In 2021, the I-68 Regional Alliance, a TGCC led coalition of industry partners, economic
development organizations, non-profit organizations, chambers of commerce, representatives
from institutions of higher learning, and local, state and federal government offices, identified
the lack of adequate housing for professional workers as a significant obstacle to the attraction
and retention of workers needed to grow and sustain the economic development of the area.
With no reliable data compiled on a regional basis to support the wide-spread perception that
adequate housing for the targeted segment - “middle market” or “professional” workforce does
not currently exist, the Alliance sought grant funding to engage a consultant to undertake a
study to define and determine whether this perceived housing shortage exists, and if so, to
deliver a set of specific recommendations and action steps to ameliorate the shortage quickly.
This initiative, funded by the Rural Maryland Council, Allegany, Garrett, Mineral, Bedford &
Somerset Counties, Frostburg State University and the Garrett County Community Action
Committee, represents a $62,469.00 investment. Its goals are to ascertain barriers to the
development of market-rate housing in the region; identify strategic target markets
(households), their housing preferences, and possible supply gaps, define actionable strategies
that would address barriers to development and stimulate the right kind of housing in the right
locations, and determine other demand-inducing investments.
Nearly 50 stakeholders from across the region attended the virtual kick-off meeting on
December 17, 2021 to build awareness about, and support for, the project. These stakeholders
represent a broad spectrum of interests, including Realtors, bankers, developers, planners,
employers, HR Directors, economic development leaders and the like. Data collection
continues through February with a survey of housing preferences and interest in new housing
products to be distributed to major regional employers and their employees. In addition, a
series of stakeholder interviews will occur during February with a final report due in April, 2022.
This project is possible due to the generous support of the Rural Maryland Council.