Category Archives: Partner

Opening Doors Monthly Check-In Protocol Updated

In response to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19), North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is recommending Opening Doors Program Care Coordinators follow their organization’s guidelines in regard to in-home visits until further notice.

“We expect that you will continue communicating with your clients and complete monthly reports,” said Planning and Housing Development Division Director Jennifer Henderson. “If your visit is via an alternative arrangement such as phone or teleconference, please note that on the report.”

The Opening Doors program provides households with a rental barrier access to housing. Participating Care Coordinators are required to check-in with the households supported by the program on a monthly basis.

Questions should be directed to the Planning and Housing Development Division at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Developers Urged to Mail or Upload HIF Applications

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is maintaining the March 31, 2020, application deadline established for the current funding round for the Housing Incentive Fund (HIF) program.

Because the office is currently closed to the public in response to the Coronavirus threat, the agency is asking developers to submit HIF applications electronically or by mail.

If you have questions or need assistance with the application process, contact the Planning and Housing Development Division at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Inspections Postponed; File Reviews and Reporting Continues

inspectionprotocol

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in North Dakota. In response to concerns related to the virus, the agency is implementing the following protocol for inspections and monitoring of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Trust Fund, Housing Incentive Fund, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, FDIC Affordable Housing Program, Rural Rehab Loan Program, Rural Housing Investment Incentive Pilot Program and Law Enforcement Pilot Program properties.

Affordability/Compliance Period Physical Inspections and File Monitoring

  • Physical inspections will be postponed until further notice.
  • Tenant file review will continue to be conducted electronically using secure upload options provided in review requests.

Annual Owner Certification/Annual Desk Review Requests

  • There will be no interruption in reviewing 2019 Annual Owner Certifications and Annual Rental Compliance Reporting.

NDHFA staff are accessible at this time. Email communication via our general account, hfainfo@nd.gov, or directly to staff is the most effective method to reach us with questions or concerns.

HUD has published a guide, https://www.hud.gov/coronavirus, for Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher Program and Native American Programs and the Office of Multifamily Housing. Even if your program is not specifically related to the programs listed, the general information is valuable to any affordable housing project.

We encourage you to work with your tenants to communicate processes of ensuring health and safety and any policies you are implementing during this time.

Multifamily Forum and UPCS Training Canceled

FacebookGraphicCANCELLEDNorth Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has cancelled the Uniform Physical Conditions Standards training and Multifamily Housing Forum scheduled for April 15-16, 2020 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, ND.

The events were cancelled in response to guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) stating that for the next eight weeks, large events including conferences should be canceled or postponed to lessen the spread of the disease.

Individuals who were registered for the events will receive a full refund of registration fees. Because of the number of refunds being processed by the registration service NDHFA contracts with for events, there may be some delays in processing.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact NDHFA’s communications staff at hfainfo@nd.gov.

For information on COVID-19 from the CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/

Additional information about the virus is available from the N.D. Dept. of Health, https://www.health.nd.gov/diseases-conditions/coronavirus.

Housing Authority Hosting Demo Day; Making Way for New Senior Apartments

WEST FARGO, ND – The Housing Authority of Cass County (HACC) is hosting a “Demo Day” on Nov. 26, 2019, at 1:30 p.m.

Sixty public housing units that have provided thousands of income-qualified individuals and families with a home will be demolished to make way for a new affordable senior housing complex. The 1960s era units that will be demolished are located on the 800 block of West Sheyenne Street in West Fargo, ND.

The new complex, Monterey and Brighton Place Apartments, will be a four-story apartment building with 85 generous one- and two-bedroom apartments for income-qualified residents age 62 and older. Property amenities will include heated tuck under garages, community rooms, wellness and exercise rooms, a theater room, and outdoor green space and lighted walking paths.

“There is a large demand for affordable senior housing in our region, and Monterey and Brighton Place is a huge step forward in addressing that need,” says HACC Executive Director Blake Strehlow. “This project will allow Housing Authority of Cass County to serve an additional 25 families, and do so in a modern, energy-efficient building.”

Funding for the new housing comes from several government resources including the federal HOME, Community Development Block Grant and Low Income Housing Tax Credit programs. To ensure the affordability of the new housing, rental assistance will be provided through Project Based Vouchers under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 program.

“Demo Day” honored guests will include Senator John Hoeven, West Fargo Mayor Bernie Dardis, HUD Regional Administrator Evelyn Lim, and North Dakota Housing Finance Agency Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr.

