From the Interim Executive Director, December 2019

David Flohr, Interim Executive Director

Season’s Greetings!

The beginning of a new year and a new decade begins in precisely three weeks. In most respects, January 1st will be business as usual, just with a more significant calendar change. Yet new ventures are planned for 2020 that will broaden our spectrum of services.

NDHFA is in the process of taking on the administration of the North Dakota Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC). The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development program promotes a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness. Currently, the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People manages the CoC. There are critical elements that need to be addressed before NDHFA administers the program, but we have determined that the CoC fits within our mission and we are ready to take on this new responsibility.

Our annual conference will become smaller, targeted housing forums in 2020 with Homeownership scheduled in February and Multifamily in April. By hosting shorter, more narrowly focused events at times and in locations that are more convenient for our business partners, our goal is to create opportunities for more meaningful conversations while offering audience-specific education.

Registration is open for the first event, the Homeownership Forum, which will feature Ruth Dillingham, a residential real estate sales and mortgage lending expert, in two locations, Bismarck and Fargo. The multifamily event agenda will be released in January. If you are interested, we are still accepting sponsors and exhibitors for the forums.

As we look to the new year, we must celebrate the success of 2019. NDHFA’s homeownership numbers were strong this year thanks to our lender and real estate partners. Their support drives our ability to fulfill our mission to ensure that every North Dakotan has a place to call home.

The 2019 Legislative allocation of $7.5 million for the Housing Incentive Fund and our planning division’s leveraging of 4% bonds allowed NDHFA to fund twice as many multifamily housing projects, as usual, this fall. Urban and rural communities statewide will be constructing and rehabilitating affordable homes for working families and our aging population, persons with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness.

A final development that took me by surprise this year was the financial award NDHFA received through a multi-state action lawsuit regarding the manipulation of the LIBOR rate by some banks, to their benefit. LIBOR was used as the index to adjust rates on our bond issues. The tenacity of our staff proved fruitful and we plan to use the settlement funds to help the largest number of North Dakotans possible.

Every year seems to pass by more quickly than the one before, so all of us at NDHFA want to take a moment to let all of you know that we sincerely wish you many blessings this holiday season and hope for another wonderful year full of partnership and progress in 2020.

Forums Will Feature Topics for Housing Professionals

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will host a series of Housing Forums in 2020. The events provide educational and networking opportunities for the housing professionals who partner with the agency to deliver its affordable homeownership and rental programs.

“The Forum topics were selected with our housing partners in mind and will be hosted at locations and times convenient to them,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA interim executive director.

The first event, a Homeownership Forum, is targeted to lenders, real estate agents and related professions. The same event will be hosted in two locations, on Feb. 25th at the Doubletree by Hilton in West Fargo and on Feb. 26th at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck.

The featured speaker is Ruth Dillingham, a residential real estate sales and mortgage lending expert. She will provide an Overview of Regulatory Compliance Rules for Residential Mortgage Lending. Dillingham will review the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Section 8 requirements and discuss how to handle referral requests, and review TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) requirements, talk about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the five-year look back requirement.

Following Dillingham’s presentation, a local title company, and real estate and lending professionals will weigh-in during a roundtable discussion.

Register for the Homeownership Forum by Feb. 12 for $40. After Feb. 12, the fee will increase to $60. Registration will close on Feb. 17, 2020.

Real estate continuing education program applications have been submitted to the North Dakota Real Estate Commission and the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce. Upon the approval of the program by these licensing organizations, NDHFA will offer credit for homeownership forum attendance.

The agency will host a Multifamily Forum in Bismarck on April 16th that will be targeted to property managers, multifamily developers and service providers. That event will be preceded by a full day of Uniform Physical Conditions Standards training. Additional details will be released on the multifamily event in late January.

“The Forums will replace NDHFA’s traditional Statewide Housing Conference in 2020,” said Flohr. “By hosting these smaller, targeted events, our goal is to provide opportunities for meaningful conversations while offering audience-specific education.”

A self-supporting state agency, NDHFA finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing in North Dakota. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the agency.

Affordable Housing Development Assistance Allocated Statewide

BISMARCK, N.D. – The North Dakota Industrial Commission announced today that nine projects have received funding commitments from North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) to support the construction or rehabilitation of almost 500 affordable housing units statewide.

