Heitkamp Holds Housing Summit - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Heitkamp Holds Housing Summit

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Whether it's apartments or houses, it seems like they can't be built fast enough to supply the growing demand around the state.

"As we grow this population the Housing Finance Agency tells us we're going to need about 30 percent more units in the very not to distant future and we've got to figure out a way that we're going to build capacity so that we can create opportunities for people to live and work in North Dakota," says Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

In the last legislative session, lawmakers more than doubled the housing incentive fund to $35.4 million. But it still isn't going to be enough.

"We had 36 million in requests for 35.4 million that was available. We turned down close to half of the applications," says Jolene Kline.

The next time they will be looking at applications is on September 30th, and Kline says she expects the remainder of the funds to be used up then.

"Which means basically we have no resources for the remainder of the biennium, into July 2015."

Which she says will stall the development of affordable housing. A concern for members on the panel, especially since reports say homelessness is on the rise across the state.

"The number one indicator as to whether you're going to have a homeless episode as an adult is whether or not you have had one as a child. Imagine trying to compete in school with your peers when you're doing your homework in the back of a van, you have no internet access. We're starting these children off you know, twenty miles below the starting line," says Michael Carbone.

He added that 30 percent of the unsheltered homeless living in the state are children.

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