Tag Archives: affordable housing

Housing for Chronically Homeless Individuals is Complete

GRAND FORKS, ND – Ten years after the need was first identified in the City of Grand Forks’ plan to end long-term homelessness, local and state officials celebrated the successful completion of LaGrave on First. The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project will house 42 individuals who experienced chronic homelessness. The approach employed at the property is known as ‘Housing First’ where tenants are rapidly housed and then offered services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness.

“LaGrave on First is unique in that it pairs permanent, affordable housing and supportive services in the same building,” said Terry Hanson, Grand Forks Housing Authority (GFHA) executive director. “By having services on-site, we are able to immediately address the physical and mental health, substance abuse, education or job training needs of these individuals.”

Grand Forks Homes Inc. (GFHI), the property owner, is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families. GFHA is the developer and will manage the property. The housing authority will leverage project-based Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure affordability for the extremely low-income households that will reside at LaGrave on First.

GFHA partnered with Beyond Shelter Inc. to develop LaGrave on First. They patterned it after Cooper House, which opened in 2010 in Fargo, N.D., and was the state’s first PSH project for individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness. Through the Region IV Supportive Housing Collaborative, local service providers advocated for the development of a similar property in Grand Forks.

The City of Grand Forks donated the land on which LaGrave on First was constructed, a former city park, and $335,000 in HOME funds. The project is named in honor of Royce LaGrave, the city’s community development and housing authority executive director from 1966-83. LaGrave was known for his resourcefulness and ability to bring about change.

Ninety percent of LaGrave on First’s development costs were covered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The state agency awarded federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project that were syndicated by U.S. Bank Community Development Corporation providing almost $7 million in equity. NDHFA also awarded $772,514 from the National Housing Trust Fund. The total project cost is $8.76 million.

“NDHFA prioritized the use of our limited development resources to address the state’s need for community-based permanent supportive housing to end chronic homelessness,” said Jolene Kline, the agency’s executive director. “While it’s easy for us to talk about what is needed, it’s much harder to achieve success especially when developing housing for individuals with complex needs. These project partners truly need to be commended for the housing and level of services they put together.”

Additional project financing was 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.

Altru, Community Options, Northeast Human Service Center, Prairie Harvest Mental Health, Success Unlimited, and Valley Community Health Centers have agreed to provide supportive and medical services at the site.

A four-story building, LaGrave on First is located at 500 1st Avenue South. Administrative offices, an exam room, exercise room, computer room, commercial kitchen and dining room, lounge space, and a laundry room are on the first floor. The 42 one-bedroom/bath apartments are on the upper floors.

Because most of LaGrave on First’s tenants are expected to arrive with minimal personal items, GFHI and GFHA have been working with area churches to outfit the apartments with the necessities needed for daily living – dinnerware, towels, bedding and personal care items.

“Community members can help us make a positive impact in the lives of LaGrave on First’s tenants by supporting our Adopt-a-Unit program,” said Emily Contreras, executive administrator at GFHA. “Contributions can be made via a GoFundMe account, https://www.gofundme.com/lagraveonfirst, or by dropping off donations at the GFHA’s office, 1405 1st Ave N.”

The most recent count of the homeless population put the number of chronically homeless individuals in the Grand Forks area at 62. Due to their instability, such individuals are frequent users of emergency services which can cost the community $30,000 to $50,000 per year per individual. Providing immediate access to housing is expected to save the local community up to 40 percent of the total cost of these individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
GFHA expects to begin moving tenants into the property this month.

Grand Forks Homes, Inc. is a local non-profit formed in 1971 for the purpose of developing and owning affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families in and around the Grand Forks, N.D. Members of the board of directors are from eight local churches and a tenant of the properties, all administrative functions are performed by its property manager Grand Forks Housing Authority.

Grand Forks Housing Authority is dedicated to providing safe, decent, affordable housing to the residents of Grand Forks County through federal housing choice vouchers and project-based rental assistance.

A nonprofit developer of affordable housing, Beyond Shelter Inc. has partnered with like-minded organizations to develop 1,037 affordable residential units in North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

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

Agency Reports Record Breaking Loan Production

NDHFA-LogoBISMARCK, ND – First-time buyers pushed North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) homeownership program to a record-breaking level this spring.

“NDHFA’s FirstHome™ loan reservations total in May was 185 percent higher than last year,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. The state agency’s program provides first-time home buyers with low-cost financing and, if desired, down payment and closing cost assistance.

The agency received 262 loan reservations in May for $44 million in financing, the highest non-special event month on record. During the same time period in 2017, NDHFA recorded 141 reservations. The agency’s staff attributes some of the demand to the interest rates it is currently offering.

