GRAND FORKS, ND – Grand Forks Homes Inc. broke ground today on LaGrave on First, a project that will provide affordable housing and supportive services for individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness in the community.
“To end homelessness, the first step is to provide permanent housing,” said Terry Hanson, Grand Forks Housing Authority executive director. LaGrave will employ an approach called ‘Housing First’ that prioritizes the provision of housing, then provides services for residents to address their individual issues.
The project has strong support from the City of Grand Forks, which first identified the community’s need for Permanent Supportive Housing in its 2008 plan to end long-term homelessness. The city donated the land on which LaGrave will be built, and committed $335,000 in HOME program funds to the development.
LaGrave also has the backing of North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The state agency provided most of the $8.7 million project’s financing by allocating federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that brought almost $7 million in equity to the project. NDHFA also awarded $772,514 to LaGrave from the National Housing Trust Fund.
“Our mission is to ensure that all North Dakotans have safe and affordable housing,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. Kline also serves as the chair of the state’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.
Beyond Shelter Inc., a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, is the housing authority’s development partner in the project. “We are pleased to be able to work with the Grand Forks Housing Authority, offering our expertise to address this housing shortfall in the Grand Forks community,” said BSI CEO Dan Madler. LaGrave is BSI’s sixth PSH project.
Additional financial assistance is provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, $500,000 from its Affordable Housing Program; a $150,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust; and the Turtle Mountain Housing Authority contributed $10,000 in exchange for a preference for its tribal members for five of the housing units.
The four-story building will be constructed in downtown Grand Forks on a site that was a city skate park adjacent to the police department. It will have 42 one-bedroom/one-bath apartments with services provided on-site and 24/7 staffing. Nine of the units will be fully accessible. GFHA will manage the property.