HACC will open a waiting list for Monterey and Brighton Place in spring 2020. Interested parties should watch for advertising in the Forum, West Fargo Pioneer and other area media outlets. Information can also be obtained by contacting HACC at (701) 282-3443 or info@casscountyhousing.org.

YWCA Hosts Grand Opening of Grace Garden

$7.1 million supportive residence readies for domestic violence survivors

WEST FARGO, ND – YWCA Cass Clay unveiled a new $7.1 million permanent supportive residence called Grace Garden today with the help of their collaborative partners, dignitaries and guests. The national CEO of YWCA USA travelled from Washington, DC for the event.

Grace Garden is located at 1480 E. 16th St. in West Fargo, ND. It has 30 apartments that will be fully furnished for the approximate 75 individuals and families who will move in by the year’s end. In addition to safe, secure housing, YWCA will offer case management and services at the site to support these individuals and families who’ve experienced violence and homelessness. Residents will have access to nursing care, an employment coach and other mentors to grow life skills. They’ll live close to schools, job opportunities and transportation routes. YWCA’s 29 years of experience in providing supportive housing has proven that these supports are key to success.

“The structure is complete. The rebuilding of lives begins. Here, individuals and their families will be empowered to reach a state of stability and live free of fear,” said Erin Prochnow, CEO, YWCA Cass Clay.

Grace Garden sits footsteps away from the office where a pastor’s servant heart set things in motion in 2016. Pastor Joel Baranko of Lutheran Church of the Cross approached Prochnow inquiring about unmet community needs and how the congregation could be helpful. She identified affordable housing as a crucial need and the conversation turned into action.

“I approached the conversation assuming more emergency shelter space would be the answer to how the YWCA might utilize additional property if made available. I quickly learned the value of permanent supportive housing. It was easy for the congregation to get behind the vision because of the YWCA’s history, leadership, and reputation for success in serving women and children,” said Pastor Baranko. “Together, we are changing people’s lives for the better not only today, but for generations to come.”

For many years, applications to YWCA Supportive Housing far outstripped the number of units available. Last year alone, 162 women and children applied for the program and only 22 were able to gain homes.

“In 2015, YWCA set an ambitious goal to double the number of homes through YWCA Housing within five years to address the lack of supportive housing,” said Prochnow, “With the addition of Grace Garden, we have exceeded our goal. Expanding to 70 supportive housing units is growth of about 270 percent in four years.”

The new housing is called “permanent” because it doesn’t impose a deadline for moving out. It allows residents time to gain stability only after resolving complete financial ruin by abusers or navigating single parenthood as the sole family income provider. For some, the timeline is lengthy and challenging, and having the permanent housing means vital stability so children can grow and learn in a safe and healthy environment while adults can pursue their life goals.

For the first time in the agency’s 113-year service to the region, its national association leader, Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of YWCA USA, was on hand to help celebrate the local organization’s milestone achievement.

“YWCA is one of the first and largest networks in the nation and world, serving more than

2 million women, girls and their families every year at over 200 local associations. As the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the country, we have a long history of providing services to survivors of violence from all walks of life.” said Castillo, “I am honored to be in North Dakota to celebrate our continued social impact and growth in our collective power with the dedication of Grace Garden.”

“Facilities like Grace Garden offer stability and safety, giving women facing poverty and homelessness an opportunity to build a secure future for themselves and their children,” said Senator John Hoeven. “Moreover, this residence, which provides access to both permanent housing and supportive services, is a testament to what can be accomplished when partnering federal and state agencies, and then leveraging that public investment to secure support from the private sector. We appreciate the hard work of the YWCA staff and everyone involved in making this project a reality, and we will continue working to advance similar efforts to help ensure access to affordable housing and a higher quality of life throughout our state.”

Multiple community partners joined in the planning, funding, and building of the residence. Gate City Bank pledged the largest single investment in YWCA Cass Clay history, $1.5 million to provide startup costs and the first 10 years of supportive staff services at Grace Garden.

“When we announced our commitment to the Grace Garden project in 2017, we were excited to build upon our long-standing partnership with the YWCA. Two years later, it’s humbling to see the project come to life. We are proud to see our gift provide the resources needed to help women and their children on their journey to a better life,” said Steve Swiontek, Executive Chair of Gate City Bank. “At Gate City Bank, we believe that it is our responsibility to make a difference in our community, For a Better Way of Life.® We accomplish this by investing in our customers, team members and communities. The Grace Garden Housing Project supports this mission through a proven program of education and employment coaching, health services and the support of YWCA advocates.”

