Tag Archives: education

Forums Will Feature Topics for Housing Professionals

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency will host a series of Housing Forums in 2020. The events provide educational and networking opportunities for the housing professionals who partner with the agency to deliver its affordable homeownership and rental programs.

“The Forum topics were selected with our housing partners in mind and will be hosted at locations and times convenient to them,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA interim executive director.

The first event, a Homeownership Forum, is targeted to lenders, real estate agents and related professions. The same event will be hosted in two locations, on Feb. 25th at the Doubletree by Hilton in West Fargo and on Feb. 26th at the Radisson Hotel in Bismarck.

The featured speaker is Ruth Dillingham, a residential real estate sales and mortgage lending expert. She will provide an Overview of Regulatory Compliance Rules for Residential Mortgage Lending. Dillingham will review the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) Section 8 requirements and discuss how to handle referral requests, and review TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) requirements, talk about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the five-year look back requirement.

Following Dillingham’s presentation, a local title company, and real estate and lending professionals will weigh-in during a roundtable discussion.

Register for the Homeownership Forum by Feb. 12 for $40. After Feb. 12, the fee will increase to $60. Registration will close on Feb. 17, 2020.

Real estate continuing education program applications have been submitted to the North Dakota Real Estate Commission and the Minnesota Dept. of Commerce. Upon the approval of the program by these licensing organizations, NDHFA will offer credit for homeownership forum attendance.

The agency will host a Multifamily Forum in Bismarck on April 16th that will be targeted to property managers, multifamily developers and service providers. That event will be preceded by a full day of Uniform Physical Conditions Standards training. Additional details will be released on the multifamily event in late January.

“The Forums will replace NDHFA’s traditional Statewide Housing Conference in 2020,” said Flohr. “By hosting these smaller, targeted events, our goal is to provide opportunities for meaningful conversations while offering audience-specific education.”

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

Online Homebuyer Education Takes Off; HomeSmart Suspended

eHomeAmerica logoA consumer preference for online homebuyer education has prompted North Dakota Housing Finance Agency to suspend HomeSmart, an agency program that encouraged first-time buyers to prepare for homeownership by completing a classroom workshop.

“Online education offers first-time homebuyers the ability to access courses at their convenience,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA’s homeownership division director. “Providers have ceased offering classroom courses over time primarily due to lack of attendance.”

The last classroom course that qualified for NDHFA’s HomeSmart program ceased being offered in January 2016. The suspension is effective as of March 1.

To address the consumer trend, NDHFA, The Village Family Service Center and CommunityWorks North Dakota partnered in 2012 to offer homebuyer education online through eHome America, www.ndhfa.org/Homeownership/EducationInfo.html. Since that time, 535 North Dakota households have completed the online course.

The fee for the eHome America course is $99. NDHFA provides a discount that lowers the fee to $49. Funds previously budgeted for the HomeSmart program will be redirected to support the online course.

HomeSmart provided mortgagors who successfully completed an agency-approved classroom workshop with a $100 grant to assist with closing costs. Over the 17 years the program was offered, 728 households received the grants. Program activity peaked in 1999 and 2000 with approximately 100 households receiving a grant each year. More recently, program use had declined to an average of 20 grants per year.

A self-supporting state agency, NDHFA helps low- to moderate-income North Dakota households successfully achieve homeownership by offering homebuyer education, down payment and closing cost assistance, and affordable mortgage loans. For more information on the agency’s programs, contact NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

Landlord Training in Jamestown on Oct. 30

Jamestown, ND – Stutsman County Housing Authority (SCHA) will host a Landlord Training event on Thursday, Oct. 30, in Jamestown, N.D. The event’s purpose is to educate landlords, property owners and managers, civic leaders, tenants, and other interested parties about landlord do’s and don’ts.

“As we see changes happening across the state with new landlords, new rental units, and new tenants, we feel it is a good time to review what landlords should know,” explained David Klein, SCHA executive director.

