Author Archives: NDHFA

About NDHFA

A self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans, NDHFA offers affordable home financing to low- to moderate-income families, ensures the continued availability of suitable rental housing for households of modest means, and focuses on providing for the housing needs of our state's growing communities.

Managing LIHTC Compliance Training Registration Open

BISMARCK, ND – Registration is now open for Managing Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Compliance, an in-depth training geared specifically to tenant file compliance.

Hosted by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and lead by Spectrum Enterprises, the training will be held on Oct. 25, 2017, at the Ramkota Hotel, 800 S 3rd Street in Bismarck, ND.
Spectrum’s Jennifer Borland described the one-day training, “We will discuss income and asset definitions, verification requirements, calculations for income and assets, preparing for a compliance review, tenant fraud, student status, etc.”

All registrants will receive a course manual. Attendees that complete the training will be awarded six continuing education hours good toward any nationally recognized LIHTC designation (C3P, HCCP, COS, etc.). No exam or certification will be offered in conjunction with the training.

“In addition to the federal program requirements, the course will be customized to highlight NDHFA’s policies and procedures,” said Jennifer Henderson, the agency’s planning and housing development division director.

Pre-registration is required. The training fee on or before October 11, 2017, is $150. After the 11th, the fee is $175. Registration will close on Oct. 15. Additional information is available online or by contacting NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Co-director of investor consulting services, education and training development, Borland is responsible for developing Spectrum’s training services. She has a background in conventional and affordable housing property management, and first served with the company as a senior compliance analyst, performing file pre-approvals and annual compliance reviews for management and investment clients, and as a compliance monitor for state monitoring contracts. Borland has spoken at seminars and conducted LIHTC compliance trainings nationwide. She is C12P, COS, STAR, and TaCCs certified.

Spectrum Enterprises, Inc. is a growing firm specializing in compliance oversight for the LIHTC program. With a national roster of clients includes state housing agencies, leading investors, syndicators, developers, asset management, and property management companies, Spectrum’s services include document analysis, tenant file reviews, application pre-approvals, site inspections and training.

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

From the Director, August 2017

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

So often in our work, we use the term “affordable housing” and equally as often, we get the question about what that means.

Affordability is traditionally defined as spending no more than 30 percent of your income on housing costs. It is enshrined in nearly all of the programs we deal with and it is the best objective measure that we have available to us. We have to set the standard somewhere and it is easier for policymakers and the public to understand the number of households who are challenged if we can talk about it in consistent terms like “affordable” or “cost burdened.”

In all reality, affordability is very subjective. Each individual, family or household has a unique set of circumstances, income and expenses. Household budget decisions are influenced by many factors and while we like to think of housing costs as first priority, sometimes they have pretty stiff competition. Spending 30 percent on housing costs may be affordable for one household but not another that may have higher child care or healthcare costs. Affordability changes as life goes on as well – what was out of reach at one point in your life may be much more easily attained later. Or, for example, seniors may be able to afford housing costs when they are working, but it is a harder pull when they are living on a fixed income.

What can be confusing in understanding “affordable housing” is that while affordability is achieved at a personal level in any kind of housing, we use the term to talk about publicly-funded projects and programs. We call them affordable housing developments or discuss the importance of affordable housing resources. While there are other terms that have been used to talk about these types of projects – low-income, subsidized, rent-restricted, income-restricted, etc. – I like to use “affordable housing” because it spells out more clearly what we are trying to achieve. The mission of NDHFA is to make housing affordable for all North Dakotans and affordability is the main goal behind all of our programs.

We aren’t in the business of just giving out free money; we expect that if a project is going to take public funds than the public needs to see a benefit for it for the duration that is set out from the beginning. That benefit is affordability. It is the driver behind program rules and regulations and why we continuously monitor compliance of housing projects. We have been charged to be stewards of a precious resource and, while we also strive to be flexible and understanding of changing market conditions, we have to uphold our obligations and expect our housing partners to as well.

It would be incredible if one day we could say everyone can afford their housing costs on their own, but I know there will always be individuals and families in need for a multitude of reasons that are as unique as each of us. NDHFA aims to do what it can and we appreciate your partnership in achieving “affordable housing.”

Unique Senior Apartments Open in Downtown Bismarck

BISMARCK, ND – MetroPlains LLC opened the doors to a unique senior apartment complex today. Located in downtown Bismarck, the four-story building offers very desirable amenities and it’s affordable.

LtGovernor
Lt. Governor Sanford (center) congratulates MetroPlains on the completion of 100 West Main.

100 West Main has a four-season porch, lounge, exercise room, community room, and on-site chapel. A community manager organizes activities and supportive services are offered that allow tenants to age in place. The apartments all have energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and some have balconettes. The building is within walking distance of churches and restaurants, retail, financial and medical services, and it offers easy access to public transportation.

“Walkable downtowns that offer a variety of retail, dining and entertainment options, as well as housing for all income levels, are an important element of the Main Street Initiative,” Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said at the celebratory event. “This property is a great example of public-private partnership creating diverse housing opportunities that help contribute to a healthy, vibrant community.”

Sanford attended the event on behalf of the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.

“Affordable housing for seniors with limited incomes is a much-needed resource in Bismarck,” said NDHFA Executive Director Jolene Kline. “100 West Main will be a great addition to the city’s core.”

NDHFA allocated $600,000 from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund to the project and awarded $506,097 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The credits brought $5.11 million in equity to the project through the syndication by Wells Fargo Affordable Housing Community Development Corp. Wells Fargo also provided the project’s construction financing.

