North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s (NDHFA) core belief is that everyone should have a safe, accessible and affordable place to call home. Through sound management and the help of a talented bond team, the agency is 100 percent self-sustaining, meaning that NDHFA receives no general fund dollars from the state to provide its affordable home loans. Additionally, NDHFA reinvests any profits and uses the return to fund grant programs that help other state resident stay in their homes. Over the past 25 years, the agency has distributed more than $6.8 million through its grant programs to assist thousands of households across North Dakota.
NDHFA began this effort when it established the Helping Housing Across North Dakota (Helping HAND) program in 1996 to support rehab projects, provide rental assistance, housing development, operating expenses and a multitude of other housing expenditures. These funds were distributed to nonprofits, public and tribal housing authorities, and Community Action Agencies. The focus of Helping HAND changed to rehab and development in 1999 and the funding was limited to invitation-only applicants. In 2019, Helping HAND evolved again, this time to address single-family rehabilitation alone.
Since the program’s inception, 7,706 North Dakotans have received assistance. These grant recipients made exterior and interior repairs to their homes, upgraded electrical wiring and replaced plumbing, and made their homes more accessible. Contingent on agency earnings, NDHFA’s annual Helping HAND allocation is currently $200,000, with more than $6.2 million in assistance provided to-date.
A second NDHFA-funded grant, the Rehab Accessibility Program (RAP), was launched in 2005 to assist income-qualified renters or homeowners in removing accessibility barriers, allowing them to remain in their homes. A maximum of $4,000 may be awarded for a project and the households must provide a 25 percent match towards the total project costs. Since its inception, 415 housheolds have shared in $651,000 in assistance. The projects primarily enhance the accessibility of bathrooms and laundry areas, and support the construction of exterior and interior ramps.
There are a considerable number of households in North Dakota who would not receive any type of rehabilitation assistance if NDHFA did not fund Helping HAND and RAP. Helping these homeowners and renters remain in their homes allows them to remain independent, giving them the freedom to choose where they live.
I want to personally thank all of our lending and real estate partners for promoting NDHFA’s homeownership programs, as the loans purchased by the agency support much more than affordable mortgages. I also want to thank all of the community entities that we partner with to assist in rehabilitating both single- and multi-family housing. Together, we are a dynamic force.
Next time, I will tell you about the NDHFA-funded Rural Housing Rehabilitation Loan and Community Land Trust Pilot programs.