

“The results of this new marketing effort resulted in 10 of the 25 eligible home projects including $211,000 investment in improvements/remodeling of the existing home being purchased and a $1,411,000 investment in new housing stock,” NCRPC Home Ownership Program Coordinator Keegan Bailey said.”

Program data indicate positive local impacts. In a survey of home buyers, 20% were first-time home buyers and 39% took a new job in the last 24 months with 10% of those reporting the program incentive was a factor in their job decision.

“With the expansion of the pilot program to Jewell and Saline counties, we continued to see strong interest from individuals with local ties to the region with 73% of homebuyers reporting that they graduated from a school in the NCRPC 12-county service area,” NCRPC Home Ownership Program Manager Debra Peters said. “We were also encouraged by 24% of buyers moving from out of state.”

Additional pilot programs have been completed in the City of Marysville and Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Lincoln and Mitchell Counties. Since 2018, home ownership programs have combined to assist in the purchase of 114 homes in the region with an approximate value of $14.2 million. Future plans include the expansion of pilot home ownership programs in each of the remaining counties in the NCRPC 12-county service area, pending the availability of funding.

Learn more about the home ownership programs.

Washington County Home Ownership Program Currently Available
Pilot program launched June 20, 2022. Limited funds available on a first come, first served basis. Act now!

Offered by Four Rivers Housing Opportunities, Inc., a non-profit serving Clay, Dickinson, Marshall and Washington Counties. Managed by North Central Regional Planning Commission.

Learn More

This article appeared in the June 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Project Spotlight: Innovation Stimulus Program

Program Provided Support, Engineering Services to Local Businesses including Double L Manufacturing

By Bret Lanz, Commercialization Director for Technology Development Institute

Double L Manufacturing worked with Technology Development Institute to create SolidWorks™ models for some of its product lines. (Courtesy Photo)

As the economy continues to recover from the pandemic, supply chain concerns and labor shortages continue to impact businesses across the region. In an effort to streamline production processes and document its growing line of products, Double L Manufacturing applied to receive engineering support through the Innovation Stimulus Program.

The Innovation Stimulus Program was a partnership between the Technology Development Institute (TDI) at Kansas State University and the NCRPC. It was made possible through funding from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) through the CARES Act.

Since its inception in 2017, Double L Manufacturing, located in Clay Center has continued to grow despite the pandemic challenges. The company specializes in metal fabrication with a mixture of tractor and skid steer attachments which can be private labeled and are sold at a number of implement dealers across the region. It also provides custom fabrication services.

The company applied to the Innovation Stimulus Program in hopes of obtaining engineering support to create CAD models of several of its highest selling products. The models would enable creation of individual part drawings and a detailed set of manufacturing instructions to assist in training new employees.

“We are focused on daily production and ensuring we have all the materials on hand to meet our customer’s needs. We don’t typically have time or the resources to create engineering models and detailed work instructions” said Thomas Mulligan, owner of Double L. “Working with the engineering team at K-State has been a great experience to generate the documentation needed to ensure the highest quality product possible.”

As part of the project, TDI created SolidWorks™ models of the company’s bale spear, pallet forks and tree saw product line in addition to many of the fixtures needed to produce the products. They used the models to work with Double L staff to create detailed manufacturing instructions for each product to improve quality and reduce production time.

“Thomas has done an excellent job of growing his company during some of the most difficult times in recent memory and continues to expand into new products and services,” said Bret Lanz, Commercialization Director for Technology Development Institute.

This article appeared in the June 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.

Business Owner Creates Platform for Mental Wellness Tools

Loan Provides Capital for Business to Pivot Operations
image of Catherine DiNuzzo

Catherine DiNuzzo

A revenue decline during the pandemic pushed one local business owner to take a new and proactive approach to her business.

Catherine DiNuzzo is a Licensed Professional Counselor, author, and speaker. Based in Beloit, Kansas, she has been in private practice since 2010. Faced with challenges during the pandemic, DiNuzzo pivoted her business model and founded Sacred Heart Mental Wellness. The new platform provides tools and resources for mental wellness and dealing with anxiety from a Catholic perspective. Her accompanying book, “The Catholic Guide Through Anxiety,” is currently available on Amazon.

“When the pandemic hit, the mental health sector did very well. However, in the months immediately following, there was uncertainty and financial constraints and it began to have an impact on my business,” DiNuzzo said. “I was also seeing how the pandemic would affect people’s mental health as a whole and I saw a need. My goal is to change mental health into mental wellness. Part of that shift for me was to be proactive and make tools and resources more accessible with shorter, smaller snippets of information that are more digestible.”

A business loan enabled DiNuzzo to invest in the online resources that she says she would not have otherwise had the capital to do at the time.

“I worked with a local studio for website design/videography and a local person helped me with my book. I really appreciated this opportunity and this was one way I could give back to my area. The loan provided a bridge to help me get to the next place with my business goals.”

The project was made possible, in part, through assistance from the NCK Business Relief Loan Program that was funded by the EDA CARES Act RLF 2020 and administered by the NCRPC. Additional investment was made by the owner.

Learn more about NCRPC Business Finance services and the business.

This article appeared in the June 2022 NCRPC Newsletter.