News Column

Heitkamp Announces More Than $7 Million in Federal Funds for Affordable Housing and to Prevent Homelessness in ND

June 18, 2014



WASHINGTON, June 18 -- The office of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., issued the following news release:

U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, today announced more than $7 million in federal funds to help create and maintain affordable housing and support efforts to prevent homelessness.

"Finding decent, affordable housing in North Dakota is becoming increasingly difficult throughout the state, especially on Indian reservations," said Heitkamp. "These federal funds will help families who are finding it difficult to make ends meet by creating more affordable housing options or offering support for their mortgages or rent, so they can keep a roof over their heads. I'll continue to look for ways to make sure individuals and families across North Dakota, including folks in Indian Country get the support they need."

The federal funds will be given to the State of North Dakota which will then give them out to communities. The funds were made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from the following programs:

* Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - $3.7 million. These funds will be used to develop viable communities by providing decent affordable housing and services to primarily moderate- and low-income households and expanding economic opportunities.

* HOME Investment Partnership Program - $3 million. These funds will be used to build, buy and/or rehabilitate affordable housing for low-income households through grants, rental assistance, loans and loan guarantees.

* Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) - $416,114. These funds will be used to support communitywide efforts to end homelessness, include rehabilitation and the operation of emergency homeless shelters, transitional shelter and other social services.

* Continuum of Care (CoC) - $25,750. These funds will be used to support communitywide efforts to end homelessness, promote access to and effect utilization of homeless programs and optimize self-sufficiency among those who experience homelessness.

Because of North Dakota's economic boom, it's estimated the state will need 30 percent more housing units by 2025. Heitkamp played a key role in passing bipartisan legislation through the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee that would reform the nation's housing finance system. She specifically worked to include proposals that will make sure rural and Native communities receive a fair share of funding provided to states, offering them more resources to make affordable housing a reality.

Heitkamp also worked with the HUD to see that new Fair Market Rents were increased to appropriate levels for areas of North Dakota where rents have quickly soared and families need assistance to afford housing. Fair Market Rents help low-income households reduce the share of their income that goes to rent.

Last year, Heitkamp traveled across the state to raise awareness to the state's housing crunch. Meetings in Bismarck, Minot, Williston, Valley City, Dickinson, and Fargo provided state, local, and federal officials with opportunities to share their situations and discuss plans to address unique housing issues across the state. To continue her efforts to seek solutions to North Dakota's housing issues, Heitkamp hosted housing summits with community leaders in Mandan and Fargo in August 2013.

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