There are few things worse than stumbling around in the dark trying to find the door while tripping over shoes, laundry baskets and stray pets. It’s nice to know where you’re going.

This, essentially, is the reasoning behind a request to the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority that it fund about half the cost of a $52,000 study to assess Sarpy County’s housing needs. We need to know where we’re going, and right now we don’t have a road map.

The request has been filed, with the support of the Sarpy County Board and cities across the county, by the Housing Foundation for Sarpy County, which is affiliated with the Bellevue Housing Agency, the only HUD-affiliated agency in the county dedicated to providing low-income housing.

Carolyn Pospisil, executive director of the BHA, said the study will not be limited to the need for low-income — or affordable — housing, which is the special responsibility of her agency.

It will instead survey the entire housing landscape in Sarpy County as its population hurtles toward the 200,000 mark.

This is an important need.

The county, in partnership with the five cities, is opening up the southern half of Sarpy County by installing sewer systems below an inconvenient ridge line that restricted growth throughout the previous century.

This will, beyond question, spur vigorous housing construction.

That will, in turn, pose questions to civic leaders to which we do not yet have answers.

We are stumbling in the dark.

A positive response from NIFA to this request will pay a handsome dividend, as the fastest growing area in the state gets a firmer grip on the housing needs of the people who will soon settle here.

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