NDHFA allocated $3.8 million in federal tax credit authority through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. When syndicated, the credits are expected to generate more than $34 million in project equity. NDHFA also awarded $2.7 million through the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and $7.25 million from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF).

“The funding commitments made by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency support the development of projects in communities large and small that will provide safe and affordable housing for our state’s most vulnerable households,” said members of the Commission in a joint statement. The Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

About the Projects
Lutheran Social Services Housing Inc. was awarded $800,000 from HIF to support the redevelopment of Boulevard Avenue Apartments, preserving 108 units of affordable housing in Bismarck, ND.

The Independent Order of Odd Fellows of North Dakota was awarded $776,000 in credit authority through the LIHTC program to support the redevelopment of IOOF Retirement Village I and II. The project preserves 78 units of supportive senior housing in Devils Lake, ND.

Phase 2 of the Lakeland Court Apartments project in Devils Lake, ND, was awarded $1,289,527 from HIF. The SW Design Build Inc. project will create 24 new, senior-friendly housing units.

Elliott Place, a Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority project, will create 84 new units of supportive senior housing. NDHFA awarded the project $1,128,016 in credit authority through the LIHTC program, $2.2 million from the HTF, and $3 million from HIF.

Homefield 3, the final phase of a Beyond Shelter Inc. (BSI) supportive senior housing development, was awarded $720,274 in credit authority through LIHTC. The Fargo, ND, project will provide 39 new units.

Commonwealth Development Corporation was awarded $720,000 in credit authority through LIHTC to support the development of Eagle Flats in Jamestown, ND. The project will create 33 new homes for families including seven supportive housing units that will be reserved for households at risk of homelessness.

Souris Heights, a 54-unit supportive senior housing complex that will be developed by BSI in Minot, ND, was awarded $1,757,026 through HIF.

A substantial rehab of Courtyard Apartments in Rugby, ND, received a $400,000 award through HIF. The Affordable Housing Developers Inc. project preserves 20 units of affordable rental housing.

The Housing Authority of Cass County was awarded $791,719 in LIHTC program credit authority and $500,000 through the HTF to develop Sierra Townhomes. The West Fargo, ND, project will create 38 new housing units, including nine units of supportive housing for families at risk of homelessness.

About the Programs
LIHTC provides an indirect federal subsidy used to finance the construction or rehabilitation of rental housing for lower-income households. The purpose of the HTF is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households including homeless families. HIF strengthens communities by supporting the development or preservation of rental housing for low- to moderate-income households.

The application process for each program is competitive with the top-scoring projects receiving the awards.

“We had a robust spread of requests for funding this year, with all of our programs receiving applications for more than twice the funding available,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA’s interim executive director.

The development programs administered by NDHFA have allocation plans that are reviewed annually to ensure that the projects that receive financial awards address North Dakota’s greatest housing needs.

Each applicant must provide evidence that there is a need for the type of housing proposed, that the community supports the project, and that construction costs are reasonable. The period of affordability for the projects receiving federal funds is 30 years; HIF’s minimum period of affordability is 15 years.

More information about the development programs administered by NDHFA and the projects awarded assistance is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

Bismarck Housing for Long-Term Homeless Opens

NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr congratulates Burleigh County Housing Authority on the successful completion of Edwinton Place.

BISMARCK, ND – Burleigh County Housing Authority (BCHA) marked the completion of Edwinton Place Apartments today. The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project will provide 40 individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness with a stable home and offer services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness.

After thanking his development partner, Beyond Shelter Inc. (BSI), and the community leaders and organizations that supported the project, BCHA Executive Director Dwight Barden said in reference to Edwinton’s ‘Housing First’ approach, “Now, the real work begins.”

Housing First is endorsed by the federal government as the way to end long-term homelessness, providing immediate, permanent housing without pre-requisites like treatment or sobriety and then offering voluntary services. At Edwinton, the Dacotah Foundation, West Central Human Service Center, Community Options, Heartview Foundation, Youthworks of North Dakota and Job Service will offer treatment for substance abuse, personal care and assistance finding employment. Medical care will be provided by Sanford Health and Northland Health Center.

Edwinton Place

Edwinton Place is a Permanent Supportive Housing project that will provide 40 individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness with a stable home and offer services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness. More photos of the property are available on NDHFA’s Facebook page, https://bit.ly/2pC7Wyq.

Edwinton is North Dakota’s third PSH project to offer individuals Housing First. BSI, a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, partnered with Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority to open Cooper House in 2010 and with Grand Forks Housing Authority to open LaGrave on First in 2018.

