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Low-income criterion sees little change

Though qualifications for low-income housing in Stark County hasn't changed much over the past year, rent in the area has skyrocketed and more affordable housing may be available in Dickinson as early as August if construction goes as planned.

There are two programs for low-income housing and qualifications changed by about $50 in May, Eldon Krein, director of property management at North Dakota Housing Finance Agency said Friday.

For people to qualify for properties using the Housing and Urban Development program they cannot make more than $13,950 a year.

A person cannot make more than $24,850 if the property is under the North Dakota Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Metroplains Management is constructing six buildings called Prairie Hills Town Homes near 15th Street West and Fourth Avenue West in Dickinson, said Gary Stenson, owner of Prairie Hills Town Homes, adding he is not ready to release the cost of the project. This will replace some that was lost in a 2009 Dickinson tornado.

"There is definitely a need for low-income housing in the county," said Karla Sanner, an assistant at the Stark County Housing Authority in Dickinson.

Loretta Miller lives in the income-based housing in Dickinson. She agrees and said with the amount of baby boomers getting closer to retirement, there needs to be adequate housing.

"My home is really decent, especially the cost," Miller said. "I'm glad to hear there will be more affordable housing available because rent is too high -- it's really out of bounds, there is no way someone on Social Security can afford $2,000 a month."

Since an oil boom hit the area, rent has unexpectedly increased in many counties. It is not uncommon for rent to cost $2,000 a month for a two-bedroom apartment.

Miller said she did not have too much trouble finding a home in her price range, but added that may not be the case for others.

"We only manage one complex in Dickinson, it consists of 16 two-bedroom apartments and they are full," Sanner said.

She added the Housing Authority had similar statistics last year.

"There is always a waiting list for apartments," she said. As of Thursday there were 10 people on the list.

Krein said there are more than 400 affordable housing units in Stark County and as of Friday, there were 16


"There is an obvious need in Dickinson based on the number of vacancies," Krein said. "There are folks out there with limited incomes, and even though qualifications for low-income housing haven't changed much over the last year, people are still having trouble finding adequate housing because of the housing shortage and rent."

He added, if you look at the open-market properties, Dickinson rents are high and that circumstance precludes families from finding safe efficient housing.

Krein said affordable housing fills a need regardless

of the size or type of a


One of the functions of the NDHFA is to inspect properties and look over finances to make sure the properties listed as affordable housing are affordable and that they are safe and livable, he added.