Tag Archives: Housing Incentive Fund

Hearing Scheduled for Housing Incentive Fund Plan

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will hold a Public Hearing on June 18, 2019, for the Housing Incentive Fund’s (HIF) proposed 2019 Allocation Plan. The Plan sets forth the procedures and criteria that NDHFA will adhere to as the program administrator.

HIF supports the development of affordable rental housing for low- to moderate-wage workers, the state’s aging population, individuals with disabilities, and persons at risk of homelessness.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m., CT, in the boardroom at NDHFA’s office, 2624 Vermont Ave., Bismarck, ND. The proposed plan is available online at www.ndhfa.org.

The public may submit either written or oral comments at the hearing. Persons who are unable to attend may submit written comments to hfainfo@nd.gov or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535, by 5:00 p.m., CT, on June 17, 2019.

Persons needing accommodation or assistance to attend the hearing should contact NDHFA’s Planning and Housing Development division director at (800) 292-8621, (800) 366-6888 (TTY) or email 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 Gov. Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

From the Director, November 2018

Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director

Over the past seven years, NDHFA has leveraged the state’s Housing Incentive Fund, working with developers and non-profits across North Dakota to create affordable housing and permanent supportive housing units for low- to moderate-income households, persons with disabilities, the frail elderly, and individuals and families experiencing homelessness.

What we have learned along the way, as many of you already know, is that the need is greater than the available resources. During the last funding round, eight applicants requested more than $4.7 million, however, only $1.6 million from HIF re-balancing dollars was available. The applicants also requested Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Housing Trust Fund dollars because projects that serve extremely low-income households need to have minimal to zero debt after construction to be able to cover operational and maintenance costs.

With our HIF resources now depleted, NDHFA’s staff waits to see if the program will receive new funding during the 2019 North Dakota Legislative Session.

During a recent meeting with the state’s Office of Management and Budget and the Governor’s staff, NDHFA requested $50 million be included in Governor Burgum’s budget for HIF. We know this is a substantial request, but we also know that the demand is present across the state as housing affects every community, urban and rural. Numerous organizations have reached out to NDHFA offering support for HIF, and it is reassuring to know that we are not the only entity that believes in the program.

Fortunately, housing is a bi-partisan issue, and we look forward to working with all of our state legislators, either newly elected or those returning to the capitol in January, to come to an agreement on the program’s future funding level.

At the federal level, NDHFA also continues to express the importance of development programs to rural states, working to ensure our message is not muted by states with larger populations. This year, North Dakota was one of the first states in the country to successfully construct and lease up a project utilizing the Housing Trust Fund, which was created and implemented in 2016. Our close relationships with local communities and public and private entities expedited the planning and construction process, which is sometimes envied by other states.

Recently, after evaluating more ways to get people into homes without using state or federal funding, NDHFA modified our North Dakota Roots program, increasing the income limits to assist in communities where the housing market still presents challenges. Roots is a resource for local lenders to be able to offer affordable financing and down payment and closing cost assistance to households who may have previously owned a home or who are first-time buyers whose incomes exceed the limits of our FirstHome™ program.

And, while the market greatly impacts the ability of people to find housing, sometimes the challenges are created by the individual. Through our newly implemented and operational Opening Doors Program, landlords now have access to a risk mitigation fund that eases concerns about housing individuals and families who have had bad experiences in the past either as a renter or in the justice system. Funding for Opening Doors was made possible through a partnership with the ND Dept. of Human Services.

NDHFA continues to evaluate our existing programs and make modifications, responding to market and community needs. With the changes made recently, we anticipate increased business and we hope that 2019 will be another record-breaking year for the agency as we strive to ensure that everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

Supportive Senior Housing Projects Awarded Development Assistance

BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has awarded development assistance to four affordable housing projects that will offer supportive services to help their senior tenants age in place.

NDHFA awarded a total of $3.39 million in federal tax credit authority to the projects through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program which will generate more than $30 million in equity. The Agency also awarded $2.8 million from the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) and $1.6 million from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF).

