Category Archives: Uncategorized

From the Executive Director, May 2020

Dave Flohr, executive director

It is incredible how so much can change and remain the same, at the same time. In mid- March, NDHFA closed its doors to the public and sent 80 percent of our staff home to begin teleworking. Our IT and HR departments went into overdrive, ensuring staff had the equipment and remote access they needed. While our office and parking lot are desolate, and most businesses and interactions are now done over the phone and computer, I am proud to say that we have continued to provide excellent customer service. Less than 3 percent of our borrowers have called about forbearance protocols and fortunately, most were able to make their April mortgage payment. May and upcoming months may be harder, we don’t know yet, but the staff is up to date on federal regulations, moratoriums, and guidelines to provide accurate information to assist these individuals and families, so they understand all of their options. While processing loan applications is taking a bit longer due to extra verification measures, our reservation numbers are on par with last year and our balance sheet remains strong.

While compliance monitoring for multifamily housing units has been restricted to desk reviews, no on-site visits, and extensions were granted for some federal project financing to accommodate delayed construction, other federal and state programs continue to move forward because our housing partners and developers need continuity to continue to serve the state’s most vulnerable populations.

New to many of us is the amount of time we now spend in meetings to conduct normal business on top of state and federal meetings to comprehend the new guidelines, protocols and regulations. A few staff are assisting on multi-agency statewide taskforces to develop and organize resources for citizens that may be housing insecure in addition to responding to citizen and media inquiries. The pandemic has been a catalyst to eliminating silos in state government. It is all hands on deck, outside of the box thinking and leveraging of the skills and time capacity of everyone willing to take on the challenge.

As I stated previously, in some areas we haven’t missed a beat. The agency recommended and received approval to increase the FirstHome™ program cost limits to $294,600 for a single-family home and set the maximum income limits at $86,000 to $119,945. In 2019, the average FirstHome loan purchased by NDHFA was just over $168,000, and the average borrower’s household income was $60,600.

The allocation plans for the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the National Housing Trust Fund programs have been published. NDHFA reviews the plans annually to ensure they are addressing the state’s current housing needs. The next competitive application round will be in September 2020.

The agency’s Helping Housing Across North Dakota (HAND) program awarded $200,000 in grants to targeted community programs for the housing rehab needs of lower-income individuals and families. NDHFA has allocated over $6 million in earnings since the program began in 1993 to assist more than 7,500 households.

Finally, on May 1st, I began my first day as the newly appointed executive director of NDHFA by the North Dakota Industrial Commission. I have been with the agency for almost 40 years and it continues to be a blessing every day. Even though our office doors will remain closed to the public and no date has been set as to when we will open, I look forward to the changes and the challenges that are on the horizon within our industry and know that whether the staff is at the office or in their homes, we are always working to ensure that every North Dakotan has a safe place to call home. 

FirstHome Purchase Assistance Program Limits Increased

BISMARCK, ND – New eligibility limits for programs that assist North Dakota residents, typically first-time buyers, with a home purchase have been approved by the North Dakota Industrial Commission. Administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA), the programs provide low-cost financing, and down payment and closing cost assistance.

“North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has helped more than 46,000 households buy a home,” said members of the Commission in a joint statement. “The support provided by the agency not only makes homeownership possible for more individuals and families, it also benefits the communities in which these households established themselves.” The Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

Through NDHFA’s FirstHome™ program, low- to moderate-income buyers who have not owned a home over the last three years can receive the purchase assistance. The agency’s HomeAccess program provides single parents, veterans, and families with disabled or elderly households members who may have previously owned a home with the same assistance.

The Commission set the programs’ acquisition cost limits at $294,600 for a single-family home and set the maximum income limits at $86,900 to $119,945. The Commission approved higher acquisition cost limits for existing two- to four-unit properties. The income limits vary depending on household size and the county in which a financed home is purchased.

The Internal Revenue Service regulates the income and acquisition cost limits.

“Home buying activity across North Dakota has been strong during the first quarter of 2020 and continued record low interest rates are allowing more state residents to be able to purchase a home they can afford,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA interim executive director.

In 2019, the average FirstHome loan purchased by NDHFA was just over $168,000, and the average borrower’s household income was $60,600.

Private-sector lenders originate the loans on NDHFA’s behalf and sell them to the agency when they are closed. Parties interested in learning more about the agency’s programs will find information online at or by contacting a participating lender.

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

Single-Family Housing Rehab Program Grants Approved

BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission approved an allocation of almost $200,000 today through Helping Housing Across North Dakota (HAND). The program addresses the housing rehab needs of lower-income individuals and families by providing grants to targeted community programs. North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) administers the program.

“Helping HAND ensures North Dakotans of limited means continue to have a safe and affordable place to call home,” said Commission members in a joint statement. The Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

The 2020 grant distribution follows:

  • Community Action Partnership, Dickinson/Williston, $15,479.
  • Community Action Partnership, Minot, $20,489.
  • Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency, Devils Lake, $15,505.
  • Red River Valley Community Action, Grand Forks, $21,441.
  • Southeastern ND Community Action Agency, Fargo, $42,709.
  • Community Action Region VI, Jamestown, $11,697.
  • Community Action Program Region VII, Bismarck, $27,080.
  • Spirit Lake Tribal Housing, Fort Totten, $14,666.
  • Trenton Indian Service Area, Trenton, $14,666.
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, $14,666.
  • Rebuilding Together, Fargo, $800.
  • Rebuilding Together, Mandan, $800.

