Study says North Dakota housing not affordable, state needs another 13,000 affordable units to rent

(Story Credit & Source: KX News)– A new study released by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency shows what the current state of housing looks like here in North Dakota.

According to the study, North Dakotans aren’t making enough money to pay for monthly expenses, including a place to call home.

“A large segment of renters work in the accommodations and food services industries. And so those are the lowest wage earning occupations in our state. And if a household earns minimum wage they have to work 89 hours per week to pay a fair market rent of 841,” said Jennifer Henderson, the Director of Planning and Housing Development Division for NDHFA.

The findings discovered that 60 percent of North Dakotans own their home. And, it also revealed that renters have more financial difficulties than homeowners.

“In 2018, 39 percent spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses. And before the pandemic, 1 in 10 North Dakotans lived below the poverty level,” said Henderson.

In Burleigh County, there are between 13-14,000 affordable housing units occupied, but there is still a need for more.

“Part of the problem is that we’ve already got large waiting lists for our programs. So it’s not like they can come in and get housing right away. We have over 500 on our voucher,” said Dwight Barden, the Executive Director for Burleigh County Housing Authority.

A home is considered affordable when 30 percent or less of your income is being paid out in housing expenses.

But with the on-going pandemic and an eviction moratorium set to expire December 31, people may find themselves in deeper debt than before.

“Most of the people on our programs have limited income, so if they’re building up a rent bill odds are they’re going to get evicted because it would be very difficult for them to dig themselves out of a large bill like that,” said Barden.

In the last five years, the housing authority has added 40 units to the community and are looking to add more in the near future.

In this study, it was also found that there’s a need for 13,000 affordable units to rent around the state.

Special Note: Jennifer Henderson, NDHFA, and Dwight Barden, Burleigh County Housing Authority, are both members of the CommunityWorks North Dakota Board of Directors. CommunityWorks North Dakota is part of the Lewis & Clark Development Group.

Addressing the Affordability Challenge: LCD Group’s Home Loan Programs

Lewis & Clark Development Group is at the forefront in addressing North Dakota’s affordable housing crisis. As the state’s only NeighborWorks America chartered organization, LCD Group offers a range of programs and services to help current and aspiring home owners that include…

DREAM Fund: TheDREAM Fundprovides financing for first and second mortgages which traditional lending programs cannot provide. Terms and rates are flexible and adjusted to make the loan affordable.

Essential Public Employee Program: TheEssential Public Employee Program (EP2)a down payment and closing cost assistance program for individuals employed by a city, county, school district, medical or long-term care facility, the state of North Dakota, or others as determined by Lewis & Clark Development Group.

Loans are up to $10,000 with interest rates as low as two percent (2%) for up to ten years. Eligible applicants must meet minimum down payment requirements or avoid mortgage insurance for more affordable house payments. This program works with any bank or credit union in North Dakota.

For information about these home loan programs, and other services, contact LCD Group Housing Director Lisa Pogatshnik at (701) 667-7306 or at lisa@lcdgroup.org.

Meeting the Need: LCD Group’s Multi-Family Loans and Housing Development

LCD Group partners with real estate developers on low-income andaffordable single- or multi-family housingprojects. We provide financing through our DREAM II Fund, which provides financing for pre-development, acquisition, and construction of low-income and affordable single- or multi-family housing.

Additionally, through our role as the Regional Development Council (RDC) we are also able to provide Community Development Block Grants to local governments located in Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, and Sioux counties. These grants are generally used for projects that benefit at least 51 percent low- to moderate-income persons. Housing rehabilitation is among the primary uses for these funds.

Contact Lyle Hogue, LCD Group community development coordinator, at (701) 667-7623 or at lyle@lcdgroup.org for more information about housing development programs.