It is with great anticipation that we have been looking forward to the release of the Statewide Housing Needs Assessment. That document is a valuable compass for our agency, for our communities, for our housing partners and really for anyone with an interest in where we are headed as a state.
Coming up with projections of housing need is not an easy task. There are so many variables that can change very quickly as we have seen over the past decade. The researchers at North Dakota State University based the projections on the information we know today and what the historical trends show us. They are rooted in the science of demography and follow a path from individuals to society and the economy in general via the abodes which we all choose. They show us how people in North Dakota live and what our possible future could look like.
I say “possible” because despite the scientific basis, the projections are still just a best guess. I like to say they are projections – not necessarily destiny. Whatever the projections may be, they require action. Homes don’t just appear in a community; they have to be built. And for those areas that might not like what the projections show, we have to take action to make positive changes. Whether it is a new company providing more jobs or some cultural shift where people make different choices than they did in the past, our trajectory can be influenced and it is up to all of us to do that.
I didn’t want to rehash all the numbers for you here or set some overarching goal because I want you to read the assessment and look for yourself at what priorities you see emerging in your community. After you do that, I want your input. We will be holding stakeholder forums in each region in a couple of weeks and I hope you take that opportunity to come discuss with us how together we can influence our future. I look forward to seeing you there!