From the Director, February 2017

JoleneKlineWeb

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

Thank you to everyone who was able to make it to the Statewide Housing Conference earlier this month! It was an informational and inspiring event, and I hope the attendees walked away with at least one more tool to do their jobs or live their lives to the greatest extent. I enjoyed getting to visit with many of you and that’s really my favorite part of the conference every year. I learn from each of you and truly value your friendship and partnership.

If you weren’t able to attend, I want to invite you to consider it again next year and help us to make the conference a valuable experience for everyone. We are always looking for input on what sessions and speakers would be of interest to you or any other feedback that would make the conference better. It is your conference and we truly want to know your opinion.

We are now at half-time of the legislative session and are gearing up for quick action on housing issues. Our agency’s budget bill, as approved by the Senate, also includes reauthorization of the Housing Incentive Fund with $5 million in tax credits to capitalize it, as well as the creation of a new homeownership loan fund for essential service workers. There is $500,000 in tax credit authority to capitalize that fund. The hearing for that bill is scheduled for first thing after the cross-over break – 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 1.

This legislative session has been chalk full of tough decisions for lawmakers. With reduced revenues, they haven’t had the luxury to fund everything they want. We feel extremely fortunate that the Senate saw the value of these housing programs, but we still have another half to go and I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch.

We will continue to monitor and provide the background information legislators need to make the best decisions on housing issues. If you want to follow the legislative process, you can do that by visiting the Legislative Assembly website.

Again, thank you to those who attended the conference and congratulations to our Champions of Affordable Housing! I look forward to seeing you all again next year…if not much sooner.

 

FirstHome Lender Training Coming in April

North Dakolendertraininglinkimageta Housing Finance Agency will host FirstHome™ lender training in Bismarck and Fargo in April.

“The training includes an introduction to our homeownership programs – FirstHome, HomeAccess and North Dakota Roots, a review of the different loan types, borrower and property eligibility discussion, and how to lock a loan,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

New and pending participating lender staff, and current participating lender staff who are interested in a refresher course are all welcome to attend.

The trainings will be held on April 5 at the Comfort Inn, 1030 E Interstate Ave, Bismarck; and April 12 at the Expressway Suites, 4303 17th Ave S, Fargo. Both training sessions will begin at 9:00 a.m. CDT and should be completed no later than 1:00 p.m. There are no registration fees, however pre-registration is required.

Discounted sleeping rooms are available at the Comfort Inn, (701) 223-1911; or Expressway Inn, (701) 239-4303, by asking for the “ND Housing” block. Rate is $80.90 for a single or $100 for a double.

If you have questions about the training, contact Dave Flohr at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov. 

Affordable Housing Development Assistance Available

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is currently accepting applications for affordable housing development assistance through the state’s Housing Incentive Fund. Approximately $1.2 million is available.

HIF Invest in Your Community“Priority will be given to projects currently under construction, that have a spring construction start date, or that are fully operational,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

HIF supports the development of multifamily housing for essential service workers and low- and moderate-income households. To be considered eligible for the assistance available in the current funding round, applicants must demonstrate the ability to fully expend the awarded funds by June 30, 2017.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. (CST) on March 31.

More information is available online or by contacting NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

 

Champions of Affordable Housing Honored

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency honored several of its partners as Champions of Affordable Housing during its Statewide Housing Conference in February.

“The Champion awards recognize and celebrate the work of individuals, non-profit organizations, public agencies, and private sector businesses that make exceptional affordable housing contributions in North Dakota,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

Mortgage loan officers, financial institutions and real estate agents promote NDHFA’s homeownership programs to first-time buyers, households that previously owned a home and needed assistance buying again, and special needs households including single parents, veterans, and households with disabled or elderly family members in the home. Awards are presented to these partners based on the volume of loans produced and participation in locally sponsored affordable housing activities.

Travis Lang of Cornerstone Bank in Bismarck, ND, was the greatest individual producer of NDHFA’s affordable home loans in 2016. He originated 56 mortgages, providing more than $11 million in financing.

Also recognized was Debby Wisdom of Dakota Community Bank & Trust in Mandan, ND. Wisdom originated 46 loans in 2016 valued at more than $8 million. Over the past five years, Wisdom has produced more than 200 loans for the agency valued at over $33 million.

NDHFA also recognized three financial institutions as Champions of Affordable Housing – The Union Bank, Town and Country Credit Union, and Gate City Bank. These awardees were selected based on market penetration and loan production, special programs used, their portfolio performance and loan quality.  Together, they originated 240 loans on the agency’s behalf equaling more than $38 million.

