Category Archives: General Agency News

From the Director, May 2018

The 2018 Statewide Housing Conference brought together more than 340 housing providers, lenders, real estate agents, tribal members, state and federal employees, and invested citizens of our state. Problem solving happens around a cup of coffee and in the hallways, and that was evident as individuals from numerous industries were able to share what they are experiencing from each corner of the state in relation to the current housing market.

Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford reiterated how critical housing is and how much it impacts the state’s economy—if people can’t afford to live in a community, business can’t find a reliable workforce. It was insightful to hear how Watford City rallied the public and private sector to find solutions to challenging issues and how our agency was able to bring to the table financing programs such as the Housing Incentive Fund, Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Law Enforcement Pilot Program.

We also learned that although North Dakota has an affordable housing shortage, so does every other state in the country. What makes us unique is that builders are building even if the homes are larger and at a higher price point. Our featured speaker, economist Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., stated that the United States economy is strong and will continue to be so for another 18 months. Even though time and stability are on our side, we have to be prepared to reinvent ourselves in the event of a recession.

This month, state agencies will meet with the Office of Management and Budget and Governor Burgum’s staff to discuss how we can reinvent the way we do business to be more efficient, enhance the customer experience and trim our budgets by at least 10 percent. The fluctuating state budget is already impacting agencies eight months prior to the 66th Legislative Session.

So how does NDHFA begin to reinvent itself while also looking at ways of doing more with less? We are having those conversations around the table over a cup of coffee and in the hallways, seeking everyone’s input because right now, no idea is a bad idea.

We remain committed to our homeownership programs. Homeownership provides stability and shelter, and to help more people achieve this milestone, our income and acquisition limits were just increased. The maximum income limits for NDHFA’s FirstHome™ and HomeAccess programs were set at $83,900 to $98,900, and North Dakota Roots was set at $117,460 to $138,460. The limits vary depending on household size and the county in which a financed home is located.

The FirstHome and HomeAccess acquisition cost limits were set at $271,164 to $303,882 for a new or existing single-family home. Higher limits were approved for existing two- to four-unit properties. These limits also vary based on the county in which a property is located. North Dakota Roots program users must comply with limits set by their loan insurer or guarantor.

Two of our most successful affordable multifamily housing development programs, Low Income Housing Tax Credit and National Housing Trust Fund, are currently open for applications for their 2019 and 2018 funding rounds, respectively. The assistance can be used to support the construction, preservation or rehabilitation of rental units for the most vulnerable members of our communities, ensuring these individuals and families have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home.

While the next few weeks will be spent analyzing budgets, staffing and programs, we will also be rolling out a new Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund. This fund is feasible through a partnership with NDHFA and the North Dakota Department of Human Services to mitigate the potential financial risk to landlords who rent to individuals with a criminal background, bad credit or previous eviction history. NDHFA will be implementing the fund in a manner similar to the program offered by the Fargo-Moorhead Homeless Coalition. Additional information will be provided soon.

The Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund was a goal outlined in North Dakota’s 10-Year Plan to End Long-Term Homelessness that was drafted by the ND Interagency Council on Homelessness in 2008. NDHFA is also working on drafting the final report and evaluating how the state has done overall to end long-term, chronic homelessness. This project involves many program managers in numerous state agencies in addition to the mayors of Bismarck, Fargo and Grand Forks. Social and housing issues are never resolved without collaboration and pooling of resources, and the future is faced with more obstacles due to the magnitude of the behavioral health epidemic and the upswing in Bakken oil production. We know that we did not reach our final goal from a decade ago, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t produced successes.

We have a lot of work to do, we always do. And, the staff at NDHFA are proud to work with all of you to make North Dakota a place that more than 700,000 individuals can call home.

Assistance Available for Affordable Housing Development

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is accepting applications for affordable multifamily housing development assistance through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs.

“The Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Housing Trust Fund programs support the development of housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities, ensuring these individuals and families have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. The agency administers the federal programs on the state’s behalf.

Developers awarded LIHTCs sell the credits to raise capital from investors, reducing the debt required to build, preserve or rehabilitate a property. The equity provided makes it possible to rent the housing units to households earning 60 percent or less than Area Median Income (AMI).

The intent of the HTF program is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households, those earning less than 30 percent of AMI, including homeless families. The assistance provided can be used for the production, preservation, rehabilitation and operation of a property. HTF financial awards are structured as forgivable zero-interest loans.

