ND affordable housing fund reaches $6.3MGRAND FORKS — A new North Dakota tax credit program has collected $6.3 million to help address the growing shortage of affordable rental housing in the Oil Patch and across the state.
By: Ryan Johnson , The Dickinson Press
GRAND FORKS — A new North Dakota tax credit program has collected $6.3 million to help address the growing shortage of affordable rental housing in the Oil Patch and across the state.
As of the end of January, more than 200 individuals and 19 businesses had contributed to the Housing Incentive Fund, which developers with qualifying projects can access.
The state’s Housing Finance Agency is authorized by the Legislature to issue as much as $15 million in dollar-for-dollar state-tax reductions to contributors in 2011 and 2012.
The first round of funding was awarded last fall, with more than $450,000 committed to two projects in Crosby and Minot, said executive director Mike Anderson.
Another nine applications requesting $3.9 million are now under consideration, including Valley Memorial Homes’ low-income senior-living project in Grand Forks and eight new housing projects in the Oil Patch.
Anderson said agency officials are “pretty excited” that the $4.5 million in requested grants so far could help boost affordable rental housing across the state.
“We’re talking 11 projects with total project costs of just under $46 million that will provide an additional 306 units aggregately in those project areas,” he said.
The majority of contributions to the Housing Incentive Fund happened late last year as residents and businesses rushed to qualify for a state tax deduction in 2011, he said.
The money came from individuals and businesses, ranging from $100 to the largest contribution of $2.5 million from Marathon Oil Company. U.S. Bank also contributed $1.2 million to the fund, requesting that $500,000 go toward the Grand Forks project.
But Anderson said more contributions are needed soon to award grants to more housing projects that can break ground this spring. And some companies and corporations with different fiscal years or quarterly tax payments could still benefit from the tax break, he said.
“We’re still promoting the fact that it’s not too late to make a deposit, depending on how your tax year is structured,” he said. “We’re very, very interested in getting as much of that $15 million authorized as we can going into spring.”
Under terms set by the Legislature last fall, 90 percent of the funding is reserved for counties impacted by oil and gas development, and communities affected by flooding and other disasters, including Minot.
In exchange for taking the funding, developers commit to keeping the rent for those units affordable for low- and moderate-income families.
Applications for the next round of grants are due March 31.
To learn more about the Housing Incentive Fund or to make a contribution, visit www.NDHousingIncentiveFund.org or call 701-328-8080.
Johnson is a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.