Grace Garden was funded in a large part through programs administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The state agency awarded development assistance to the residence through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, $672,500 in credit authority that brought $6 million in equity to the project, National Housing Trust Fund, $325,549, and the state’s Housing Incentive Fund, $500,000.

“Addressing North Dakota’s need for community-based permanent supportive housing is a development priority for North Dakota Housing Finance Agency,” said Jennifer Henderson, NDHFA’s Planning and Housing Development Division Director. “Projects like Grace Garden provide the women who are working to rebuild their lives with a long-term home that is both safe and affordable.”

The North Dakota Department of Commerce is supporting the land acquisition for Grace Garden through the Governor’s Community Development Block Grant Funds.

“Commerce is proud to partner with the YWCA Cass Clay on this permanent supportive housing project, aiming to address long-term homelessness, coupled with supportive services and demonstrated local support. Projects like Grace Garden are vital to our community and the individuals and families to which they serve” said Shantel Dewald, Division of Community Services Program Manager, North Dakota Department of Commerce.

Thanks to the financial support the project received, YWCA did not need to conduct a capital campaign to build Grace Garden. YWCA fundraised and organized a “Plant a Seed” campaign for household goods from toasters to towels to start families toward healthy futures.

The residence will receive rental assistance from the Housing Authority of Cass County through a $2.2 million, 15-year contract that provides 30 Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure every apartment will be affordable to the families who will call them home. Individuals and families will be asked to pay up to 30 percent of their income towards rent.

Grace Garden’s residents will come primarily from the YWCA emergency shelter and other referring agencies in the community. There are already 23 applications in process.

Construction on the two-story building began last summer and was complete in August 2019. The property will include one-to-four-bedroom apartments, a fitness room, community spaces for classes and gatherings, and a playground. Main floor offices will be home base for YWCA advocates, nursing and other professional resources coming onsite.

“Grace Garden is symbolic of an innovative and progressive movement to address homelessness. It is an investment in our community that will keep domestic violence survivors from resorting to returning to their abusers and solving a multitude of other challenges that accrue during crisis,” said Prochnow.

Government and organizations like YWCA invest in rent subsidies and low-cost housing so people have a place to gain sure footing, rather than making it the reward at the end of a set of steps like finding a job and saving for a deposit. Having access to supportive housing means fewer acute resources and costly emergency services are needed.

About YWCA Cass Clay

YWCA emergency shelter is where victims of domestic violence come day and night, 365 days a year, to escape crisis lives and mend emotionally, physically and spiritually. They receive crucial basics like food and clothing, and resources for education and employment as they navigate toward independence. A caring YWCA team connects women and children to community resources that will further empower them. Besides operating the largest emergency shelter for women and children in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, YWCA Cass Clay operates safe and affordable, short- and long-term supportive housing for low-income women. YWCA offers a food pantry, racial justice advocacy, and a nationally accredited public childcare center, A Child’s World. For more information, visit www.ywcacassclay.org.

Mainstream Vouchers Available Through Housing Authorities

Five North Dakota housing authorities received HUD grants for Mainstream Vouchers. Mainstream Vouchers can only assist non-elderly persons with disabilities who are: transitioning out of institutional or other segregated setting; at serious risk of institutionalization; homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless. Human service agencies and other support services are encouraged to help households receiving mainstream vouchers live independently within the community.

Grand Forks Housing Authority, Fargo Housing Authority and Redevelopment, Minot Housing Authority, Great Plains Housing Authority (Stutsman), and Housing Authority of Williston received vouchers and funding to assist with these specific groups. Mainstream vouchers are housing choice vouchers and subject to all federal and administrative policies.

Applicants and agencies need to contact these housing authorities and apply using their respective application. When applying applicants should include a letter requesting a “Mainstream Voucher.” Current waiting list applicant can request their application be changed to a “Mainstream Voucher.” Applicants are subject to the housing authorities screening policies. Eligible clients can transfer mainstream vouchers to other communities. Applicants can apply immediately

For more information contact:
Fargo Housing Authority and Redevelopment at 701.269.6262;
Grand Forks Housing Authority at 701.746.2545;
Great Plains Housing Authority at 701.252.1098;
Housing Authority of Williston at 701.572.2006; or
Minot Housing Authority at 701.852.0485.