“North Dakota’s seniors are one of the most housing insecure and cost-burdened sectors of our population,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA’s executive director. “Focusing our development resources on supportive housing for these households allows seniors of limited means to live safely and comfortably, and reduces the burden placed on the state if the other alternative is a costly long-term care facility.”

About the Projects

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Century Cottages, a CommunityWorks North Dakota project, will be located on Century Ave. in Bismarck, ND.

Century Cottages, a CommunityWorks North Dakota project that will be located on Century Ave. in Bismarck, ND received $788,000 in LIHTCs. NDHFA also made a commitment of $300,000 from the HTF and $408,047 through HIF. The project will create 35 new one- and two-bedroom apartments. Twenty percent of the units will be reserved for households that require assistance to live independently. The cost of construction is estimated to be $8.5 million.

The Schuett Companies was awarded $899,000 in LIHTCs to support acquisition and renovation of Patterson Place Apartments in downtown Bismarck, ND. The project will also receive $2.5 million from the HTF. The 117-unit property will continue to be operated as housing for seniors and individuals with disabilities. In addition to supportive services, 24/7 staffing will be added. The total project cost is more than $17.2 million.

The Housing Authority of Cass County was awarded $850,000 in LIHTCs to develop The Monterey, the first phase of a planned replacement of its ND1-1 and ND1-2 properties, commonly known as the West Fargo low-rise. The project was also awarded $600,000 through HIF. The Monterey will consist of 42 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments. Twenty percent of the units will be reserved for households that require assistance to live independently. Separate financing will support the development of office space in the property for the housing authority. The total cost of construction is estimated to be $11 million.

Phase two of the Housing Authority of Cass County’s planned replacement of the ND1-1 and ND1-2 properties, known as The Bridges, was also awarded $850,000 in LIHTCs and $600,000 through HIF. The Bridges will consist of 36 one-bedroom and three two-bedroom units. Twenty percent of its units will also be reserved for households that require assistance to live independently. The estimated cost of construction is $9.6 million.

About the Programs
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. HIF strengthens communities by supporting the development or preservation of rental housing for low- to moderate-income households.

“North Dakota Housing Finance Agency received 25 total applications for development assistance from 12 different projects during our fall 2018 funding rounds,” said Kline. “All of our programs received requests for more than twice the funding available. The greatest demand was for Housing Trust Fund assistance, more than four times what was available.”

The development programs administered by NDHFA have allocation plans that are reviewed annually to ensure that the projects that receive financial awards address 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 receiving federal funds is 30 years, HIF’s period of affordability is 15 years.

Development Assistance Available for Affordable Housing

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is currently accepting applications for approximately $1.6 million through the Housing Incentive Fund (HIF), a state program that strengthens communities by supporting the development of affordable rental housing for essential service workers and low- to moderate-income households.

“Priority will be given to applicants that demonstrate the need for the housing and the support of the community in which the project will be located,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

Established during the 2011 Legislative Session, HIF was reauthorized and funding was approved in 2013 and 2015. A sunset clause was removed during the 2017 session, however no new funding was provided. The assistance that is currently available is due to the cancellation of previous funding commitments.

NDHFA is also accepting applications for two federal programs – Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF). LIHTC offers an incentive for the production or rehabilitation of rental housing for low-income individuals and families. The HTF’s purpose is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households.

Applications for the programs must be received by 5 p.m. on Sept. 28, 2018. More information is available online at http://www.ndhfa.org or by contacting the agency’s planning and housing development division staff at (800) 292-8621 or hfainfo@nd.gov.

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

Minot’s First NDR-Supported Housing Project Complete

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Local and state officials celebrate the completion of Minot’s first National Disaster Resilience-supported affordable housing rehabilitation project.

MINOT, ND – Park South Apartments, the City of Minot’s first affordable housing rehabilitation project supported by the National Disaster Resilience (NDR) Program, is complete. Local and state officials celebrated the project’s completion with a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Aug. 21.

The apartment building is one of the first projects in the country completed between the recipients of the 13 NDR grants provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program.

“We’re proud that Minot continues to be an example for how the NDR Program is expected to help communities,” said Mayor Shaun Sipma. “This project was a great first step for what we want to do as a city with HUD using NDR, and it’s a great illustration of what all three levels of government working together can accomplish with the private sector.”

