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 hfainfo@nd.gov.

Construction Begins on Permanent Housing for Chronically Homeless Individuals

GRAND FORKS, ND – Grand Forks Homes Inc. broke ground today on LaGrave on First, a project that will provide affordable housing and supportive services for individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness in the community.


LaGrave on First development partners, Grand Forks Housing Authority and Beyond Shelter, Inc. More images from the event are posted on NDHFA’s Facebook page.

“To end homelessness, the first step is to provide permanent housing,” said Terry Hanson, Grand Forks Housing Authority executive director. LaGrave will employ an approach called ‘Housing First’ that prioritizes the provision of housing, then provides services for residents to address their individual issues.

The project has strong support from the City of Grand Forks, which first identified the community’s need for Permanent Supportive Housing in its 2008 plan to end long-term homelessness. The city donated the land on which LaGrave will be built, and committed $335,000 in HOME program funds to the development.

LaGrave also has the backing of North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The state agency provided most of the $8.7 million project’s financing by allocating federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that brought almost $7 million in equity to the project. NDHFA also awarded $772,514 to LaGrave from the National Housing Trust Fund.

GFHA received $7.7 million from NDHFA to support the development of LaGrave. NDHFA Executive Director Jolene Kline addresses the ground breaking attendees.

“Our mission is to ensure that all North Dakotans have safe and affordable housing,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. Kline also serves as the chair of the state’s Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Beyond Shelter Inc., a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, is the housing authority’s development partner in the project. “We are pleased to be able to work with the Grand Forks Housing Authority, offering our expertise to address this housing shortfall in the Grand Forks community,” said BSI CEO Dan Madler. LaGrave is BSI’s sixth PSH project.

Additional financial assistance is provided by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, $500,000 from its Affordable Housing Program; a $150,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Trust; and the Turtle Mountain Housing Authority contributed $10,000 in exchange for a preference for its tribal members for five of the housing units.

The four-story building will be constructed in downtown Grand Forks on a site that was a city skate park adjacent to the police department. It will have 42 one-bedroom/one-bath apartments with services provided on-site and 24/7 staffing. Nine of the units will be fully accessible. GFHA will manage the property.

NSP3 Program Expansion Proposed to Statewide

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is proposing to amend its Neighborhood Stabilization Program 3 abbreviated plan to extend eligible areas to statewide. The program supports the purchase of foreclosed, abandoned or vacant property for redevelopment into affordable housing.

A draft of the amended NSP3 plan is available online, www.ndhfa.org. Written comments can be submitted to Planning and Housing Development Division Director Jennifer Henderson at hfainfo@nd.gov or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND, 58502-1535. Comments must be received by the close of business on Sept. 21, 2017.

NSP is a federal program established by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Additional assistance was authorized under Section 1497 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 and is referred to as NSP3.

NDHFA is a self-supporting state agency that finances the creation and rehabilitation of affordable housing across North Dakota. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

Nonprofit Celebrates 1,000th Affordable Housing Unit

FARGO, ND – A grand opening at HomeField Apartments, a new senior complex in south Fargo, provided an opportunity on Tuesday to not only celebrate the successful completion of a project, it was also an opportunity to reflect on the accomplishments of Beyond Shelter Inc., a nonprofit developer that has taken on some of North Dakota’s greatest housing challenges.


FMWF Chamber congratulates Beyond Shelter on the successful completion of HomeField Apartments.

The Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority started BSI in 1999, providing it with a $5,000 operating loan and the support of its staff.  Since that time, BSI has grown into a fully independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a staff of eight. With the opening of HomeField Apartments and a ground breaking on the LaGrave on First project in Grand Forks in September, BSI will have surpassed a milestone 1,000 units of affordable housing developed.

While BSI strives to address the housing needs of all lower income individuals and families, the nonprofit has developed several noteworthy projects across the state. Included are six permanent supportive housing projects for those who have experienced long-term homelessness, and nine projects targeted to lower-wage workers and law enforcement personnel in energy-impacted communities during the height of the energy boom in Western North Dakota.

“Beyond Shelter Inc. was created to dig deeper and develop housing targeted to the lowest income households, the people whose needs are overlooked,” Bev Rohde, a former FHRA board member and a still-serving original BSI board member said of the nonprofit’s formation. “We are excited to celebrate this 1,000 plus unit milestone, but there is more work to do in Fargo and around the state as affordable housing continues to be out of reach for many individuals and families.”

In recent years, BSI has focused its attention on North Dakota’s fastest growing population, elderly households with limited resources. HomeField is the fourth senior project the organization has developed in Fargo in four years. The total cost of developing the 39-unit property was $6.87 million. If funding can be secured, two more buildings will be added at the site over the next two years.

“I am thankful every day that organizations like Beyond Shelter exist, ensuring the most vulnerable members of our communities have a safe place to call home,” said Jolene Kline, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency executive director. The state agency finances many of BSI’s North Dakota projects. It awarded $589,153 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to HomeField, which through syndication by Wells Fargo Affordable Housing CDC, brought $6.18 million in equity to the project.


More images of HomeField and the celebratory event are available on NDHFA’s Facebook page.