“With conventional financing at 4.25 percent and NDHFA at 3.75 percent, the payment on a $200,000 loan is about $60 less per month,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

The greatest uptick in program activity is in Grand Forks County, almost double last year’s. In Williams County, where a limited number of entry-level homes are reportedly available, NDHFA’s loan production is down 25 percent. The greatest overall program use, as is the norm, is in Cass and Burleigh/Morton counties.

Private-sector lenders originate loans on NDHFA’s behalf and sell them to the agency when the loans are closed. Year-to-date, the average loan purchased by the agency is just under $167,000.

The limit for single-family homes purchased is $271,164 to $303,882, depending on household size and the county in which the property is located.

NDHFA’s program is available to state residents earning up to $98,900 who have not owned a home in the last three years. In 2017, the average borrower’s household income was $56,000.
Sixty percent of NDHFA’s borrowers use the down payment and closing cost assistance offered.

“The purchase assistance allows these buyers to enter the market sooner and to keep their funds for household expenses like a lawnmower, furniture and paint for their new house,” said Flohr.

“Homeownership rates in North Dakota declined during the energy boom with many incoming households choosing to rent,” said Kline. “If our purchase activity is indicative of more households becoming homeowners, that is a good thing for North Dakota because homeowners are more invested in their community.” In 2010, the U.S. Department of Census reported that 65.4 percent of North Dakotans owned a home. It is now estimated at 63.5 percent.

A 1997 federal disaster declaration allowed NDHFA to provide purchase assistance to households impacted by flooding including those who had previously owned a home and those whose income exceeded normal program limits. That special event resulted in 280 loans in March 1998 and 268 in Sept. 1997.

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’s homeownership programs is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

From the Director, June 2018

 

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

This spring, NDHFA staff have been busy breaking records, breaking ground and ranking at the top of the nation!

In May, the agency received a Tier 1 ranking for the FY 2018 Q1 from HUD’s National Servicing Center for servicing Federal Housing Administration guaranteed single-family loans. The tier ranking system measures a mortgagee’s compliance with delinquent servicing guidelines and requirements in the areas of early delinquency intervention, loss mitigation engagement quantity and quality, and reporting. HUD established the tier ranking system to protect FHA borrowers from servicer non-compliance and to monitor potential servicer-specific or industry-wide delinquent servicing issues. A higher work-out ratio shows a servicer’s effectiveness in working with delinquent borrowers to keep them out of foreclosure. We are proud for scoring 97.18 percent!

Since the beginning of 2018, we’ve tracked the uptick in our FirstHome™ loan reservations. In May, they were 185 percent higher than last year, officially breaking the agency record. We received 262 loan reservations that month for $44 million in financing, which is our highest non-special event month ever. During the same time period in 2017, NDHFA recorded 141 reservations. The agency’s staff attributes private-sector lenders originating loans on our behalf and the current interest rate. NDHFA recently closed on the sale of $125 million in private activity bonds leveraging private capital to allow the agency to purchase these mortgages from the originating lenders.

Breaking ground happened at the YWCA Cass Clay Grace Gardens which will provide housing for up to 30 women and their children at-risk of homelessness, many of whom are transitioning from domestic violence situations. It was a privilege to stand with the YWCA, Lutheran Church of the Cross who is leasing the land for the project, Gate City Bank who is donating $1.5 million over 12 years for start-up costs and supportive services, ND Department of Commerce for committing $250,000 in CDBG funding for land acquisition, Housing Authority of Cass County for committing $2 million in Housing Choice Vouchers, and Beyond Shelter for developing the residence. This project is a true example of a public-private partnership that creates safe and affordable housing with supportive services unique to each family’s needs and goals to improve their economic stability and break the cycles of abuse and poverty for the next generation. The development assistance provided to the project by NDHFA is just shy of $7 million.

I hope the second half of the year keeps on track with all of the successes we’ve been able to celebrate this year.

Agency Receives Tier 1 Ranking

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) received a Tier 1 ranking for the FY 2018 Q1 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) National Servicing Center for servicing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) guaranteed single-family loans.

“NDHFA scored 97.18 percent ranking the agency in the top 17 percent of all FHA servicers nationwide,” said Dave Flohr, the agency’s homeownership division director. That quarter, 971 FHA servicers were scored.

The tier ranking system measures a mortgagee’s compliance with delinquent servicing guidelines and requirements in the areas of early delinquency intervention, loss mitigation engagement quantity and quality, and reporting.

HUD established the tier ranking system to protect FHA borrowers from servicer non-compliance and to monitor potential servicer-specific or industry-wide delinquent servicing issues. A higher work-out ratio shows a servicer’s effectiveness in working with delinquent borrowers to keep them out of foreclosure.

“The ratios used for the calculations can be unpredictable and a score can be impacted by one loan’s performance,” said Flohr. “For that reason, our score doesn’t matter as much to HUD as consistent compliance with policy and regulations.”

