From the Executive Director, January 2024

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man in dark blue suit and tie

Over the last decade, economic growth driven by the energy and agriculture industries has changed the landscape of North Dakota.  While the population density isn’t the same as its urban counterpart, rural communities face their own unique housing needs. Contributing factors include labor market needs, demographic trends, and the availability and affordability of existing housing.

We know that communities thrive when the workforce can afford to live and raise their families close to good-paying jobs, but affordable housing is complex, and it takes the work of many to be successful. 

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency is proud to stand beside a whole host of partners to help address the challenges that come with building housing.  We’re even more proud to see their achievements as they turn challenges into opportunities. 

  • The Red River Regional Council (RRRC) spearheaded the Rural Housing Development Task Force in early 2022 to identify existing programs and gaps and work on policy recommendations.  Most recently, RRRC is working to remedy the housing shortages in the northeastern part of North Dakota through future spec homes and a region-wide housing survey.
  • Vision West Housing Committee released a housing resource guide to spur community-driven ideas to incentivize development or help residents with the home-buying process.
  • Erin Oban and her team at USDA Rural Development work to strengthen rural communities through job creation, infrastructure projects, and housing programs that provide financial assistance to those buying, building, or improving homes in rural areas.   
  • Joel Manske, State Director of HUD, continues efforts in engaging housing providers, community and government organizations as well as educating the public on federal programs to address housing challenges and expanding access to homeownership resources.
  • The North Dakota Department of Commerce launched the Rural Workforce Housing grant that will support rural communities in the identification, acquisition and rehabilitation of blighted properties and completion of housing studies to determine workforce housing needs.

Housing will always be part of the bigger picture, whether it is for the workforce, families, or seniors.  Overcoming challenges takes collaboration, unified plans, and strategies. We look forward to our continued partnership in the new year. The success of North Dakota’s smaller communities means success for all. 

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