The City of Minot received a $74.3 million HUD grant through the NDR program, $21 million is designated for affordable multifamily housing. It awarded $1.97 million to Essential Living Inc., the non-profit owner of Park South, to renovate the building’s 35 existing apartments and add five new units. Seventy-five percent of Park South’s apartments are now reserved for income-qualified households, four of these units are fully handicapped accessible.

“The project completion on a timely basis fulfills a critical commitment the city made in 2016 when HUD approved the NDR Action Plan,” said Disaster Resilience Program Manager John Zakian. “Park South’s completion is a milestone for the City of Minot in carrying out the goal of fulfilling unmet housing needs in the community.”

Essential Living also received $2.23 million from North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) through the Housing Incentive Fund. The state’s program supports the development and preservation of affordable multifamily rental housing targeted to low- to moderate-income households and essential service workers.

“The assistance North Dakota Housing Finance Agency provided through the Housing Incentive Fund extended the affordability of these homes, and ensures that the individuals and families that live at Park South have a place to live that is both safe and desirable,” said NDHFA Executive Director Jolene Kline.

The project received additional support through the North Dakota Department of Commerce, $714,950 from the Governor’s Community Development Block Grant Discretionary Funds for the stormwater management work that benefitted the whole neighborhood; and an interest-rate buy down from Bank of North Dakota’s FlexPACE program. The total project cost exceeded $7.4 million.

“Minot was extremely fortunate to receive the NDR Funds, and we are pleased that this project really demonstrates how the private sector can work with the public sector to provide affordable housing for our community,” said Essential Living President Bruce Walker. “Working with the City of Minot, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, and our other project partners has been a very positive experience.”

Located at 234 14th Ave SE, Park South was constructed in 1948 and originally served as a convent. It was converted into apartments in the 1980s with the last major renovation taking place at that time. Essential Living updated all of the existing units’ kitchens and bathrooms, plumbing, electrical, hardware and flooring.

The building’s common areas were also renovated, asbestos was abated, the original coal burning boiler was replaced, and a new entrance, air conditioning and an elevator were added.

Many of Park South’s tenants lived at the property prior to the renovation. The developer phased construction so that those households would not be displaced during the renovation. Currently, 22 of the building’s 40 apartments are rented. Individuals who would like to learn more about Park South can contact the property manager, 1st Minot Management, at (701) 839-7505. Information is also available online, http://www.essentiallivingminot.com.

Essential Living plans to construct affordable patio homes on the five acres that adjoins Park South. If they are able to secure the financing needed, Walker anticipates starting that project next year.

The City of Minot is focused on providing essential services to North Central North Dakota. The City’s National Disaster Resilience Program is an initiative to help the community recover and grow more resilient for the future. The program is possible with the help of $74 million awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and over $1 million in community-leverage funds.

Essential Living is a non-profit entity focused on creating affordable and sustainable housing opportunities in Ward County. Our goal is to provide affordable housing options that can help improve the quality of life for individuals and families in the community.

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.

YWCA Grace Garden groundbreaking promises critical answer to women and families starting new lives.

 

More photographs from the event are available on NDHFA’s Facebook page.

WEST FARGO, ND – YWCA Cass Clay broke ground today on a new residence, Grace Garden, in West Fargo, ND, that, when it opens in 2019, will reflect a new ideal of how to end homelessness by providing ‘Housing First’.

“Stability is the key to success,” says YWCA CEO Erin Prochnow. “Grace Garden will be a place of safety and sure footing for 30 women and their children seeking a better life. At the residence, families will be able to improve their economic stability and health, breaking the cycles of abuse and poverty for the next generation by being assured of an affordable home and support that’s unique to each family’s goals.”

The new $4.3 million property follows the current mindset in America, one that YWCA Cass Clay has championed for decades.

The Housing First homeless prevention model seeks to get those who are homeless out of crisis and rapidly into safe and affordable housing. From this sure ground, women and children get continuous support and guidance from a YWCA advocate as they work on personal goals for jobs, health, education, parenting and more.