Of the 8,200 loans NDHFA currently services, 3,900 are FHA guaranteed. The last time the agency was ranked Tier 1 was for FY 2017 Q1.

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 www.ndhfa.org.

Homeownership Program Eligibility Limits Increased

NDHFA-LogoBISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission has approved an increase in the eligibility limits for state programs that assist with home purchases. Administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA), the programs help North Dakotans, typically first-time buyers, buy a home by providing low-cost financing, and down payment and closing cost assistance.

“With these increases we hope that more North Dakotans will be able to purchase a home,” said commission members in a joint statement. “The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has already helped 42,000 individuals and families become homeowners by providing more than $3 billion in financing since 1982.” The Industrial Commission, consisting of Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees NDHFA.

The maximum income limits for NDHFA’s FirstHome™ and HomeAccess programs were set at $83,900 to $98,900, and North Dakota Roots was set at $117,460 to $138,460. The limits vary depending on household size and the county in which a financed home is located.

The FirstHome and HomeAccess acquisition cost limits were set at $271,164 to $303,882 for a single-family home. Higher limits were approved for existing two- to four-unit properties. These limits also vary based on the county in which a property is located. North Dakota Roots program users must comply with limits set by their loan insurer or guarantor.

“During the first quarter of 2018 North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s FirstHome program saw a 47 percent increase in program activity over the same period in 2017,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “If the trend continues, 2018 will be busy for our Homeownership Division.”

In 2017, NDHFA assisted 1,076 first-time homebuyers through its FirstHome program. The average borrower’s household income was $57,573 and the average loan amount was $162,643.

The income and acquisition cost limits for NDHFA’s programs are regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Internal Revenue Service respectively. The updated limits are effective for loan reservations dated on or after May 1, 2018.

Through HomeAccess, special needs households who may have previously owned a home may receive the same purchase assistance as first-time buyers. NDHFA’s North Dakota Roots program provides purchase assistance to moderate-income buyers who may have previously owned a home and first-time buyers whose income exceeds the FirstHome program limits.

Private-sector lenders originate the mortgage loans on NDHFA’s behalf and sell them to the agency when the loans are closed. Parties interested in learning more about the programs will find information online at http://www.ndhfa.org.

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

Assistance Available for Affordable Housing Development

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is accepting applications for affordable multifamily housing development assistance through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs.

“The Low Income Housing Tax Credit and Housing Trust Fund programs support the development of housing for the most vulnerable members of our communities, ensuring these individuals and families have a safe, decent and affordable place to call home,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. The agency administers the federal programs on the state’s behalf.

Developers awarded LIHTCs sell the credits to raise capital from investors, reducing the debt required to build, preserve or rehabilitate a property. The equity provided makes it possible to rent the housing units to households earning 60 percent or less than Area Median Income (AMI).

The intent of the HTF program is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households, those earning less than 30 percent of AMI, including homeless families. The assistance provided can be used for the production, preservation, rehabilitation and operation of a property. HTF financial awards are structured as forgivable zero-interest loans.

Eligible recipients of these development resources include units of local, state and tribal government; local and tribal housing authorities; community action agencies; regional planning councils; nonprofit organizations; and for-profit developers.

The LIHTC and HTF program plans and applications are available online at www.ndhfa.org or by contacting NDHFA at (800) 292-8621. The deadline for submission is Sept. 28, 2018.

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

Grants Support Safe Housing for Lower-Income Households

BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted today to allocate $200,000 through Helping Housing Across North Dakota (Helping HAND), a state program that aids organizations that provide home construction and rehab assistance to lower-income North Dakotans. The program is administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).

“The grants provided through Helping HAND program typically support weatherization and rehabilitation programs ensuring North Dakotans of modest means have a safe and comfortable 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 2018 funds will be distributed as follows:

  • Southeastern ND Community Action Agency, Fargo, $56,700.
  • Red River Valley Community Action, Grand Forks, $30,595.
  • Community Action Partnership, Minot, $24,389.
  • Community Action Partnership, Dickinson/Williston, $19,851.
  • Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency, Devils Lake, $21,924.
  • Community Action Region VI, Jamestown, $15,442.
  • Trenton Indian Service Area, Trenton, $7,333.
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, Belcourt, $7,333.
  • Spirit Lake Tribal Housing, Fort Totten, $7,333.
  • Lake Agassiz Habitat for Humanity, Fargo, $4,000.
  • Red River Valley Habitat for Humanity, Grand Forks, $3,500.
  • Rebuilding Together, Fargo, $800.
  • Rebuilding Together, Mandan, $800.

Grant recipients must provide a local match of 25 percent to access the program dollars.

“Through Helping HAND, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has allocated over $5 million of agency earnings to non-profit organizations assisting more than 5,000 lower-income households statewide,” said Jolene Kline, the agency’s 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 www.ndhfa.org.