Tag Archives: Rental

The Edge Offers Affordable Downtown Housing for Families

(From L to R): ND House Rep. Austen Schauer, Commissioner Lise Kruse (representing Gov. Doug Burgum), Alaura Williams (representing Sen. John Hoeven), Reid Kemp (representing Sen. Kevin Cramer), Erin Anderson (Commonwealth Development Corp.) and Mayor Tim Mahoney (City of Fargo).

FARGO, ND – The Commonwealth Companies will mark the completion of The Edge Artist Flats, commonly known as “The Edge,” an apartment complex that offers a new affordable housing option in downtown Fargo, at 11:00 a.m. on October 10, 2019. The grand opening includes a short program followed by a ribbon cutting and tours of the property.

“Commonwealth works closely with community leaders and state government agencies to deliver housing that exceeds expectation, adding value to a community and enhancing the lives of the residents served,” said Erin Anderson, a regional vice president of development for the company.

While you don’t have to be an artist to live at The Edge, the name refers to the property’s theme and design element, the tenants will be offered a creative outlet with plans by the developer to use the community room for art classes for children and adults alike. The property’s common areas serve as gallery space, and there is an art workspace that also functions as a multi-purpose room.

The Edge offers a new affordable housing option in downtown Fargo.

The property was developed with support from North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA). The state agency awarded $740,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project that were syndicated by Redstone Equity Partners providing $6.55 million in equity. NDHFA also provided $1,369,263 through the National Housing Trust Fund.

“We know that communities thrive when the workforce can afford to live and raise their families close to good-paying jobs,” said Dave Flohr, NDHFA’s interim executive director. “That’s why it is important to recognize and celebrate developments like The Edge that provide desirable and obtainable homes.”

The project received strong support from the City of Fargo as well. Community leaders, who have expressed increasing concerns about the affordability of downtown housing, approved the rezoning of the land on which The Edge is located and provided a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) valued at $742,689. The Fargo Moorhead Economic Development provided the required local match, $225,000, for an interest-rate buydown through Bank of North Dakota’s FlexPACE program, valued at $531,070.

The Edge’s permanent financing was provided by Security First Bank of North Dakota. The total cost of developing the 42-unit complex was $8.9 million.

The apartments rent for $456 to $975, depending on household income and size. Nine units are set aside for special needs households, two for disabled individuals and seven for households who have experienced housing instability. The latter will rent at the rate the tenants are able to pay and these tenants will be offered services focused on helping them attain self-sufficiency.

Located at 1321 5th Ave. North, the property amenities include contemporary finishes, underground parking, the community room and multi-purpose room, a fitness room, an elevator, on-site management office and a playground. The apartments have central heat and air, dishwashers, and in-unit washer and dryers. The property’s downtown location offers easy access to entertainment, shopping and restaurants.

Individuals who would like to learn more about the apartments should contact MetroPlains Management at (701) 551-3107. Information is also available online at www.metroplains.com.

Opening Doors for Households With Rental Barrier

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) is helping households with poor credit, a history of evictions or a criminal record to secure housing. The state agency launched a landlord risk mitigation fund in September to encourage property owners to lease apartments to individuals and families who may not meet their standard rental criteria.

The Opening Doors program helps Medicaid-eligible households secure housing by providing landlords with coverage beyond the security deposit if a participant causes excessive damage to a rental unit or a loss of revenue.

“Offering property owners a financial guarantee mitigates a portion of the risk in renting to these hard-to-house populations,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director.

One of the key provisions of the program is care coordination provided by a social service agency.

“Households must apply through a care coordinator who agrees to provide services for the duration of the program coverage,” said Kline. “This includes helping to find and secure housing, monitoring their tenancy, and mediating any disputes with the landlord.”
Opening Doors program participants are covered for up to 18 months. During that time, the landlord may receive compensation for damage or lost rent claim coverage for up to $2,000.

“After the program participants’ coverage ends, they may continue to rent from the same landlord or move on to another housing unit,” said Kline. “By establishing a positive rental history, we make them better candidates for their next housing unit.”

The Opening Doors program is a joint effort between NDHFA and the Medical Services Division of the North Dakota Department of Human Services. NDHFA is the administrator. NDDHS approved funding the program with the state’s rebalancing funds. The program will cover up to 67 households. NDHFA will consider alternative funding sources as needed to support additional households.

“As part of a broader focus to connect housing and supportive services, the Opening Doors Program will be an efficient and effective tool to help Medicaid-eligible people with housing barriers be successful tenants and community members,” said Kline. “Establishing these individuals in a stable setting with planned care coordination will produce cost savings for individuals, the community and state.”

A Statewide and Regional Supportive Housing Collaborative identified a landlord risk mitigation fund as a solution to reduce housing barriers for individuals exiting institutional settings or to prevent institutionalization.

