WILLISTON, N.D. - Housing remains a critical need in Western North Dakota and the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency hosted a forum in Williston to discuss what issues communities will face in the years to come.
The 2016 Statewide Housing Needs Assessment report is hitting the road, to see if the numbers hold up.
“We hear that local perspective and that is the beauty of coming out here,” said Jolene Kline, executive director of North Dakota Housing Finance Agency.
The assessment expects Northwest North Dakota to continue to grow in the coming years.
“Doing projections in region one is very challenging," said Dr. Nancy Hodur, director of NDSU's Center for Social Research
NDSU's Center of Social Research says the population in Divide, McKenzie and Williams counties will grow to nearly 76,000 people by 2029, with the housing need increasing by more than 18,000.
“Making projects during a period of rapid change can be challenging, but I feel really good about the report that we put out. I think it will provide an excellent guideline for community leaders,” said Hodur.
The report say elderly households and those in their prime childbearing years are projected to drive the housing needs.
“Focus on the poorest people in the community. Make sure they have options, so they can stay in the community,” said Kline.
The slowdown in the Bakken is providing city leaders a glimpse of what the future can hold.
The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and Hodur presented their report in Dickinson this afternoon. They will travel to six more cities across the state in the next three days to present their findings for those regions.