By Lynn Boehm, North Dakota Housing Finance Agency
The relationship between like-minded North Dakota organizations is contributing to progress with, and the availability of, affordable housing in the state. North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) and Lewis & Clark Development Group (LCD Group) share a common goal – to expand affordable housing options in North Dakota, leaving communities stronger and households more secure.
“Homebuyers may face some hurdles when it comes to purchasing their first home,” says Brandon Dettlaff, NDHFA’s homeownership division director. “We have programs that can give buyers a boost, helping them achieve and maintain homeownership.”
Through assistance to homebuyers, both NDHFA and LCD Group offer programs to make the dream of homeownership more attainable. The majority of NDHFA’s help to individual homebuyers comes in the form of mortgage services like FirstHome™, HomeAccess, and North Dakota Roots as well as the down payment and closing cost assistance programs DCA and Start.
‘Designed to get borrowers into their homes’
According to LCD Group Housing Director Lisa Pogatshnik, LCD Group created their home loan programs with simplicity in mind. “We have developed processes to be as simple and straight-forward as possible. The processes for our home loan programs are designed to get borrowers into their homes as soon as possible,” says Pogatshnik. “We’ve heard from lenders and borrowers alike how much they appreciate this. It’s a win-win.”
In addition to assisting homebuyers, LCD Group utilizes NDHFA’s financing for rehabilitation and development of multifamily housing, in both urban and rural areas, through several state and federal grant programs. LCD Group has the willingness and ability to guide communities through the complexity of multifamily housing requirements to help meet citizen needs.
“LCD Group is able to fill some of the gaps in the housing and development market that aren’t filled by our agency,” says Jennifer Henderson, NDHFA’s planning and housing development director. “This helps ensure the availability of affordable housing for our state’s residents.”
After identifying one such gap, LCD Group recently began offering property management services with a readiness to serve rural affordable properties. Within its first three years, LCD Group’s property management team grew to manage nearly 600 multifamily properties throughout North Dakota.
Collaboration with NDHFA enhanced by LCD Group’s resources and reach
“Affordable housing and community development are central to our mission at Lewis and Clark Development Group,” says LCD Group Executive Director Brent Ekstrom. “Our programs reflect the fact that, as the only chartered NeighborWorks America organization, we have the resources and reach to have an impact throughout North Dakota. Our collaboration with NDHFA deepens that impact.”
Working together with other organizations, LCD Group and NDHFA have had a positive effect, helping to create a variety of housing options for North Dakotans.
- Housing with supportive services for the expanding number of aging households.
- Housing for individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities.
- Projects in both rural and urban areas. Despite the need for affordable housing that exists in rural areas, the challenges (cost of construction due to shortage of trades professionals, wage disparities decreasing rental rates and profitability, and cost exceeding appraised value), make it difficult for developers.
- Development or redevelopment of vacant or under-utilized land where infrastructure has already been in place (infill lot). This is an efficient use of land, often revitalizing neighborhoods and reducing urban sprawl.
- Housing for Essential Service Workers (education, law enforcement, medical personnel, and state and local government employees).
- Rehabilitation of existing housing which reduces costs and provides tenants with ready access to established services.
About NDHFA & LCD Group
A self-supporting and mission-driven agency, NDHFA is dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. More information on the agency and the affordable housing programs it administers is available online at www.ndhfa.org.
LCD Group is a collaboration of three separate non-profit organizations: Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (LCRDC), the Lewis & Clark Certified Development Company (LCCDC), and CommunityWorks North Dakota (CWND). They provide programs and loans to support businesses, local governments, and individuals in expanding affordable housing opportunities and advancing economic and community development across North Dakota. More information can be found online at lcdgroup.org.