Eligible recipients of these development resources include units of local, state and tribal government; local and tribal housing authorities; community action agencies; regional planning councils; nonprofit organizations; and for-profit developers.

The LIHTC and HTF program plans and applications are available online at www.ndhfa.org or by contacting NDHFA at (800) 292-8621. The deadline for submission is Sept. 28, 2018.

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

From the Director, February 2018

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

Since the last annual Statewide Housing Conference, our staff has reflected on the value we provide to all of you during the time we have together. Through numerous conversations and feedback from attendees, we are shaking up the agenda and locations to create a format that is specific to your career training and professional development needs. We genuinely hope these changes will make your conference experience more rewarding and that your colleagues who may have not attended before will find a reason to this year.

The first day of the conference will focus on North Dakota’s housing market trends and strategies communities can leverage to address housing needs. Gov. Doug Burgum is the featured speaker and will outline housing’s role within the Main Street Initiative to influence quality of life when building stronger, reinvigorated communities. Following the governor is Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D. who knows how to liven up an economic discussion of industry trends pertaining to housing, employment, state, regional and global economics. The afternoon includes three more dynamic breakout sessions that will give housing industry professionals new tools to look at the crucial role housing plays in communities of all sizes. This will be followed by our ever-popular networking social.

Day two is designed for three customized training and professional development tracks for multifamily development, property management and homeownership professionals. Attendees will interact with industry experts providing relevant information. But don’t forget about the Champion Awards Presentation and luncheon! Awardees will be recognized for their outstanding contributions over the past year.

Real estate agents, appraisers and lenders who are unable to attend the Bismarck event will have a second chance to connect with our homeownership staff in Fargo. A seminar on day three offers a repeat of a breakout session on the continuing effects of federal legislation and regulations enacted over the last decade on the sale, appraisal and mortgaging of real property.

You can choose to attend one or both days in Bismarck or meet us in Fargo, but I encourage you to hurry to register because the early bird deadline is Friday, April 13, and after that date the prices will increase. Register online at www.ndhfa.org. If you have questions or need additional information, please contact us at hfainfo@nd.gov or call (800) 292-8621.

I also want to thank all of our sponsors, vendors, panelists and speakers for helping to make this another great conference. I am excited to see all of you and I sincerely hope you will be able to join us on April 25-26 in Bismarck or Fargo on April 27.

 

 

Hearings Scheduled for Multifamily Housing Development Programs

19LIHTCn18HTFhearingsBISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will hold Public Hearings for the 2019 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program Qualified Allocation Plan and the 2018 National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Allocation Plan on March 29, 2018.

The LIHTC hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and the HTF hearing at 11 a.m., both CT. The hearings will be held in the Board Room at NDHFA’s office, 2624 Vermont Ave., Bismarck, ND.

The LIHTC program provides incentives for the production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. The HTF program supports the development and preservation of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households, including homeless individuals and families. The proposed plans are available online at www.ndhfa.org.

The general public may submit either written or oral comments at the hearings. Persons who are unable to attend the hearings may submit written comments to hfainfo@nd.gov or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535, by 5:00 p.m. on March 28, 2018.

Persons needing accommodation or assistance to attend the hearing should call (800) 292-8621 or (800) 366-6888 (TTY), or email hfainfo@nd.gov.

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.

Housing Finance Agency Board Members Appointed

BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission made three new appointments to North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s citizen advisory board in December.

Kevin Hanson and Larry Nygard, both of Fargo, were appointed to three-year terms, and Joan Mainwaring of Williston was appointed to a two-year term. Hanson is the chief operating officer – director of lending at Gate City Bank, Nygard is vice president of the Roers Companies, and Joan Mainwaring is the residential real estate department manager at American State Bank and Trust Co.

“We are pleased to welcome Kevin, Larry and Joan to our board and look forward to receiving their input on affordable housing matters managed by the agency,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

The commission reappointed three of the boards’ existing members as well. Lisa Rotvold of Hillsboro to a two-year term, and Jim Farnsworth of Bismarck and Ninetta Wandler of Dickinson to one-year terms. Wandler is a real estate broker associate at Re/Max Integrity Realty and Rotvold is a developer with Beyond Shelter Inc.; they have served on the board since 2004. Farnsworth is the owner of Colonial Estates; he has served on the board since 2011.

The Commission also appointed Wandler as the board’s chairwoman and Rotvold was appointed as vice chairwoman. Both are one-year terms.