The City of Fargo committed $165,000 in HOME funds and $150,000 in CDBG funding to help buy down the cost of the land on which the property is located. “The City has identified affordable senior housing as a critical need, especially housing for extremely low-income seniors,” said Dan Madler, BSI’s CEO.

HomeField is located at 4245 28th Ave S, next to Anderson Park in South Fargo. All the units are reserved for income-qualified households age 55 and older. There are 33 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom apartments. Depending on household size and income, the units rent for $388 to $696 per month plus utilities. An individual earning $16,530 or less would qualify to rent a one-bedroom apartment for $370.

MetroPlains Management expects the property to be completely leased up by the end of August. Individuals who would like to learn more about affordable housing available in the Fargo area can call the property manager at (701) 232-1887. Information is also available online at www.metroplains.com. 

Managing LIHTC Compliance Training Registration Open

BISMARCK, ND – Registration is now open for Managing Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Compliance, an in-depth training geared specifically to tenant file compliance.

Hosted by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and lead by Spectrum Enterprises, the training will be held on Oct. 25, 2017, at the Ramkota Hotel, 800 S 3rd Street in Bismarck, ND.
Spectrum’s Jennifer Borland described the one-day training, “We will discuss income and asset definitions, verification requirements, calculations for income and assets, preparing for a compliance review, tenant fraud, student status, etc.”

All registrants will receive a course manual. Attendees that complete the training will be awarded six continuing education hours good toward any nationally recognized LIHTC designation (C3P, HCCP, COS, etc.). No exam or certification will be offered in conjunction with the training.

“In addition to the federal program requirements, the course will be customized to highlight NDHFA’s policies and procedures,” said Jennifer Henderson, the agency’s planning and housing development division director.

Pre-registration is required. The training fee on or before October 11, 2017, is $150. After the 11th, the fee is $175. Registration will close on Oct. 15. Additional information is available online or by contacting NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Co-director of investor consulting services, education and training development, Borland is responsible for developing Spectrum’s training services. She has a background in conventional and affordable housing property management, and first served with the company as a senior compliance analyst, performing file pre-approvals and annual compliance reviews for management and investment clients, and as a compliance monitor for state monitoring contracts. Borland has spoken at seminars and conducted LIHTC compliance trainings nationwide. She is C12P, COS, STAR, and TaCCs certified.

Spectrum Enterprises, Inc. is a growing firm specializing in compliance oversight for the LIHTC program. With a national roster of clients includes state housing agencies, leading investors, syndicators, developers, asset management, and property management companies, Spectrum’s services include document analysis, tenant file reviews, application pre-approvals, site inspections and training.

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

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.”

Unique Senior Apartments Open in Downtown Bismarck

BISMARCK, ND – MetroPlains LLC opened the doors to a unique senior apartment complex today. Located in downtown Bismarck, the four-story building offers very desirable amenities and it’s affordable.

Lt. Governor Sanford (center) congratulates MetroPlains on the completion of 100 West Main.

100 West Main has a four-season porch, lounge, exercise room, community room, and on-site chapel. A community manager organizes activities and supportive services are offered that allow tenants to age in place. The apartments all have energy-efficient lighting and appliances, and some have balconettes. The building is within walking distance of churches and restaurants, retail, financial and medical services, and it offers easy access to public transportation.

“Walkable downtowns that offer a variety of retail, dining and entertainment options, as well as housing for all income levels, are an important element of the Main Street Initiative,” Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford said at the celebratory event. “This property is a great example of public-private partnership creating diverse housing opportunities that help contribute to a healthy, vibrant community.”

Sanford attended the event on behalf of the North Dakota Industrial Commission. The commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.

“Affordable housing for seniors with limited incomes is a much-needed resource in Bismarck,” said NDHFA Executive Director Jolene Kline. “100 West Main will be a great addition to the city’s core.”

NDHFA allocated $600,000 from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund to the project and awarded $506,097 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The credits brought $5.11 million in equity to the project through the syndication by Wells Fargo Affordable Housing Community Development Corp. Wells Fargo also provided the project’s construction financing.

Additional development support was provided by the City of Bismarck, Bank of North Dakota, and the Lewis and Clark Development Group (formerly CommunityWorks North Dakota). Security First Bank provided the project’s pre-development and permanent financing.

“We are very appreciative of all of the support provided by our project partners,” said Rob McCready, MetroPlains Principal. The total cost of developing the property was $6.56 million.

“To have an opportunity to provide affordable housing for seniors in a location which contributes positively to the diversity and vitality of downtown Bismarck is extremely gratifying,” said Randy Schold, MetroPlains Principal.


More photographs of the property are available on our Facebook page.

All of the apartments at 100 West Main are reserved for income-qualified households age 55 and older. There are 18 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom units. Five units are fully accessible. Depending on household size and income, the units rent for $370 to $806 per month plus utilities. An individual earning $17,370 or less would qualify to rent a one-bedroom apartment for $370.

Individuals who would like to learn more about 100 West Main can contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 751-9951. Information is also available online at www.metroplains.com.

MetroPlains partners with individuals, organizations and local governments in order to provide exceptional developments which meet the diverse housing goals of communities. MetroPlains Management provides property management services to promote a superior experience for the residents.

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