Tag Archives: Housing Incentive Fund

Bismarck Housing for Long-Term Homeless Opens

NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr congratulates Burleigh County Housing Authority on the successful completion of Edwinton Place.

BISMARCK, ND – Burleigh County Housing Authority (BCHA) marked the completion of Edwinton Place Apartments today. The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project will provide 40 individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness with a stable home and offer services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness.

After thanking his development partner, Beyond Shelter Inc. (BSI), and the community leaders and organizations that supported the project, BCHA Executive Director Dwight Barden said in reference to Edwinton’s ‘Housing First’ approach, “Now, the real work begins.”

Housing First is endorsed by the federal government as the way to end long-term homelessness, providing immediate, permanent housing without pre-requisites like treatment or sobriety and then offering voluntary services. At Edwinton, the Dacotah Foundation, West Central Human Service Center, Community Options, Heartview Foundation, Youthworks of North Dakota and Job Service will offer treatment for substance abuse, personal care and assistance finding employment. Medical care will be provided by Sanford Health and Northland Health Center.

Edwinton Place

Edwinton Place is a Permanent Supportive Housing project that will provide 40 individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness with a stable home and offer services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness. More photos of the property are available on NDHFA’s Facebook page, https://bit.ly/2pC7Wyq.

Edwinton is North Dakota’s third PSH project to offer individuals Housing First. BSI, a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, partnered with Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority to open Cooper House in 2010 and with Grand Forks Housing Authority to open LaGrave on First in 2018.

“Beyond Shelter focuses on developing housing for the lowest income households in the community, the people whose needs are often overlooked,” BSI Development Director Lisa Rotvold.

Most of Edwinton’s financing was provided by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).

“Battling chronic conditions without housing makes it difficult to stabilize, leaving people trapped in a spiral that is nearly impossible to escape,” said NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr. “When a community comes together to address the needs of its most vulnerable citizens, we all win.”

The state agency awarded $813,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project providing it with $7.2 million in equity. NDHFA also provided $1,026,147 from the National Housing Trust Fund, $460,000 from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and $500,000 from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund.

The City of Bismarck, in agreement with Burleigh County and the Bismarck Public School District, approved a 20-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes for the property valued at more than $2 million. North Dakota Department of Commerce committed $730,000 through NSP for land acquisition, $362,500 of which will go toward the land lease. Through Bank of North Dakota, the Federal Home Loan Bank awarded $750,000 from the Affordable Housing Program. The Otto Bremer Trust provided $62,000 to cover pre-development costs. Construction financing was provided by Gate City Bank. The total cost of development was $10.3 million.

Located at 1121 S 11th Street, Edwinton is a four-story building with a controlled entrance and 24/7 front desk staffing. On the first floor, offices, meeting rooms and an exam room allows for services to be provided at the site. A community room, TV room and computer room for tenant use is located on the same level. The upper floors are made up of 40 one-bedroom/bath apartments with full kitchens. Eight of the units are fully accessible for persons with a physical disability.

The gross rent of the apartments is $729 with a $40 utility allowance making tenant rent $689 per month. Burleigh County Housing Authority project-based Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure the affordability of the units for the property’s extremely low-income tenants. With the vouchers, the tenants will pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards rent.

BCHA began moving tenants into the property earlier this month. The housing authority is anticipating that Edwinton will be fully occupied by the end of the year. Because most of the tenants are expected to arrive with minimal personal items, the housing authority is trying to outfit the apartments with the necessities needed for daily living through an Amazon wish list. Dinnerware, towels, bedding and small appliances are still needed.

“The community has been very responsive,” said Barden. “We appreciate the assistance in helping to furnishing the units equitability.”

Developers Mark Completion of Dacotah Ridge Redevelopment

Dacotah Ridge exterior

Dacotah Ridge is made up of an eight-plex that completed redevelopment in March 2018 and a 16-plex that had to be demolished due to structural issues and reconstructed.

DICKINSON, ND – Affordable Housing Developers Inc. (AHDI) and its development partner, Mountain Plains Equity Group (MPEG), marked the completion of the Dacotah Ridge Apartments redevelopment today by hosting an Open House. AHDI purchased the property from The ARC of Dickinson in 2017. Local, state and federal dollars supported the acquisition and rehab of the rental property that is occupied primarily by elderly and disabled households.