Kirstin Wilhelm of Keller Williams Roers Realty in Bismarck, ND, was recognized for introducing 15 of her clients to NDHFA’s homeownership programs, securing more than $3 million in financing. Kyle Reedstrom of Hatch Realty in Fargo, ND, was honored for helping 17 of his clients obtain $2.9 million in financing.

The Property Management award recognizes either an individual property manager or a property management company that oversees affordable rental housing administered by NDHFA. MetroPlains Management, LLC of Fargo, ND, received the award for the outstanding work it does managing the more than 50 NDHFA properties in its rental portfolio.

Housing Production award entries are judged on the degree of response to a housing need, use of innovative and successful financing techniques, effectiveness of partnerships with other housing organizations or programs, and the measurable benefits to underserved people. Cook’s Court LLLP Senior Living of Minot, ND, received the award.

Through partnerships Beyond Shelter, Inc., a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, forged with the City of Minot, State of North Dakota, Minot Housing Authority and Wells Fargo, Cook’s Court Apartments was successfully developed on an in-fill lot in southeast Minot. The property provides affordable rental housing for 40 low-income households age 55 and older.

NDHFA began recognizing its housing partners with Champion of Affordable Housing Awards in 1995. For more information on the awards or the agency’s program, contact NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or www.ndhfa.org.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

Affordable Housing Conference Focus on Resiliency

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency invites affordable housing professionals and community leaders to “Revive, Restore and Reconnect” at the Statewide Housing Conference on Feb. 7-8, 2017, at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, ND.

“With the economic, political and demographic changes afoot, the next year will be interesting for affordable housing,” said Jolene KStatewide Housing Conferenceline, NDHFA executive director. “More than ever, it’s important to come together to discuss how we will handle our housing challenges and learn about the resources available to address our local housing needs.”

The conference will feature nationally recognized speakers including Eileen McDargh, a resiliency expert who believes that turbulent times demand professional and personal responses that transcend our regular work and life patterns, and Dr. Roger Tutterow, an economist who will share his thoughts on the effects of the downturn in oil prices on regional labor and housing markets. Attendees will also hear from Dr. Nancy Hodur, author of a recently released Statewide Housing Needs Assessment.

Conference breakout sessions include an introduction to the National Housing Market Index, a presentation on the impact of student loan debt on homeownership and a mortgage lending roundtable, customer service for property managers, situational awareness, and housing discrimination hot topics, and where to start when considering a property redevelopment, an introduction to the Rental Assistance Demonstration program and understanding permanent supportive housing.

Preceding the event is a Community Land Trust workshop on Feb. 6. CLTs are viewed as an innovative way to address the rising costs of housing, limited land, and the growing number of abandoned or substandard buildings in communities affecting the overall quality of housing stock.

The ND Real Estate Commission and Board of Social Work Examiners have both approved the conference for continuing education. No credit is available for the CLT workshop.

Register for the full conference at www.ndhfa.org by Jan. 27 for $160. One-day only registration is $85. There is no charge for the CLT Workshop, however pre-registration is required. For questions, contact NDHFA at hfainfo@nd.gov or (800) 292-8621.

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.

Federal Funding Awarded to Grand Forks Homes, Inc. for Housing Project 2017

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has awarded Grand Forks Homes, Inc. $776,667 in credit authority and an additional $772,514 from the Housing Trust Fund for the development of LaGrave on First. The 42-unit, 4-story housing complex will be located at 500 1st Avenue South in downtown, Grand Forks with estimated development costs of $8.5 million.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is the most important resource for creating affordable housing in the United States today. Created by the Tax Reform Act of 1986, the LIHTC program gives State and local LIHTC-allocating agencies the equivalent of nearly $8 billion in annual budget authority to issue tax credits for the acquisition, rehabilitation, or new construction of rental housing targeted to lower-income households.

The Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing Federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of decent, safe, and sanitary affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households, including homeless families. The HTF was established under Title I of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, Section 1131. HTF funds may be used for the production or preservation of affordable housing through the acquisition, new construction, reconstruction, and/or rehabilitation of non-luxury housing with suitable amenities.

Grand Forks Homes, Inc. will be the owner of LaGrave on First, with Grand Forks Housing Authority and Beyond Shelter, Inc. working together as co-developers of the new building. The housing project will serve individuals experiencing chronic homelessness by providing one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment units and support services on-site. LaGrave on First will utilize evidence-based practices such as Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing to support a better quality of life for residents in their new home. Units will be made affordable by project-basing Grand Forks Housing Authority vouchers and services will be provided by Valley Community Health Center, Northeast Human Service Center, and other area agencies. Construction is expected to begin early next summer with doors open in the summer of 2018.