Made up of representatives of the mortgage lending, residential real estate, and mobile home and manufactured housing industries, along with homeowners and buyers representatives, the board advises the Industrial Commission on the state agency’s business activities.

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. More information about NDHFA and the programs it administers is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

From the Director, December 2017

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

As 2017 winds down and we look back at all that’s happened this year, I am more and more grateful to each of you for your continued partnership and support of North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and the housing industry in general.

In Washington, tax reform is still in ongoing negotiations and we don’t know for certain the total affect it will have on housing. One issue that is of grave concern to us is Private Activity Bonds, which the House eliminated but the Senate retained. We utilize the state’s Private Activity Bond authority to issue tax-exempt Mortgage Revenue Bonds to fund our homeownership programs. Without MRBs, we would not have the ability to offer competitive interest rates to first-time and other low-to-moderate income homebuyers.

Losing that program would be devastating for the people who need it most. This year, we have seen a continued upswing in homeownership activity. As more homes are on the market and the fevered competition that sprang from the oil boom of the past decade has cooled, first-time and lower-income homebuyers are better able to enter the market. We need to keep our main source of funding in place so that affordable homeownership will continue to be achievable.

Tax reform will also likely have a major impact on the multifamily development side as well. Lower corporate tax rates are expected to cause an approximately 10 to 15 percent drop in the value of Low Income Housing Tax Credits. That means that more credits will be needed per project to make them feasible and affordable. Receiving the small state minimum amount of tax credits, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is able to fund about four or five projects each year. The unintended consequence of the tax cuts being debated in Congress will be a reduction in affordable housing for low-income individuals and families.

During the legislative session at the beginning of 2017, the Housing Incentive Fund came out with both a win and a loss. The program was made a permanent part of Century Code so we will no longer need to go back to the legislature every two years for renewal. That was a big win, but the loss came from the fact that no additional funding was authorized for the program. Due to some turn backs of previous awards, NDHFA was able to reallocate those funds this fall, but going forward we will not see the activity under that program that we have since 2011 when it was first created.

In 2017, NDHFA rolled out a program to assist community land trusts in North Dakota to have the capacity to do their work. The pilot allows CLTs access to a line of credit for acquisition/rehab or new construction of homes in their program. The Grand Forks CLT was the first to put the funding to use.

NDHFA is working out the details with the City of Minot to assist flood buy-out homeowners and those affected by the 2011 flood in buying a new home there. We look forward to having the program up and running very soon.

While these are just a few of the myriad of things that happened in housing this year, I certainly want to express my deep gratitude to those we work with every day. It is that day-to-day work that makes a difference in lives of North Dakota families. It is that work that gives people a warm place to sleep at night and a dining room table to gather around with family and friends.

I wish you the brightest blessings this holiday season and hope for another wonderful year full of partnership and progress in 2018. Thank you and happy holidays!

 

Garvin Recognized With Rocky AHMA Award

Jolene Kline, Janet Garvin and Wayne Glaser of NDHFA.

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s Janet Garvin was honored with a Contract Administration Special Recognition Award by the Affordable Housing Management Association’s Rocky Mountain Region at its 35th Annual Conference.

Garvin’s reputation for being fair and listening to all aspects of a situation was cited in the award nomination. And that while Garvin is thorough in her processes, she takes the opportunity to educate and assist in a helpful way. Further, that Garvin uses the Management Occupancy Review as an opportunity for training rather than an audit.

The nominator describing Garvin’s handling of a recent situation involving an extremely ill tenant who was battling cancer and was unable to pay her rent due to overwhelming medical bills. Garvin met with the tenant and explained the hardship exemption and the process involved, and that she continued to reach out and follow-up to ensure that everything was taken care of.

As a contract administration specialist in NDHFA’s property management division, Garvin is charged with ensuring that Western North Dakota’s Section 8 properties with US Department of Housing and Urban Development rental assistance contracts provide safe, decent and affordable rental housing for their low-income, elderly or disabled tenants.

“The apartments overseen by our property management division are home to some of North Dakota’s lowest-income households,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “It is heartening to hear that the staff goes out of their way to ensure that the individuals and families who call these units home are treated with dignity and compassion. Congratulations, Janet, we are proud of you.”

AHMA is the leading voice for affordable housing management, advocating on behalf of multifamily property managers and owners whose mission is to provide quality affordable housing. The Rocky Mountain Region includes Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming.