Spring Lender Training Planned

In March, mortgage lenders have an opportunity to learn how North Dakota Housing Finance Agency helps first-time buyers, special needs families and other households who may have previously owned property to purchase a home.

“The training includes an introduction to FirstHome™, an agency program that assists more than a 1,000 North Dakotans annually in buying for the first time,” said NDHFA Homeownership Division Director Dave Flohr. “We will also discuss the assistance available to single parents, households with elderly or disabled family members, honorably discharged veterans, and households whose income exceeds our standard program limits.”

The first training of the spring will be held March 20 at the Expressway Suites, 4303 17th Ave S, Fargo. The registration deadline is March 16 and class size is limited to 30.

A second training will be held March 22 at the Quality Inn, 1030 E Interstate Ave, Bismarck. The registration deadline for the Bismarck course is March 19.

Training is open to new and pending participating lender staff, and current participating lender staff who are interested in a refresher. Both sessions begin at 9:00 a.m., CT, and will run to approximately 1:00 p.m. There are no registration fees, however pre-registration is required.

If needed, sleeping rooms, $83.70 for a single, are available at the Quality Inn, (701) 223-1911, or Expressway Inn, (701) 239-4303. Ask for the “ND Housing” block to receive the discounted rate.

Questions regarding NDHFA’s homeownership programs or the lender training can be directed to Flohr, (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

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 the agency is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

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 www.ndhfa.org.

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!


Counseling Grant Supports Improvement of Housing Situations

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency secured a $59,318 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development housing counseling grant this summer.

“The grant dollars support programs that help individuals and families make informed housing decisions,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

The funds were primarily split between two affiliate organizations – Community Action Opportunities of Minot and South Eastern North Dakota Community Action Agency of Fargo. Each received $29,107. The Community Action Partnership (Dickinson and Williston areas) program received $1,102.

The recipients of the grant offer financial literacy training, provide assistance to renters and homeless persons, and assist households of modest means in becoming and remaining homeowners.

HUD’s housing counseling grants are awarded annually through a competitive process. The organizations that apply must be preapproved by the federal agency and are subject to biennial performance reviews to maintain the approved status.

National and regional organizations including state housing finance agencies like NDHFA are typically responsible for the distribution of the grant funding to the community-based organizations that provide guidance to low- and moderate-income households seeking to improve their housing situation. The larger entities also help improve the quality of the counseling services and enhance coordination among the providers.

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 is available online at www.ndhfa.org or by calling (800) 292-8621.

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.

Housing Finance Agency Awards Development Assistance


Rendering of Edwinton Place in Bismarck.

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota’s most vulnerable households will benefit from affordable housing development assistance project awards made by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).

Seven developers received funding commitments from NDHFA in November. The awards were made through three federal programs – $3.16 million in tax credit authority through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, $2.72 million from the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and $460,000 from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) – and $2.65 million from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF).

“The projects that North Dakota Housing Finance Agency selected support the state’s efforts to address behavioral health and criminal justice issues while ensuring North Dakota’s aging and disabled households and lower-wage workers have safe and affordable housing as well,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “By ensuring that our most vulnerable state residents have a safe and affordable place to call home, we reduce the overall burden placed on the communities and our state.”

About the Projects

Edwinton Place in Bismarck, a “Housing First” project spearheaded by Burleigh County Housing Authority, was awarded $813,000 in LIHTCs. NDHFA also made commitments of $1,026,147 from the HTF, $500,000 from HIF and $460,000 from NSP. It will provide permanent supportive housing for 40 individuals coming directly out of homelessness.


A rendering of the Edge Artist Flats in Fargo.

The Edge Artist Flats in Fargo, a Commonwealth Development Corp. project, received $740,000 in LIHTCs and $1,369,263 from the HTF. The 42-unit, family-friendly development will provide supportive services to its disabled tenants and to households at risk of homelessness.

HomeField 2 Apartments in Fargo is the second phase of a Beyond Shelter Inc. (BSI) development. NDHFA awarded $504,437 in LIHTCs to support the development of 39 senior apartments including eight accessible units.

Ellendale Apartments, an Affordable Housing Developers Inc. acquisition and rehab project, was awarded $755,000 from HIF to support the redevelopment of a 32-unit property including accessibility improvements that improve the livability of the property for the tenants with disabilities.

Pure Downtown in Grand Forks, a project of Dakota Commercial, received $1.1 million conditional commitment through HIF to reserve 25 of its 50 apartments for low- to moderate-income households.

Dakota Heights in West Fargo, a Southhill Properties LLC project, received $425,100 in LIHTCs. The senior housing project will have a vacancy preference for elderly veterans with Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers. Six of the 30 units will be reserved as permanent supportive housing for individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Grace Garden in West Fargo, a joint venture of the YWCA of Cass Clay and BSI, received $672,500 in LIHTCs. NDHFA also made a commitment of $325,549 from the HTF and $500,000 from HIF. The supportive housing project will serve 30 households at risk of homelessness, many of whom are transitioning from domestic violence.

About the Programs

“North Dakota Housing Finance Agency received 27 total applications for assistance from 14 projects during our fall 2017 funding rounds. The greatest demand was for support from the LIHTC and the HTF programs, more than twice what the programs could provide,” said Kline.

LIHTC provides an indirect federal subsidy used to finance the construction or rehabilitation of rental housing for lower-income households. The purpose of the HTF is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households including homeless families. NSP supports the acquisition of foreclosed, abandoned or vacant properties in targeted areas for redevelopment into affordable rental housing. And HIF, the only state-funded program, strengthens communities by supporting the development or preservation of rental housing for essential service workers and low- to moderate-income households.

All of NDHFA’s development programs have allocation plans that are reviewed annually to ensure that the projects that receive financial awards are addressing the state’s greatest housing needs. The application process for each program is competitive with the top scoring projects receiving the awards. Each applicant must provide evidence that there is a need for the type of housing proposed, that the community supports the development, and that construction costs are reasonable. The period of affordability for the projects supported with federal funds is 30 years, HIF’s is 20 years.


A public financial institution dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans, NDHFA is overseen by the North Dakota Industrial Commission which consists of Governor Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. More information about the programs administered by NDHFA and the projects awarded development assistance is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

Hazen Marks Successful Redevelopment of Main Street Property

HAZEN, ND – A gathering in Hazen today marked the successful redevelopment of a blighted Main Street property into an 18-unit apartment complex.


Project partners celebrate the development of Hazen Pioneer Apartments. Additional photos are available on NDHFA’s Facebook page.

“Through the development of Hazen Pioneer Apartments, we are addressing three community goals – improvement of our Main Street, retention of our senior population and more housing options for the workforce,” said Buster Langowski, Hazen Community Development executive director.

HCD oversaw development and got the project moving forward by purchasing the site’s original building, a community hospital that later served as a nursing home, for $40,000. The City of Hazen supported the effort by providing land, a former city park that surrounds the site, a $60,000 value. The Hazen Housing Authority is the property owner.

“Hazen Pioneer Apartments is an excellent example of how a community can better link housing and supportive services allowing elderly community members to affordably and comfortably age in place,” said Jolene Kline, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency executive director. “The result is better quality of life for our seniors and significant healthcare savings for the community and state.”

The project received $2.1 million from the Housing Incentive Fund, a state program that supports the development of housing for essential service workers, main street employees and fixed-income households. NDHFA administers HIF accepting contributions from state taxpayers to capitalize the fund. The agency received 22 contributions that directly supported the project including large contributions by WRT Communications and U.S. Bank.

The Lewis & Clark Development Group provided a $50,000 pre-development loan and the North Dakota Department of Health provided a $17,000 Brownfield Grant for site cleanup. The remaining project financing was provided by Union State Bank and The Union Bank of Hazen. Other partners include Multifamily Capital Resources Inc., a development consultant; Williams Building Company Inc., the construction manager; JLG Architects; Retterath Management and Sales, property management and HJL Management Company, the eligibility agent.


Community members tour Hazen Pioneer Apartments.

The supportive services for seniors at Hazen Pioneer Apartments include meals, transportation, medical checks, and the local grocery store will make deliveries to tenants. Four of the units are fully accessible. The property is within walking distance of the public library, city hall and downtown businesses. Energy efficient appliances, in-unit laundry and window coverings are provided. Internet access, cable TV and off street parking are available. Individuals interested in learning more should contact Sandy Retterath at Retterath Management and Sales, (701) 748-5577.

HCD is charged with furthering the development of the City of Hazen and the surrounding area by promoting, encouraging and assisting in the development of new enterprises or the expansion or continuation of presently existing businesses.

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.