Grand Forks Homes, Inc. is a North Dakota 501c3 non-profit corporation formed in 1971 for the purpose of developing and owning affordable housing for low and moderate-income families. Grand Forks Housing Authority serves as the primary provider of affordable housing in Grand Forks County, North Dakota, providing a home for nearly 2,000 families each night through its 1,265 Housing Choice Vouchers and 798 affordable apartment units. Established in 1967, Grand Forks Housing Authority provides affordable housing and programming to encourage self-sufficiency for tenants. Beyond Shelter, Inc. is a Fargo, ND based non-profit developer of affordable housing that has worked in and around the area since 1999 with experience in new construction, acquisition/rehabilitation, and assembling multi-layered financing packages.

A self-supporting state agency, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing across North Dakota. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Jack Dalrymple as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the agency.

Developer Receives Needed Housing Funds for Renovation of Former Mandan School

 

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Mandan’s former junior high

Mandan’s former junior high school property is going to have a new life with a planned $8.3 million in investment to provide 39 units of affordable housing. The Commonwealth Companies of Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin, plans to move forward with the project thanks in part to funding announced this week by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).

New Tricks for Old Bricks

“We are thrilled to be a part of this project and grateful to the community and NDHFA for the support,” says Erin Anderson, Commonwealth Companies vice president of development in the midwest region. “We believe affordable housing communities open a door to opportunity for families and individuals, and this project will provide an opportunity to revitalize the neighborhood around the former junior high as well. We are looking forward to working with MetroPlains Management who has provided outstanding affordable housing property management in other properties in Mandan.”

Commonwealth will now be executing an agreement to purchase the property from Mother Teresa Outreach, an affiliate of Spirit of Life Catholic Church, Mandan. The development company plans to begin building renovations in March 2017 and looks to have the project completed and occupied by January 2018.

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Preliminary site plans

The project will consist of eight three-bedroom units, 28 two-bedroom units, and three one-bedroom units. Of these, six units will be designated as permanent supportive housing for individuals and families that have experienced homelessness.

Building and site plans include a wellness center, chapel, community rooms and outdoor playground with improved landscaping and green space. The amenities are for use by families living in the building. The newer gymnasium will be demolished to allow for more off-street parking and green space. Support services will be provided by Mother Teresa Outreach.

Federal Funding Gets Project Over Hump

The NDHFA administers the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs in North Dakota. Commonwealth was awarded $698,822 in credit authority through the LIHTC program and $1,021,024 through the HTF for the adaptive reuse of the former school into La Sagrada Familia Apartments.

Under the LIHTC program, property owners receive the federal tax credits for 10 years. The federal tax credits are sold to investors to generate equity for affordable housing projects. Projects supported by the program must be affordable for households at or below 60 percent of area median income for at least 15 years.

The purpose of the HTF is to increase and preserve the supply of rental housing for extremely low income households, those earning less than 30 percent of the area median income. Financial awards are structured as forgivable zero-interest loans with a minimum term of 30 years. Twelve of the units in the project fall under this category including the six permanent supportive housing units mentioned earlier.

Local Support Also Needed

To be considered for federal funds, projects needed evidence of local support equal to at least 1 percent of project costs. The Mandan City Commission in September approved a loan of $83,186 toward the project. This serves as a partial community match toward an interest buy-down program available through the Bank of North Dakota. CommunityWorks North Dakota is providing the remainder of the local match, $89,904, also in the form of a loan.

The Mandan City Commission additionally approved payments in lieu of taxes for the project to help it cash flow. The developer will pay local taxing entities a fixed $20,000 annually for the first five years following renovation with a 3 percent escalator in years six through 15. The property currently generates about $3,000 in property taxes.

When voting to approve the assistance, Mayor Tim Helbling cited the need to address the blighted property and “make the neighborhood whole again.”

Property History

Located at 406 4th Avenue NW, the adjoined buildings served throughout their lifetime in various combinations as a senior high, elementary and junior high. Most recently, from September 2008 through December 2009, the newest portion provided educational space for sixth graders as the Great Plains Academy. Mandan Public School District sold the property in August 2012 to GPA, LLC, led by Yegen Development, Grand Forks. Yegen attempted a redevelopment project, but later deemed the project infeasible and donated the property to the Spirit of Life Catholic Church.

The original building was constructed in 1917 with sections added in 1924, 1954, 1966, 1977 and 1990. It is mostly two stories, three stories in one section, and approximately 110,000 square feet. It occupies an entire city block, sitting on approximately 2.07 acres of land. The property is surrounded by single-family homes, both owner- and renter-occupied.