Opening Doors was modeled after a landlord risk mitigation program established by the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Person in 2014 that encourages property owners to rent to people who are experiencing homelessness.

NDHFA 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.

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.

Housing Issues in North Dakota Strike the Need for a Housing Forum

Bismarck, ND–The lack of affordable and accessible housing in North Dakota has struck the need for The Dakota Center for Independent Living to hold a Housing Forum on September 10, 2014, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. at the Bismarck Ramada Hotel & Conference Center.  The event will provide an opportunity for the public to come together to discuss housing issues affecting the citizens of North Dakota.

Issues to be discussed include: accessibility, affordability, Section 8 vouchers and waiting lists, and decent/livable low-income housing. Citizens are encouraged to share their stories of housing struggles.

A panel will also be present to discuss what they are doing to ease the housing crisis. Panelists include: Kristen Hamm, regional director for U.S. Senator John Hoeven;  Renae Aarfor, SouthEast area director for U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp; Daryl Lies, staff representative for U.S. Congressman Kevin Cramer;  North Dakota State Senate Majority Leader Rich Wardner, and Dickinson Mayor Dennis Johnson.

If you’d like to attend, please RSVP by contacting Royce Schultze at (701) 222-3636 or royces@dakotacil.org.

The Dakota Center for Independent Living is a nonprofit organization that believes in self-determination for people with disabilities and creates the environment in which it is achieved.

Housing Forum Invite

State Housing Agency Secures Counseling Grant

BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has secured a $135,028 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grant that will support housing counseling services statewide.

 The funds will be split between four affiliate organizations:

  • Community Action Program Region VII of Bismarck, $23,323
  • Community Action Partnership of Dickinson, $24,323
  • Community Action Opportunities of Minot, $45,647
  • South Eastern North Dakota Community Action Agency of Fargo, $34,985

“These grant recipients offer financial literacy training, provide assistance to renters and homeless persons, and assist households of modest means in becoming and remaining homeowners,” said Jolene Kline, NDHFA executive director. “The support provided helps individuals and families in making informed housing decisions.”

HUD’s housing counseling grants are awarded annually through a competitive process. The organizations that apply must be preapproved by the federal agency and are subject to biennial performance reviews to maintain the approved status.

National and regional organizations including state housing finance agencies like NDHFA are typically responsible for the distribution of the grant funding to the community-based organizations that provide guidance to low- and moderate-income households seeking to improve their housing situation. The larger entities also help improve the quality of the counseling services and enhance coordination among the providers.

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 Jack Dalrymple as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, oversees the agency. More information about NDHFA is available online at www.ndhfa.org or by calling 800-292-8621.

Fair Housing Center Opened

Opened in June 2012, the High Plains Fair Housing Center is a non-profit organization based in Grand Forks that ensures equal access to fair housing in North Dakota and surrounding areas. Through outreach, enforcement and education, the Center aims to raise public awareness of the federal and state fair housing laws.

High Plains Fair Housing Center encourages the following steps to prevent discrimination.
Providers and lenders can take the following steps to prevent discrimination:
* Apply standards equally to all applicants for housing or financing.
* Provide potential tenants/buyers the opportunity to consider a broad range of housing choices in their price range without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, the presence of children in the household, or other prohibited classifications.
* Provide equal professional services to all in the financing, appraising, or insuring of housing.
* Do not limit potential tenants/buyers to certain neighborhoods, buildings, or floors.
* Provide reasonable accommodations in rules, practices, and procedures for persons with disabilities.
* Take steps to ensure housing is free from harassment or intimidation.
* Develop, distribute, and post a written anti-discrimination policy.
* Discipline agents and employees who engage in discriminatory behavior.
* Provide regular fair housing training for all agents and employees.
* Take immediate corrective action if discrimination has occurred.

“As our state’s population continues to grow, we are seeing many new housing providers and renters,” said Michelle Rydz, High Plains Fair Housing Center executive director. “It is important for us to get our information out there. If people know the rules, they won’t break them.”

The Center presents community educational seminars to renters, landlords, and property managers, holds workshops, distributes publications on fair housing, and collaborates with other organizations to provide training. When necessary the center will do testing to determine if there is a pattern of discrimination.

In addition to providing education, the Center works as an advocate, assisting people who believe they have experienced discrimination (including race, color, national origin, religion, gender, familial status, physical or mental disability, age, marital status and receipt of public assistance) while attempting to rent or purchase housing.

If appropriate, the Center will provide assistance in filing a discrimination complaint with the North Dakota Department of Labor, the state agency that is responsible for receiving and investigating complaints under both federal and state law.

“Partnering with the Department of Labor allows us to advocate, while they enforce. Together we help resolve issues and assist victims,” said Rydz.

For more information on the High Plains Fair Housing Center, visit highplainsfhc.org  or www.facebook.com/HighPlainsFairHousingCenter.