The Grace Garden idea first arose when Pastor Joel Baranko of Lutheran Church of the Cross reached out to the YWCA. Interested developers had offered to purchase the large grassy lot adjacent to the church’s property at 1402 16th St. E. in West Fargo, however the church declined offers that were not consistent with its mission and might have resulted in a less neighborhood-friendly project.

“I began to wonder how God might be calling us to put to good use the property with which we had been entrusted. How can we live and love like Jesus with this land?” recalls Baranko.

The congregation voted to lease the site to YWCA in May of 2018, providing an ideal situation for families served by YWCA because of the close proximity to schools, bus routes, employment and worship opportunities.

Gate City Bank demonstrated their commitment to providing a better way of life by pledging $1.5 million to fund project start-up costs and support services over the first 10 years.

“It’s particularly exciting to fund the staff or human side; the real game-changer to empowering women after they’re safely housed. They get practical life guidance, encouragement and someone to walk alongside them as they courageously work towards life goals they determine. The impact will be great for generations to come,” said Kim Meyer, Gate City Bank Executive Vice President of Retail Banking and Human Resources.

In November 2017, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) awarded development support to the residence through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, $672,500, and National Housing Trust Fund, $325,549, and the state’s Housing Incentive Fund, $500,000.

“Grace Garden is a partnership of caring concern from the nonprofit, business and community sectors,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “We are pleased to be able to provide the public sector support needed to complete this extraordinary project, ensuring women and children transitioning from domestic violence have a safe and affordable place to call home.”

The North Dakota Department of Commerce is supporting the land acquisition for Grace Garden through the Governor’s Community Development Block Grant Discretionary Funds.

“Our goal at Commerce is directly related to family stability and community revitalization,” Adele Sigl with the North Dakota Department of Commerce said. “Everyone deserves a place to call home and this new YWCA Supportive Housing project is a community solution to help eliminate homelessness by providing hope, dignity, and support in the form of permanent supportive housing.”

The residence will also receive rental assistance from the Housing Authority of Cass County. A $2.2 million, 15-year contract provides 30 Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure every apartment will be affordable to the families that will call them home.

Thanks to the financing secured, the YWCA will not need to conduct a capital campaign to build Grace Garden. The YWCA will fundraise and facilitate donation drives for furniture, equipment and supplies to help families and operate the building.

The YWCA first ventured into providing supportive housing in 1989 when donors gifted a Fargo four-plex to the organization. Today, it operates 32 supportive housing units. The addition of Grace Garden will allow the YWCA to far exceed expansion plans that were put in place by the organization’s local governing board in 2015, a five-year goal of 40 supportive apartment spaces by 2020.

In 2017, 314 women and children were eligible for the YWCA’s supportive housing units, but only 60 were able to gain homes through the organization. “Unfortunately, women escaping domestic violence typically do not score high enough on assessments to be rapidly housed,” said Prochnow.

Prospective participants for supportive housing in the Fargo metro area are screened through an assessment tool used universally by shelters in the region. Shelter providers meet weekly to review the risk scores of homeless individuals in the system. Openings in housing programs are outlined and applicant’s risk scores are used to match them with a housing program that fits.

Grace Garden’s residents will come primarily from the YWCA emergency shelter and other referring agencies in the community.

Construction on the two-story building begins this summer and is expected to finish in spring 2019. The property will include one- to four-bedroom apartments and community spaces for classes and gatherings. Main floor offices will be home base for YWCA advocates, nursing and other professional resources coming onsite.

About YWCA Cass Clay
YWCA emergency shelter is where victims of domestic violence come day and night, 365 days a year, to escape crisis lives and mend emotionally, physically and spiritually. They receive crucial basics like food and clothing, and resources for education and employment as they navigate toward independence. A caring YWCA team connects women and children to community resources that will further empower them. Besides operating the largest emergency shelter for women and children in North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota, YWCA Cass Clay operates safe and affordable, short- and long-term supportive housing for low-income women. YWCA offers a food pantry, racial justice advocacy, and a nationally accredited public childcare center, A Child’s World. For more information, visit www.ywcacassclay.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!