“Beyond Shelter focuses on developing housing for the lowest income households in the community, the people whose needs are often overlooked,” BSI Development Director Lisa Rotvold.

Most of Edwinton’s financing was provided by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).

“Battling chronic conditions without housing makes it difficult to stabilize, leaving people trapped in a spiral that is nearly impossible to escape,” said NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr. “When a community comes together to address the needs of its most vulnerable citizens, we all win.”

The state agency awarded $813,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project providing it with $7.2 million in equity. NDHFA also provided $1,026,147 from the National Housing Trust Fund, $460,000 from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and $500,000 from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund.

The City of Bismarck, in agreement with Burleigh County and the Bismarck Public School District, approved a 20-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes for the property valued at more than $2 million. North Dakota Department of Commerce committed $730,000 through NSP for land acquisition, $362,500 of which will go toward the land lease. Through Bank of North Dakota, the Federal Home Loan Bank awarded $750,000 from the Affordable Housing Program. The Otto Bremer Trust provided $62,000 to cover pre-development costs. Construction financing was provided by Gate City Bank. The total cost of development was $10.3 million.

Located at 1121 S 11th Street, Edwinton is a four-story building with a controlled entrance and 24/7 front desk staffing. On the first floor, offices, meeting rooms and an exam room allows for services to be provided at the site. A community room, TV room and computer room for tenant use is located on the same level. The upper floors are made up of 40 one-bedroom/bath apartments with full kitchens. Eight of the units are fully accessible for persons with a physical disability.

The gross rent of the apartments is $729 with a $40 utility allowance making tenant rent $689 per month. Burleigh County Housing Authority project-based Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure the affordability of the units for the property’s extremely low-income tenants. With the vouchers, the tenants will pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards rent.

BCHA began moving tenants into the property earlier this month. The housing authority is anticipating that Edwinton will be fully occupied by the end of the year. Because most of the tenants are expected to arrive with minimal personal items, the housing authority is trying to outfit the apartments with the necessities needed for daily living through an Amazon wish list. Dinnerware, towels, bedding and small appliances are still needed.

“The community has been very responsive,” said Barden. “We appreciate the assistance in helping to furnishing the units equitability.”

Housing Authority Hosting Demo Day; Making Way for New Senior Apartments

WEST FARGO, ND – The Housing Authority of Cass County (HACC) is hosting a “Demo Day” on Nov. 26, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.

Sixty public housing units that have provided thousands of income-qualified individuals and families with a home will be demolished to make way for a new affordable senior housing complex. The 1960s era units that will be demolished are located on the 800 block of West Sheyenne Street in West Fargo, ND.

The new complex, Monterey and Brighton Place Apartments, will be a four-story apartment building with 85 generous one- and two-bedroom apartments for income-qualified residents age 62 and older. Property amenities will include heated tuck under garages, community rooms, wellness and exercise rooms, a theater room, and outdoor green space and lighted walking paths.

“There is a large demand for affordable senior housing in our region, and Monterey and Brighton Place is a huge step forward in addressing that need,” says HACC Executive Director Blake Strehlow. “This project will allow Housing Authority of Cass County to serve an additional 25 families, and do so in a modern, energy-efficient building.”

Funding for the new housing comes from several government resources including the federal HOME, Community Development Block Grant and Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs. To ensure the affordability of the new housing, rental assistance will be provided through Project Based Vouchers under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 program.

“Demo Day” honored guests will include Senator John Hoeven, West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis, HUD Regional Administrator Evelyn Lim, and North Dakota Housing Finance Agency Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr.

HACC will open a waiting list for Monterey and Brighton Place in spring 2020. Interested parties should watch for advertising in the Forum, West Fargo Pioneer and other area media outlets. Information can also be obtained by contacting HACC at (701) 282-3443 or info@casscountyhousing.org.

Affordable, Senior-Friendly Apartments Open Downtown

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Harper Heights Ribbon Cutting

WEST FARGO, ND – Southhill Properties LLC, is celebrating the completion of Harper Heights on Wednesday, Nov. 13, from 10 a.m. to Noon. The affordable, senior-friendly property is in downtown West Fargo, an area targeted by the community for redevelopment. The Open House will include a ribbon cutting followed by a short program and tours of the property.