“Many of Dacotah Ridge’s tenants have very limited incomes,” said Andrea Diede, AHDI executive director. “When we discovered that part of the rehab project was going to become a demolition project, we were very concerned about securing the resources needed and relocating the tenants for an extended period. Our priority was to make the buildings safe so that these individuals could continue to call Dacotah Ridge home. Fortunately, we were able to secure additional assistance from the state and we had great local support.”

Dacotah Ridge is made up of an eight-plex that completed redevelopment in March 2018 and a 16-plex that had to be demolished due to structural issues and reconstructed. Construction wrapped on the second building in September. The original project estimate was pegged at $4.16 million. The final cost was $6.18 million.

Dacotah Ridge's development partners.

Affordable Housing Developers Inc. and Mountain Plains Equity Group spearheaded the redevelopment of the Dacotah Ridge property.

“Our purpose is to provide a safe, quality place to live that is affordable. We were proud to team with Affordable Housing Developers and offer our sincere thanks to the organizations that helped make this project possible,” said Don Sterhan, MPEG president and CEO.

North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) was the project’s primary funding source, providing $411,761 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits that were syndicated by WNC Inc. bringing $ 3.5 million in equity to the property. The agency also provided $400,000 through the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund.

“By affordably housing our most vulnerable state residents, we strengthen and stabilize our communities,” said Jennifer Henderson, NDHFA planning and housing development division director. “We are pleased to be able to provide the support that will allow this valuable housing resource to continue serving Dickinson for years to come.”

The North Dakota Department of Commerce Division of Community Services awarded $1,216,258 in HOME Investment Funds to the project to support construction. Stark Development Corp. provided the local match, $185,874, required to secure a FlexPACE program loan, valued at $531,070, from Bank of North Dakota. Project financing was provided by Security First Bank of North Dakota.

Located at 560 and 580 8th Street SE, Dacotah Ridge’s eight-plex has one studio and seven one-bedroom units, two units are ADA accessible. The apartments in the 16-plex are all two-bedroom, six of these units are accessible.

Tenancy at Dacotah Ridge is restricted to income-qualified households with the property’s monthly rents ranging from $581 to $617. Housing Assistance Payment contracts further reduce rents through Section 8 tenant-based assistance under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher Program.

As part of the redevelopment, health and safety issues were mitigated, the buildings were brought up to current code, and elevators were installed. In addition, the apartments were outfitted with energy-efficient appliances, economical heating/cooling units, new bathroom fixtures and window coverings.

Individuals who would like to learn more about the apartments can contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 483-1474. Information is also available online at http://www.metroplains.com.

From the Interim Executive Director, September 2019

Dave

Dave Flohr, NDHFA Interim Executive Director

Over the past three decades, I have been involved in nearly every segment of NDHFA. As the agency has grown in both staff and programs and branched into new divisions, I have focused my attention on homeownership. Now, over the past two months as acting interim director, I have gotten a crash course on urban and rural multifamily housing, financing and the services offered to vulnerable populations.

Five projects North Dakota Housing Finance Agency supported had groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies in the last two months, and at least three more events are scheduled before the end of the year. As we celebrate each project and the affordable housing provided, we continuously hear that there is still isn’t enough to meet each community’s needs.

With the September application deadlines approaching for the 2019 funding rounds for Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), National Housing Trust Fund and the state’s Housing Incentive Fund, the competition is extensive and choosing is never easy. For every awardee, there are numerous projects that are just as deserving.

Right now, we have an opportunity to expand the limited resources to develop more affordable housing. There is a bill in Congress – the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2019, S. 1703/H.R. 3077 – which, if passed, would greatly benefit small states like North Dakota at a magnitude much more significant than larger states which have other resources at their disposal. If passed, the efficiencies and enhancements contained in the Housing Credit Improvement Act would enable North Dakota to double, and maybe triple, the number of projects produced each year.

