The time we are in right now requires difficult decisions and I don’t envy our legislators one bit on the work they had to accomplish over the past four months.
The Legislative Session is over and now we will continue our work to help all North Dakotans have an affordable place to call home. While we had a few issues pop up, this was a relatively quiet session for NDHFA.
We are a special fund agency that doesn’t affect the state’s general fund, but we too were asked to help find efficiencies. We trimmed our budget where we could, but also faced the prospect of not having the flexibility needed to respond to the homeownership needs of the state when two of our staff positions were cut. Thanks to the work of our advocates and legislative champions, those positions were restored and we feel confident that, as our mortgage portfolio grows, we will be able to provide the superior customer service our partners and homeowners expect.
With the Housing Incentive Fund, we have both good news and bad news. The good news is that the expiration date of the program was removed so now we don’t have to come back for reauthorization every legislative session. Also the projects that still are under development won’t lose their funds if they can’t draw them by the end of the biennium.
Unfortunately though, the Legislature didn’t have the funds available to supply anything new for HIF. I know this comes as a disappointment because of the affordable housing challenges our communities continue to face, but we can be heartened that HIF is still in our tool box and we certainly hope that it can be used again in the future to help our communities grow and prosper.
I want to express my deep appreciation to all of our partners who helped talk about NDHFA and the work we do during the Legislative Session. I know there were many who called or wrote their local legislators and several of the industry organizations were diligent in reaching out on our behalf. I hope that illustrates that we aren’t creating top-down government, but instead NDHFA is a partner to our communities big and small across North Dakota.