N.D. lawmakers reinstate Housing Incentive Fund

BISMARCK, N.D. - North Dakota lawmakers reinstated a program for The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency known as the Housing Incentive Fund. Supporters of the fund say it's not as much money as what would have originally.

The executive director of the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, Jolene Kline, says she is happy the program is getting funding again. She says when the bills for the Housing Incentive Fund first were brought into the legislative session, they were expecting about 40 million dollars, then 20 million, but ultimately it was cut to seven and a half million.

Gloria Frohlich loves history. She dedicated her apartment to remember her childhood, and share the past of the old Mandan High School which was turned into affordable housing.

But Frohlich says she's furious about the state's 50 million dollars going towards the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Medora.

"Teddy Roosevelt's been dead for a very very very long time. He doesn't need help. I do! And so do all of these people who live in homes like this," she said.

Frohlich says she doesn't understand how the state came up with so much money for a library that won't even have any visitors during the winter, but left people in the affordable housing community, who didn't even get funding back in 2017, with pocket change.

"When that oil boom was in when I first came back here, they had money out the yin yang and they could have built that library back then!"

Jolene Kline, of North Dakota Housing Finance Agency says it's frustrating and this will leave less money for four targeted groups who need affordable housing.

"One was the homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, the second was the senior and elderly population, the third was the workforce, primarily the lower paid workers in the state, and the fourth was rehab of existing housing stock, primarily in the rural communities," said Kline.

She says with $40 million the agency would have helped 400-500 apartment units.

"Realistically with $7.5 million I'm thinking we're going to be somewhere in that 120-170 unit range, so significantly less," said Kline.

Frohlich says those who are in affordable housing in North Dakota need help because they have a reason they can't work, or they don't make as much money as they need, to live.

There are still available affordable housing units at the Historic on 4th in Mandan. If interested call Kaycee at 701-751-1542.