And so, I ask everyone to please advocate for affordable housing in your communities and in our state. Voice your support for programs like LIHTC and HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership, and also champion local city and county incentives – without any of which affordable housing development would not be possible. Communicate with our lawmakers, whether they convene in Bismarck, N.D., or in Washington D.C., that having a home that is safe, decent and affordable is a priority in North Dakota. It makes our communities stronger and keeps us growing!

YWCA Hosts Grand Opening of Grace Garden

$7.1 million supportive residence readies for domestic violence survivors

WEST FARGO, ND – YWCA Cass Clay unveiled a new $7.1 million permanent supportive residence called Grace Garden today with the help of their collaborative partners, dignitaries and guests. The national CEO of YWCA USA travelled from Washington, DC for the event.

Grace Garden is located at 1480 E. 16th St. in West Fargo, ND. It has 30 apartments that will be fully furnished for the approximate 75 individuals and families who will move in by the year’s end. In addition to safe, secure housing, YWCA will offer case management and services at the site to support these individuals and families who’ve experienced violence and homelessness. Residents will have access to nursing care, an employment coach and other mentors to grow life skills. They’ll live close to schools, job opportunities and transportation routes. YWCA’s 29 years of experience in providing supportive housing has proven that these supports are key to success.

“The structure is complete. The rebuilding of lives begins. Here, individuals and their families will be empowered to reach a state of stability and live free of fear,” said Erin Prochnow, CEO, YWCA Cass Clay.

Grace Garden sits footsteps away from the office where a pastor’s servant heart set things in motion in 2016. Pastor Joel Baranko of Lutheran Church of the Cross approached Prochnow inquiring about unmet community needs and how the congregation could be helpful. She identified affordable housing as a crucial need and the conversation turned into action.

“I approached the conversation assuming more emergency shelter space would be the answer to how the YWCA might utilize additional property if made available. I quickly learned the value of permanent supportive housing. It was easy for the congregation to get behind the vision because of the YWCA’s history, leadership, and reputation for success in serving women and children,” said Pastor Baranko. “Together, we are changing people’s lives for the better not only today, but for generations to come.”

For many years, applications to YWCA Supportive Housing far outstripped the number of units available. Last year alone, 162 women and children applied for the program and only 22 were able to gain homes.

“In 2015, YWCA set an ambitious goal to double the number of homes through YWCA Housing within five years to address the lack of supportive housing,” said Prochnow, “With the addition of Grace Garden, we have exceeded our goal. Expanding to 70 supportive housing units is growth of about 270 percent in four years.”

The new housing is called “permanent” because it doesn’t impose a deadline for moving out. It allows residents time to gain stability only after resolving complete financial ruin by abusers or navigating single parenthood as the sole family income provider. For some, the timeline is lengthy and challenging, and having the permanent housing means vital stability so children can grow and learn in a safe and healthy environment while adults can pursue their life goals.

For the first time in the agency’s 113-year service to the region, its national association leader, Alejandra Y. Castillo, CEO of YWCA USA, was on hand to help celebrate the local organization’s milestone achievement.

“YWCA is one of the first and largest networks in the nation and world, serving more than

2 million women, girls and their families every year at over 200 local associations. As the largest network of domestic violence service providers in the country, we have a long history of providing services to survivors of violence from all walks of life.” said Castillo, “I am honored to be in North Dakota to celebrate our continued social impact and growth in our collective power with the dedication of Grace Garden.”

“Facilities like Grace Garden offer stability and safety, giving women facing poverty and homelessness an opportunity to build a secure future for themselves and their children,” said Senator John Hoeven. “Moreover, this residence, which provides access to both permanent housing and supportive services, is a testament to what can be accomplished when partnering federal and state agencies, and then leveraging that public investment to secure support from the private sector. We appreciate the hard work of the YWCA staff and everyone involved in making this project a reality, and we will continue working to advance similar efforts to help ensure access to affordable housing and a higher quality of life throughout our state.”

Multiple community partners joined in the planning, funding, and building of the residence. Gate City Bank pledged the largest single investment in YWCA Cass Clay history, $1.5 million to provide startup costs and the first 10 years of supportive staff services at Grace Garden.

