What is affordable housing?
About 30 percent of a family’s income. For example, a registered nurse making $42,000 per year can afford to spend $1,050 on housing per month. (from www.ndhfa.org)
In the Bakken oil region of North Dakota, rents are rapidly rising. For residents on fixed incomes, or who work in the service industry, or as teachers, for example, the costs are too high.
During the 2012 Williston Basin Petroleum Conference, both ND Gov. Jack Dalrymple and ND Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring touted an opportunity for all taxpayers in North Dakota. If they contribute to the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund, they’ll get that money back as a tax credit.
The ND Housing Incentive Fund gives money to developers who agree to build or rehabilitate multifamily projects targeted to low-income and moderate-income households in developing rural communities. The housing must contain at least four units, and at least 30 percent of the units must be rented at low income rents over a 15-year period.
“It’s a great way to know exactly where your tax dollars are going because the taxpayer can tell us if they want their contribution to go to Williston or Watford City, for example,” says Jolene Kline, director of the planning and housing development division at the ND Housing Finance Agency.
The fund receives no state general fund dollars and relies solely on contributions from taxpayers. It was authorized by the Legislative Assembly in 2011 to close the gap in financing of affordable housing that would otherwise not be feasible.