Business owners and other employers in Dare County were urged today by County Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Woodard to respond to a survey about their employees’ housing needs as part of a joint venture with the Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the University of North Carolina’s School of Government.

Dare County has “engaged a development finance initiative” at UNC-CH’s SOG, Mr. Woodard said in a videotaped message that also addressed COVID-19 and other local issues, “to identify opportunities for new housing development.”

This action was taken, the Chairman said, in response to concerns expressed “for years” by local business owners and employers that their workers cannot find “suitable housing” on the Dare Outer Banks.

“More diverse residential opportunities are needed to support business,” he said.

The Development Finance Initiative at the SOG assists local governments with attracting private investment to communities that have struggled on their own to realize their economic development potential. These governments are often in small towns or rural areas that are considered economically distressed—which Dare County is not—according to DFI’s website. See https://dfi.sog.unc.edu/

As part of the development initiative process, DFI must gather “information about the specific housing needs of our workforce,” Mr. Woodard said.

The housing survey is available online at darenc.com/employerhousingsurvey. It has about 20 questions and is estimated to take about 10 minutes.

In other news, Mr. Woodard announced that work has begun “to make way for the new COA campus” on U.S. 64 in Manteo. The campus will be located on the site of the former Manteo middle and high school buildings and grounds.

THE BEACON, 9/17/20

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