The all-day event will include speakers from the North Dakota Apartments Association, High Plains Fair Housing, North Dakota Department of Labor, Ottmar & Ottmar Law Firm, Freedom Resource, Jamestown Police Department, and Safe Shelter. Speakers will cover screening tenants, eviction processes and small claims courts, domestic violence, criminal activity, discrimination, fair housing, and accessibility issues.

The training event will be held at the Gladstone Inn in Jamestown.  There is a $10 registration fee.  For more information, a complete agenda, and online registration, go to http://www.stutsmancountyhousing.com.

Stutsman County Housing Authority administers the Section 8 Voucher programs for Stutsman, Logan, Foster, Dickey and Sargent Counties, and a HOME grant program for North Dakota Region 6. It is the mission of the Stutsman County Housing Authority to provide safe, affordable housing opportunities for persons with low and moderate income and to promote economic self-sufficiency of families.

Agency Discounts Homebuyer Education Course

eHomeAmerica logoNorth Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) online homebuyer education course is getting a little more affordable to help give homebuyers the skills needed for successful homeownership. Through eHome America, participants learn the steps in the home buying process at their convenience.

The fee for the eHome America course recently increased to $99. However, with NDHFA’s discount code, NDHFA49, the fee will be lowered to $50.

“To ensure that all our borrowers can continue to reap the benefits of the program, NDHFA chose to heavily discount the course fee,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA homeownership division director.

By way of video tutorials, written materials and quizzes, course participants learn how to determine what they can afford; how to secure a mortgage loan; and how to maintain the home purchased. All the materials are online.

“The course is an excellent tool in helping potential buyers better understand the responsibilities and costs associated with homeownership, “said Flohr.

For more information on the eHome America course, contact NDHFA at (800) 292-8621 or info@ndhfa.org.

From the Director, April 2014

In February, the National Housing Conference published a report that looked at severe housing cost burdens across the country. North Dakota fared very well with 11 percent being severely cost burdened – well below the 15.6 percent national average. That report, which was examined in an article in Governingmagazine, prompted an email from a legislator asking about the numbers and the conflicting stories about “affordability” that we hear every day.

While it is interesting to see how North Dakota sits compared to the rest of the nation, the numbers from the report need to be taken in a much larger context.

Lately, “affordable housing” has become a vague or misrepresented term. Generally, when a household spends 30 percent or less of their gross income on housing and utility costs it is considered to be “affordable.” Households are cost burdened when they spend more than that on housing and are severely cost burdened when they spend more than half of their gross income on housing.

The NHC report looked only at “working households,” which are those with members working a total of at least 20 hours a week and household income that does not exceed 120 percent of area median income. The report shows that there were 132,904 households fitting this description in North Dakota in 2012 and that 15,012 or 11.3 percent were severely cost burdened.

The significant and growing number of senior households that are no longer in the workforce are not contemplated in the study. North Dakota has more than 64,000 households that are 65 or older and that is projected to reach more than 98,000 by 2025 as the Baby Boom generation ages. Cost burdens affect these households at a higher rate both in homeownership as well as renters. These fixed income households with an average income of $41,346 are less able to tolerate increases in housing costs than working households.

It is not surprising that North Dakota’s numbers look comparatively better than the rest of the country – especially when North Dakota led the nation in personal income growth in 2013 – but that shouldn’t be taken as an indication that everything is fine. There are thousands of households that struggle every day to balance housing with other costs like food, child care, transportation and medical expenses. When a household has to spend half of its gross income on housing, the budget decisions for the other half get very tough and sometimes important needs can get neglected.

Housing burdens also negatively impact the economy, in general, as there is less discretionary spending. Business expansion and growth can be hampered when there are not affordable housing options because of the difficulty of recruiting and retaining workers. Shortages of affordable housing options for workers are not just an oil patch concern; in fact, companies in Grand Forks, Jamestown and Valley City have felt the pinch of a tight housing market.

While housing construction has been happening at record pace in many areas of the state, the NHC report further illustrates the importance of truly affordable housing options for lower income households. Thanks to the Housing Incentive Fund, North Dakota has significantly increased the production of housing units targeted to these households, but there is certainly much more to do in the years ahead.