Helping HAND assistance is provided to households with incomes that do not exceed 80 percent of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s median for the county in which their home is located. Matching funds of at least 25 percent of the total project costs are required to access the grant dollars.

“Through Helping HAND, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has allocated over $6 million in agency earnings since the program began in 1993 to assist more than 7,500 lower-income individuals and families statewide,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA interim executive director.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. More information on the agency and the affordable housing programs it administers is available online at

2020 Rent and Income Limits

The 2020 Income and Rent Limitations have been released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and are effective as of April 1, 2020.

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) published the new limits for the following Planning and Housing Development Division programs: Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), Housing Incentive Fund, Law Enforcement Pilot Program, Neighborhood Stabilization Program, Rural Rehabilitation Loan Program, Rehab Accessibility Program, and the Helping HAND program.  The information is on the agency’s website,, on the applicable program pages.

LIHTC income limits must be implemented on the effective date or within 45 days from the publication date, whichever is later.  This means the 2020 limits must be implemented no later than May 16, 2020. 

For all other programs, implementation is effective immediately.

HUD has not updated the Housing Trust Fund rent and income limitations. NDHFA will publish the new limits when they are released.

If you have any questions regarding the new program limits, contact the Planning and Housing Development Division staff at  or (701) 328-8080.

Inspection and Monitoring Protocol Updates in Response to COVID-19

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is aware of and is monitoring the COVID-19 situation in North Dakota. In response to concerns related to the virus, the agency has implemented 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 (As of 3/18/2020)

  • 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 (As of 3/18/2020)

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

Resident Certifications (Updated 03/23/2020)

  • Utilizing tenant provided documents regarding income and assets is acceptable when a third party is not an option due to COVID-19 shutdowns. Tenants can provide documents electronically or via mail.
  • If a tenant provided document is not readily available, last recourse is utilizing self-certifications. This is not recommended for initial occupancy.
  • Utilize annual social security benefit award letters or “received” date stamps to prolong the life of verification; document the file accordingly and include COLA increase as necessary.
  • Allow scanned or photocopied documents to be submitted for verifications as a temporary bookmark in the file. When threat subsides, obtain original document.
  • Move-in certifications and annual recertifications may be completed electronically with the following requirements.
  • Content may be entered electronically by residents on certification forms.
  • Signatures by residents and management on certification forms, including the Tenant Income Certification (TIC), may be completed electronically as long as each signature is authenticated and date- and time-stamped by the software. A TIC that completes the authenticated date- and time-stamped requirement is available on our website under LIHTC Rental Compliance Forms
  • Typed and unauthenticated signatures are not permitted.
  • If tenants are unable to provide signatures in the authenticated date- and time-stamped software, notate the file appropriately as to why signatures are unavailable and obtain at soonest availability.
  • If available, you may want to consider using building drop boxes in the interim.

Evictions (3/23/2020)

  • While NDHFA has not received any guidance with regard to the moratorium on evictions, a reminder that evictions for other than good cause are prohibited. Follow the guidance and prohibitions of your local area.

Utility Allowances (03/23/2020)
Utility allowances are still required to be updated annually.

Income and Rent Limits (03/23/2020)
NDHFA is anticipating that U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will release new income limits on or around April 1, 2020. If there is a delay, NDHFA will publish the updated limits as soon as the information is released by HUD.

Other Federal Laws (03/23/2020) At this time, NDHFA is not aware of any waivers of the requirements of the Federal Fair Housing Act, the Violence Against Women Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act. Your property must continue to make reasonable accommodations and process transfer requests related to disabilities or VAWA protections.

Vacant Program Units (03/23/2020) Vacant program units must still be leased to qualified households. At this time, there is no relief to use program units for any other purpose, even if related to COVID-19.

Occupancy Standards (03/23/2020) We have received several inquiries on whether Management Companies of LIHTC properties can modify or relax their occupancy standards and policies on overnight guests so that tenants can better respond to their family needs related to stable temporary housing.

To the extent that the policies are addressed in your current Tenant Selection Plan, lease or house rules, NDHFA has no objection to the relaxing of this standard on a temporary basis (not to exceed 120 days), since these issues do not impact LIHTC eligibility. However, properties do need to be mindful of local ordinances, the requirements of their investors and other lenders, as well as guidance issued by the CDC related to the current crisis.

We recognize the challenge property owners and landlords find themselves in trying to balance tenant and applicant requests for flexibility while being mindful of protecting their residents and staff.

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

HUD has published a guide,, 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.

How To Make a Payment While NDHFA is Closed to Public

While North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) Bismarck office lobby is closed to the public, the agency is still accepting payments in our drop box located on the East side of our building. If you need a receipt, make a note on your payment and NDHFA will mail a receipt to your address on record.

You can also utilize our website,, to make payments electronically. If you do not have a web account, use the “Sign up now” link on our website to establish one.

