BISMARCK, ND – North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) presented Champion of Affordable Housing Legacy Awards to Jacob Reuter of Fargo, ND, and Dwight Barden of Bismarck, ND, during a Statewide Housing Forum. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding efforts at advocating for or providing affordable housing or related services.
“North Dakota Housing Finance Agency’s Champion Awards recognize and celebrate the work of the individuals and businesses who make exceptional contributions to affordable housing in North Dakota,” said NDHFA Executive Director Dave Flohr.
As a program administrator for the ND Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS), Reuter encouraged collaboration and advocated for programs and services that made it possible for the elderly and disabled consumers he supported to relocate back into their community in the least restrictive setting possible.
As Burleigh County Housing Authority’s executive director, Barden worked to remove barriers to independent living and improve tenants housing stability by combining accessible units with supportive services. He brought in project-based rental assistance for low-income households, worked to modernize the authority’s inventory, and was the force behind the development of Edwinton Place, Bismarck’s first Permanent Supportive Housing project.
NDHFA’s selection of Reuter and Barden for the Champion Awards was endorsed by parties who worked with each individual.
“Jake’s natural ability to bring stakeholders together provided the groundwork for several programs that address gaps in services, that developed the framework for permanent supportive housing models, and that resulted in best practices for our state,” said Cheryl Merck, the administrator of Money Follows the Person, a HHS program.
“Dwight brought together private, government and nonprofit entities to acquire the land and finance the building. He facilitated public hearings to listen to the concerns of people in the proposed neighborhood and provided clarifying information. Dwight showed compassion for the people in need as well as perseverance in maintaining necessary regulations and safety. His balance of all was amazing, and it is this integration of head and heart that makes him a Champion of Affordable Housing,” said Sister Kathleen Atkinson of Ministry on the Margins who worked with Barden on Edwinton Place’s development.
NDHFA is a self-supporting and mission-driven state agency dedicated to making housing affordable for all North Dakotans. The North Dakota Industrial Commission, consisting of Governor Doug Burgum as chairman, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Drew H. Wrigley, oversees the agency.