The beginning of a new year and a new decade begins in precisely three weeks. In most respects, January 1st will be business as usual, just with a more significant calendar change. Yet new ventures are planned for 2020 that will broaden our spectrum of services.
NDHFA is in the process of taking on the administration of the North Dakota Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC). The U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development program promotes a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness. Currently, the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People manages the CoC. There are critical elements that need to be addressed before NDHFA administers the program, but we have determined that the CoC fits within our mission and we are ready to take on this new responsibility.
Our annual conference will become smaller, targeted housing forums in 2020 with Homeownership scheduled in February and Multifamily in April. By hosting shorter, more narrowly focused events at times and in locations that are more convenient for our business partners, our goal is to create opportunities for more meaningful conversations while offering audience-specific education.
Registration is open for the first event, the Homeownership Forum, which will feature Ruth Dillingham, a residential real estate sales and mortgage lending expert, in two locations, Bismarck and Fargo. The multifamily event agenda will be released in January. If you are interested, we are still accepting sponsors and exhibitors for the forums.
As we look to the new year, we must celebrate the success of 2019. NDHFA’s homeownership numbers were strong this year thanks to our lender and real estate partners. Their support drives our ability to fulfill our mission to ensure that every North Dakotan has a place to call home.
The 2019 Legislative allocation of $7.5 million for the Housing Incentive Fund and our planning division’s leveraging of 4% bonds allowed NDHFA to fund twice as many multifamily housing projects, as usual, this fall. Urban and rural communities statewide will be constructing and rehabilitating affordable homes for working families and our aging population, persons with disabilities and people experiencing homelessness.
A final development that took me by surprise this year was the financial award NDHFA received through a multi-state action lawsuit regarding the manipulation of the LIBOR rate by some banks, to their benefit. LIBOR was used as the index to adjust rates on our bond issues. The tenacity of our staff proved fruitful and we plan to use the settlement funds to help the largest number of North Dakotans possible.
Every year seems to pass by more quickly than the one before, so all of us at NDHFA want to take a moment to let all of you know that we sincerely wish you many blessings this holiday season and hope for another wonderful year full of partnership and progress in 2020.