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Housing Incentive Fund hits $20M contribution mark

BISMARCK – A state fund designed to encourage the building of affordable housing for essential workers and low-income North Dakotans has been fully capitalized a year before the deadline, as banks, businesses and individuals raced to take advantage of the program’s income tax credits before the New Year.

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The Legislature established the Housing Incentive Fund in 2011. It provides up to $3 million or 30 percent of the cost of new apartment and rental units to reduce developers’ debt so they can set cheaper rental rates.

Individuals and businesses who support the projects receive a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit for contributing to the fund.

Lawmakers reauthorized the incentive fund last spring, approving $20 million in tax credits and an extra $15.4 million from the state’s general fund, for a total of $35.4 million.

During a press conference Wednesday, Gov. Jack Dalrymple recognized Denver-based energy firm QEP Resources Inc. for its $1 million contribution “that put us over the top” of the $20 million goal.

The contribution will support development of housing projects in Arnegard and at Williston State College.

QEP Resources was one of five companies that contributed at least $1 million to the fund. Gate City Bank and U.S. Bank each gave $3 million, and Bell State Bank & Trust and Wells Fargo Bank contributed $1 million apiece.

Overall, the fund received 28 contributions from financial institutions totaling $11.3 million, 378 individual contributions totaling $5.1 million and 42 contributions from businesses totaling $3.6 million.

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has already committed the entire $35.4 million – plus $1.5 million turned back from an earlier project – to support 34 projects that will create 934 housing units.

Mike Nowatzki

Mike Nowatzki reports for Forum News Service. He can be reached at (701) 255-5607.