 

“Affordable housing for seniors with limited incomes is a welcome resource,” said West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis. “Having housing options for all ages and income levels contributes to the health and vibrancy of our community.”

Located at 121 1st Ave West, the four-story building was constructed on an infill lot that once served as an RV park. The property now offers rental housing to income-qualified households age 55 and older.

“I would like to thank the City of West Fargo and North Dakota Housing Finance Agency for their support,” said James Twomey of Southhill, the property owner and developer. “The assistance provided helps us to ensure Harper Heights’ affordability.”

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) allocated $425,100 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, providing more than $4 million in project equity. The City of West Fargo authorized a Payment in Lieu of Tax valued at $543,075. Additional project financing was provided by Alerus Financial, Bank of North Dakota and the Fargo-Moorhead Growth Initiative Fund. The total cost of developing Harper Heights was $5.5 million.

“North Dakota’s aging population is one of the most housing insecure and cost-burdened sectors,” said NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr. “By directing NDHFA’s development resources to support the construction of affordable senior housing, we help individuals and families of limited means live safely and comfortably.”

The apartments at Harper Heights rent for $420 to $855 per month, depending on household income and size. Six of the apartments are fully accessibility, reserved for individuals with disabilities who will receive services through CHI Friendship, Fargo Cass Public Health and Cass County Social Services.

Harper Heights amenities include heated indoor parking on the ground floor, secured entrances, an elevator, a community room with a kitchen, a fitness room and a media room. The downtown location offers easy access to public transit, retail and services.

Individuals who would like to learn more about the apartments should contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 551-3107. Information is also available online at http://www.metroplains.com.

The Edge Offers Affordable Downtown Housing for Families

(From L to R): ND House Rep. Austen Schauer, Commissioner Lise Kruse (representing Gov. Doug Burgum), Alaura Williams (representing Sen. John Hoeven), Reid Kemp (representing Sen. Kevin Cramer), Erin Anderson (Commonwealth Development Corp.) and Mayor Tim Mahoney (City of Fargo).

FARGO, ND – The Commonwealth Companies will mark the completion of The Edge Artist Flats, commonly known as “The Edge,” an apartment complex that offers a new affordable housing option in downtown Fargo, at 11:00 a.m. on October 10, 2019. The grand opening includes a short program followed by a ribbon cutting and tours of the property.

“Commonwealth works closely with community leaders and state government agencies to deliver housing that exceeds expectation, adding value to a community and enhancing the lives of the residents served,” said Erin Anderson, a regional vice president of development for the company.

While you don’t have to be an artist to live at The Edge, the name refers to the property’s theme and design element, the tenants will be offered a creative outlet with plans by the developer to use the community room for art classes for children and adults alike. The property’s common areas serve as gallery space, and there is an art workspace that also functions as a multi-purpose room.

The Edge offers a new affordable housing option in downtown Fargo.

The property was developed with support from North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The state agency awarded $740,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project that were syndicated by Redstone Equity Partners providing $6.55 million in equity. NDHFA also provided $1,369,263 through the National Housing Trust Fund.

“We know that communities thrive when the workforce can afford to live and raise their families close to good-paying jobs,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA’s interim executive director. “That’s why it is important to recognize and celebrate developments like The Edge that provide desirable and obtainable homes.”

The project received strong support from the City of Fargo as well. Community leaders, who have expressed increasing concerns about the affordability of downtown housing, approved the rezoning of the land on which The Edge is located and provided a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) valued at $742,689. The Fargo Moorhead Economic Development provided the required local match, $225,000, for an interest-rate buydown through Bank of North Dakota’s FlexPACE program, valued at $531,070.

The Edge’s permanent financing was provided by Security First Bank of North Dakota. The total cost of developing the 42-unit complex was $8.9 million.

The apartments rent for $456 to $975, depending on household income and size. Nine units are set aside for special needs households, two for disabled individuals and seven for households who have experienced housing instability. The latter will rent at the rate the tenants are able to pay and these tenants will be offered services focused on helping them attain self-sufficiency.

Located at 1321 5th Ave. North, the property amenities include contemporary finishes, underground parking, the community room and multi-purpose room, a fitness room, an elevator, on-site management office and a playground. The apartments have central heat and air, dishwashers, and in-unit washer and dryers. The property’s downtown location offers easy access to entertainment, shopping and restaurants.

Individuals who would like to learn more about the apartments should contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 551-3107. Information is also available online at www.metroplains.com.