NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — When expanding the economy in our rural communities, North Dakota cities need to first focus on one thing: housing.

Rural counties, that want to attract businesses and jobs to the region, need to have that housing stock ready. Once you have nice and affordable homes, you’ll attract jobs, like police and city employees. This brings families to the area. Then, once there is a strong, vibrant community, businesses can then set up shop.

It’s these important objectives that can change a city for the better.

“The increase of or availability of affordable housing for the rural workforce, improve the quality and safety of existing housing units, so this could be rehabilitation of apartment or housing within rural communities,” said Emma Cook, the Community Development Liaison from the ND Department of Commerce.

Home is where the heart is, and as Emma Cook says, once you create these safe, affordable homes, that’s the start of something good for the local economy.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce has a Rural Workforce Housing Grant program available to help these cities begin this step.