Jolene Kline
NDHFA executive director

From the Director, February 2014

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

I would like to thank everyone for the well wishes I’ve received since I took over the Executive Director role permanently in December. Your kindness and enthusiasm have given me even more motivation to continue making North Dakota Housing Finance Agency the best it can be.

In the nine months since I took on the huge task of filling Mike Anderson’s shoes, I have been extremely busy learning much more about all facets of the Agency’s operations, especially homeownership and all the details that go into financing those opportunities for our fellow North Dakotans. I am appreciative of the hardworking Agency staff who take on that task not just as a job, but as a mission. And of course we couldn’t do what we do without the support of our numerous partners. It is all of the lenders, real estate agents, developers, builders, elected officials and housing industry leaders who make housing in North Dakota work.

But it is important to also remember what we are working for – affordable housing opportunities for every North Dakotan. The faces of those renters and homeowners who have a new place to call home are inspiring. So often we hear the stories of those who struggled to find housing and it is heartwarming to know that we had some small part in bringing them home.

North Dakota continues to face housing challenges with headlines announcing city-sized population growth in the past year and homelessness tightening its grip on those with few other options. While we have made great strides alongside our partners in addressing housing issues, certainly there is much more to do.

In that spirit, I want to personally invite you to join us for the 23rd Annual Statewide Housing Conference on Feb. 26-27 at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck. We have a dynamic conference planned with incredible speakers, timely and informative breakout sessions and, of course, excellent opportunities to network and discuss how together we can all make it “Mission: Possible.”

Again thank you for your friendship, partnership and commitment to achieving our goals. I hope to see you in Bismarck on Feb. 26-27.

Jolene Kline
NDHFA executive director

Agency Hosts 23rd Annual Housing Conference

Event Provides Affordable Housing Educational and Networking Opportunities

BISMARCK, ND – The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency(NDHFA) will host the 23rd Annual Statewide Housing Conference, “Mission: Possible,” on Feb. 26-27, 2014, at the Ramkota Hotel in Bismarck, ND.

“The conference is a great opportunity for housing industry professionals and community leaders to come together to learn about available resources and to discuss ways to address North Dakota’s affordable housing challenges,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

The conference opens on Wednesday morning with a roundtable discussion with legislative and housing industry leaders about how the housing development community can continue to meet the needs of the state.

Conference keynote speakers include crisis leadership and decision making expert Lt. Col. Robert Darling who supported the President, Vice President and National Security Advisor in the President’s Emergency Operations Center on Sept. 11, 2001; Elliot Eisenberg, Ph.D., a nationally acclaimed economist and public speaker; and Kathleen Neset, president of Neset Consulting Service Inc. and an authority on the state’s energy industry.

Breakout session highlights include special guests, Frank Garay and Brian Stevens, hosts of the National Real Estate Post, who will introduce mortgage lenders and real estate agents to exciting and unique ways of delivering their message to customers. Additional breakout session topics include: getting started with affordable housing development, utilizing bond financing, lender training to identify self-employed borrower risks, basic fair housing law, collaboration to provide supportive services alongside housing, and rental program updates.

NDHFA will present its Champion of Affordable Housing awards at the closing luncheon on Thursday. The awards honor individuals and organizations who have made exceptional contributions to affordable housing in North Dakota. Lenders participating in the agency’s homeownership programs will also be recognized.

The North Dakota Real Estate Commission and the North Dakota Board of Social Work Examiners have each approved the conference for continuing education credit. Real estate agents will receive three hours of mandatory course credit for attending the Fair Housing Law breakout sessions on Feb. 26. Real estate agents and social workers who attend the full conference are eligible for eight credit hours.

The conference registration fee is $150 if postmarked by Feb. 19. One-day only registration is $80. For more information about the event, contact NDHFA at 701/328-8080, 800/292-8621 or info@ndhfa.org. Conference registration materials are available online at www.ndhfa.org.

The Industrial Commission of North Dakota, consisting of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, as chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the NDHFA.