“When we announced our commitment to the Grace Garden project in 2017, we were excited to build upon our long-standing partnership with the YWCA. Two years later, it’s humbling to see the project come to life. We are proud to see our gift provide the resources needed to help women and their children on their journey to a better life,” said Steve Swiontek, Executive Chair of Gate City Bank. “At Gate City Bank, we believe that it is our responsibility to make a difference in our community, For a Better Way of Life.® We accomplish this by investing in our customers, team members and communities. The Grace Garden Housing Project supports this mission through a proven program of education and employment coaching, health services and the support of YWCA advocates.”

Grace Garden was funded in a large part through programs administered by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The state agency awarded development assistance to the residence through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit, $672,500 in credit authority that brought $6 million in equity to the project, National Housing Trust Fund, $325,549, and the state’s Housing Incentive Fund, $500,000.

“Addressing North Dakota’s need for community-based permanent supportive housing is a development priority for North Dakota Housing Finance Agency,” said Jennifer Henderson, NDHFA’s Planning and Housing Development Division Director. “Projects like Grace Garden provide the women who are working to rebuild their lives with a long-term home that is both safe and affordable.”

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

“Commerce is proud to partner with the YWCA Cass Clay on this permanent supportive housing project, aiming to address long-term homelessness, coupled with supportive services and demonstrated local support. Projects like Grace Garden are vital to our community and the individuals and families to which they serve” said Shantel Dewald, Division of Community Services Program Manager, North Dakota Department of Commerce.

Thanks to the financial support the project received, YWCA did not need to conduct a capital campaign to build Grace Garden. YWCA fundraised and organized a “Plant a Seed” campaign for household goods from toasters to towels to start families toward healthy futures.

The residence will receive rental assistance from the Housing Authority of Cass County through a $2.2 million, 15-year contract that provides 30 Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure every apartment will be affordable to the families who will call them home. Individuals and families will be asked to pay up to 30 percent of their income towards rent.

Grace Garden’s residents will come primarily from the YWCA emergency shelter and other referring agencies in the community. There are already 23 applications in process.

Construction on the two-story building began last summer and was complete in August 2019. The property will include one-to-four-bedroom apartments, a fitness room, community spaces for classes and gatherings, and a playground. Main floor offices will be home base for YWCA advocates, nursing and other professional resources coming onsite.

“Grace Garden is symbolic of an innovative and progressive movement to address homelessness. It is an investment in our community that will keep domestic violence survivors from resorting to returning to their abusers and solving a multitude of other challenges that accrue during crisis,” said Prochnow.

Government and organizations like YWCA invest in rent subsidies and low-cost housing so people have a place to gain sure footing, rather than making it the reward at the end of a set of steps like finding a job and saving for a deposit. Having access to supportive housing means fewer acute resources and costly emergency services are needed.

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.

Assistance Available for Development of Affordable Housing

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is currently accepting applications for affordable housing development assistance through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) programs, and the state’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF).

“The development support North Dakota Housing Finance Agency administers aids communities in addressing the housing needs of their most vulnerable populations,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA interim executive director.

LIHTC encourages private sector investment in affordable housing through tax incentives. Property owners receive the housing credits for up to 10 years based on capital investment and level of commitment to low-income tenancy. NDHFA anticipates $3.2 million in credit authority will be available in 2020, pending congressional approval, which would generate more than $28 million in project equity.

The HTF’s purpose is to increase and preserve the supply of housing for extremely low-income households, including homeless individuals and families. Through the program, $3 million is available.

HIF supports the development of housing for low- to moderate-wage workers, the state’s aging population, individuals with disabilities and persons at-risk of homelessness. During the most recent legislative session, NDHFA received a $7.5 million appropriation from the general fund for the program.

The application process for each of NDHFA’s program is competitive with the top-scoring projects receiving conditional commitments from the agency. The applicants must provide evidence that there is a need for the type of housing proposed, that the community supports the development and that the construction costs are reasonable.

Applications for the assistance are due by 5 p.m., CT, on Sept. 30, 2019. Funding awards are accepted to be announced in early November.

More information on the programs and other financial and technical assistance provided by NDHFA is available online at http://www.ndhfa.org or by contacting the agency’s planning and housing development division at (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 Gov. Doug Burgum, as the chairman, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, oversees the agency.

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.