You can continue to mail your payments to us via US Mail. If you are on automatic payments those payments will continue uninterrupted.

If you need assistance, contact NDHFA’s Servicing Department via phone, (800) 292-8621 or (701) 328-8080, or by e-mail,

Online/Phone Options for LIHTC and HTF Hearings

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will hold Public Hearings for the 2021 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program Qualified Allocation Plan and the 2020 National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Allocation Plan on March 26, 2020.

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 boardroom at NDHFA’s office, 2624 Vermont Ave., Bismarck, ND.

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) public gathering guidance issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we encourage attendees to join the meeting online from your personal computer, tablet or smartphone.

Online Access:

Dial-in Access: 1-877-568-4106, Access Code: 434-537-269 #

Persons who are unable to attend the hearings may still submit written comments to or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535, by 5:00 p.m. on March 25, 2020.

Persons needing accommodation or assistance to attend the hearing should contact NDHFA’s Planning and Housing Development division director at (800) 292-8621, (800) 366-6888 (TTY) or email

From the Interim Executive Director, December 2019

David Flohr, Interim Executive Director

Season’s Greetings!

The beginning of a new year and a new decade begins in precisely three weeks. In most respects, January 1st will be business as usual, just with a more significant calendar change. Yet new ventures are planned for 2020 that will broaden our spectrum of services.

NDHFA is in the process of taking on the administration of the North Dakota Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC). The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development program promotes a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness. Currently, the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People manages the CoC. There are critical elements that need to be addressed before NDHFA administers the program, but we have determined that the CoC fits within our mission and we are ready to take on this new responsibility.

Our annual conference will become smaller, targeted housing forums in 2020 with Homeownership scheduled in February and Multifamily in April. By hosting shorter, more narrowly focused events at times and in locations that are more convenient for our business partners, our goal is to create opportunities for more meaningful conversations while offering audience-specific education.

Registration is open for the first event, the Homeownership Forum, which will feature Ruth Dillingham, a residential real estate sales and mortgage lending expert, in two locations, Bismarck and Fargo. The multifamily event agenda will be released in January. If you are interested, we are still accepting sponsors and exhibitors for the forums.

As we look to the new year, we must celebrate the success of 2019. NDHFA’s homeownership numbers were strong this year thanks to our lender and real estate partners. Their support drives our ability to fulfill our mission to ensure that every North Dakotan has a place to call home.

The 2019 Legislative allocation of $7.5 million for the Housing Incentive Fund and our planning division’s leveraging of 4% bonds allowed NDHFA to fund twice as many multifamily housing projects, as usual, this fall. Urban and rural communities statewide will be constructing and rehabilitating affordable homes for working families and our aging population, persons with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness.

A final development that took me by surprise this year was the financial award NDHFA received through a multi-state action lawsuit regarding the manipulation of the LIBOR rate by some banks, to their benefit. LIBOR was used as the index to adjust rates on our bond issues. The tenacity of our staff proved fruitful and we plan to use the settlement funds to help the largest number of North Dakotans possible.

Every year seems to pass by more quickly than the one before, so all of us at NDHFA want to take a moment to let all of you know that we sincerely wish you many blessings this holiday season and hope for another wonderful year full of partnership and progress in 2020.

Opening Doors Provider Webinar

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) Opening Doors Landlord Risk Mitigation Fund provides households with a rental barrier with the opportunity to access housing, and encourages landlords to lease units to households that may not meet all their rental criteria by providing coverage if there is excessive damage or lost revenue. 


Agencies with a history of providing supportive services, coordination and/or case management services may apply to be an Opening Doors Participating Care Coordination Agency (PCCA), which allow them to refer clients into the program.

NDHFA is hosting a webinar for the agencies that are interested in becoming a PCCA. This webinar will provide an overview of the Opening Doors Program, review provider expectations, discuss the process to become an approved provider, and include a chance to ask questions.

A recording is available online.  You will be asked to register before viewing the webinar. Note there is about a five minute lag in the recording before the webinar begins. 

Resilient Homebuyer Program

Resilient Homebuyer ProgramMinot households whose homes were damaged by the 2011 Souris River Flood or whose homes are being bought out for flood protection may be eligible for a new homeownership incentive.

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has partnered with the City of Minot, through the National Disaster Resilience Program, to offer affordable home loans and up to $60,000 in purchase assistance to impacted households.

The Resilient Homebuyer Program can be used to buy either an existing home or a newly constructed home within city limits that is outside the 100-year floodplain and within a resilient neighborhood.

Mortgage loan applications are made through NDHFA participating lenders who have the ability to prequalify borrowers and estimate the maximum incentive amount available to a household. The buyers’ household income cannot exceed program limits, $44,050 to $83,050, and the purchase price of the home must be $253,809 or less to qualify. A real estate agent can be enlisted to find a program-eligible property.

To learn more or determine eligibility, buyers need to contact CDM Smith, manager of the City of Minot’s disaster recovery office, (701) 837-5813.

Lenders can find additional information about the program online in NDHFA’s Participating Lender Dashboard under Selling Guide and Loan Forms.

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.