Category Archives: General Agency News

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 If you have questions or need additional information, please contact us at 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

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 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

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

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.

Lender Training Available This Fall

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will host lender training in Bismarck and Fargo this fall.

“The training includes an introduction to NDHFA’s 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.

The course is open to new and pending participating lender staff, and current participating lender staff who are interested in a refresher.

The trainings will be held on Oct. 4 at the Comfort Inn, 1030 E Interstate Ave, Bismarck; and Nov.1 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 $81.90 for a single or $100 for a double.

If you have questions about the training, contact Dave Flohr at (800) 292-8621 or

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.”