Additional development support was provided by the City of Bismarck, Bank of North Dakota, and the Lewis and Clark Development Group (formerly CommunityWorks North Dakota). Security First Bank provided the project’s pre-development and permanent financing.

“We are very appreciative of all of the support provided by our project partners,” said Rob McCready, MetroPlains Principal. The total cost of developing the property was $6.56 million.

“To have an opportunity to provide affordable housing for seniors in a location which contributes positively to the diversity and vitality of downtown Bismarck is extremely gratifying,” said Randy Schold, MetroPlains Principal.

Sign

More photographs of the property are available on our Facebook page.

All of the apartments at 100 West Main are reserved for income-qualified households age 55 and older. There are 18 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. Five units are fully accessible. Depending on household size and income, the units rent for $370 to $806 per month plus utilities. An individual earning $17,370 or less would qualify to rent a one-bedroom apartment for $370.

Individuals who would like to learn more about 100 West Main can contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 751-9951. Information is also available online at www.metroplains.com.

MetroPlains partners with individuals, organizations and local governments in order to provide exceptional developments which meet the diverse housing goals of communities. MetroPlains Management provides property management services to promote a superior experience for the residents.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans.

Affordable Multifamily Housing Development Assistance Available

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is currently accepting applications for approximately $3.75 million in development assistance through the Housing Incentive Fund, a state program that strengthens communities by providing rental housing for essential service workers and low- to moderate-income households

HIF Invest in Your Community“Priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate both the need for the affordable housing units and the support of the community in which the project is located,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

The HIF program support is available due to the cancellation of previous financial commitments.

NDHFA is currently accepting applications for two federal development programs as well – the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the National Housing Trust Fund. LIHTCs provide an incentive for the production or rehabilitation of low-income housing. The purpose of the HTF is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. (CDT) on Sept. 29, 2017. More information is available online or by contacting the agency’s planning and housing development division staff at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

NDHFA is a public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the agency.

Fugere Joins Housing Agency’s Homeownership Division

Amy Fugere

BISMARCK, ND – Amy Fugere of Bismarck, ND, was recently hired by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The state agency helps low- to moderate-income North Dakotans achieve homeownership by providing down payment and closing cost assistance, and affordable mortgage loans.

A homeownership specialist, Fugere will work primarily in mortgage acquisition, reviewing loan applications and communicating with participating lenders to ensure compliance with program standards. As needed, Fugere will assist with borrower services.

“Amy’s lending background makes her an excellent addition to both the homeownership origination and servicing teams,” said Jolene Kline, the agency’s executive director.

Prior to coming to work at NDHFA, Fugere worked at Capital Credit Union as an underwriter and at Gate City Bank as a loan officer.

The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA. For more information on the agency’s homeownership programs, contact NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Grant Allocation Benefits Housing Organizations Statewide

BISMARCK, N.D. – Housing organizations statewide will benefit from a grant allocation authorized today by the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC). North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) received permission to distribute $200,000 through its Helping Housing Across North Dakota (Helping HAND) program.

“In the history of the Helping HAND program, more than $5.7 million in grant funds have been put to work by local service providers to assist over 5,000 lower-income individuals and families across the state,” commission members said in a joint statement. The NDIC, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

The 2017 funds will be distributed as follows:

Southeast ND Community Action Agency, Fargo, $46,417

Community Action Program Region VII Inc., Bismarck, $33,841

Red River Valley Community Action, Grand Forks, $25,757

Community Action Partnership, Minot, $20,434

Community Action Partnership, Dickinson/Williston, $17,381

Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency, Devils Lake, $17,164

Community Action Region VI, Jamestown, $13,207

Trenton Indian Service Area, Trenton, $7,333

Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, $7,333

Spirit Lake Tribal Housing, Fort Totten, $7,333

Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, Fargo, $3,000

Rebuilding Together, Fargo/Moorhead, $800

The Helping HAND program is funded with agency earnings. A local match of 25 percent is required to access the grants. All of the program dollars must be used for North Dakota projects.

“Helping HAND grants typically support housing weatherization and rehabilitation projects,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “We encourage the grant recipients to use the funds to benefit the largest number of households possible.”

From the Director, June 2017

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

Summer is always a busy time of year in North Dakota and for the housing industry this year isn’t any different.

While new home construction remains well off the record pace we saw just a few years ago, we are seeing more activity under NDHFA’s homeownership programs. Year-to-date through May, our flagship FirstHome™ program is up by 55 loans over 2016. That may not sound like a lot, but it amounts to about $10.4 million more in loans that we’ve purchased this year than last. That signals to me that as price increases have moderated, more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to become homeowners.

This was part of the economic playbook all along. As supply and demand reached equilibrium, those who had been shut out would again be able to enter the market. For many, though, the down payment assistance offered through NDHFA makes all the difference. In 2016, more than 80 percent of the borrowers using our programs also utilized this important resource. I expect that we will continue to see that trend this year and into the future.

Our partners know better than anyone that the past decade has been chock full of ups and downs, challenges and opportunities. In the case of a lot of first-time homebuyers, for everything in their favor, it seemed like there was something against them – interest rates were low, but prices were higher; new construction meant there were more homes on the market, but the competition was fierce. While things may have slowed down from the white hot housing market a few years ago, the people NDHFA loans are targeted at have benefited. The more people we can get into reasonable and affordable homeownership, the better off and more sustainable our communities and state will be.

Our main goal at NDHFA is to provide access to housing resources for the people who need it most. We can’t do that without our private sector partners and I want to express my deepest appreciation to you for making June Homeownership Month – and every month – a great time to buy a home.