Tag Archives: Housing Trust Fund

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.

Public Hearings Scheduled for Development Program Plans

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) will hold Public Hearings for the 2020 Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program Qualified Allocation Plan and the 2019 National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) Allocation Plan on March 28, 2019.

The LIHTC hearing will begin at 10 a.m. and the HTF hearing at 11 a.m., both CT. The hearings will be held in the boardroom at NDHFA’s office, 2624 Vermont Ave., Bismarck, ND.

The LIHTC program provides incentives for the production and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing. The HTF program supports the development and preservation of affordable rental housing for extremely low-income households, including homeless individuals and families. The proposed plans are available online at www.ndhfa.org.

The general public may submit either written or oral comments at the hearings. Persons who are unable to attend the hearings may submit written comments to hfainfo@nd.gov or NDHFA, PO Box 1535, Bismarck, ND 58502-1535, by 5:00 p.m. on March 27, 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 Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency.

Redevelopment of Jr. High Brings Affordable Housing to Heart of Mandan

Kline

“NDHFA is pleased to be able to provide the support needed to transform the property, restoring a community landmark and bringing affordable housing to the heart of Mandan,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

MANDAN, ND – A community landmark, once commonly known as Mandan’s Jr. High School, was celebrated today as Historic Apartments on 4th, an affordable home for individuals and families.

“With the first tenants moving in this week, the Grand Opening celebration offered community members the opportunity to roam the halls of the school one last time,” said Erin Anderson, The Commonwealth Companies vice president of development.

Mandan Public School District sold the property in 2012 to Yegen Development who, after failing in its attempt to redevelop the school, donated it to Spirit of Life Catholic Church. In 2016, the church transferred ownership to Commonwealth with the understanding that it would become affordable rental housing.

The renovation Commonwealth spearheaded preserved the property’s historic features including terrazzo flooring, woodwork and school lockers, while providing the new tenants with 39 one- to three- bedroom apartments with modern amenities including energy-efficient appliances, central air conditioning and secured entrances.

“NDHFA is pleased to be able to provide the support needed to transform the property, restoring a community landmark and bringing affordable housing to the heart of Mandan,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “The development resources the agency provided creates homes and being able to afford a ‘home’ is crucial to every North Dakotans’ wellbeing.”

NDHFA awarded $698,822 in tax credit authority to the project through the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program. The credits were syndicated by Redstone providing $6.2 million in project equity. NDHFA also awarded the project more than $1 million from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Historic Apartments on 4th received $1.3 million in Historic Tax Credits from the US Department of the Interior, and the City of Mandan approved a Payment in Lieu of Taxes which reduced the development’s property tax burden. Construction financing was provided by Sterling Bank. The total cost of the redevelopment was more than $8.8 million.
Located at 406 4th Street NW in Mandan, ND, the original building on the site was completed in 1917, it and three adjoining buildings, constructed in 1924, 1954 and 1977, were redeveloped to create the apartments, a community room, fitness center, and a small daycare center with a private playground.

All of the housing units at Historic Apartments on 4th are reserved for income-qualified households and rent for $499 to $775 depending on unit size and household income. In addition to running the on-site daycare, the Mother Teresa Outreach, an affiliate of Spirit of Life Church, will offer supportive services to tenants who have experienced housing instability.
Individuals interested in learning more about the apartments should contact Kaycee Boehm, the property’s on-site manager, (701) 751-1542 or customerservice@metroplains.com.

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.

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 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.