Following unprecedented floods that ravaged the state last year, North Dakota’s legislature has enacted emergency legislation strengthening the state’s housing incentive fund (HIF), established following a campaign led by advocates including NLIHC state coalition partner North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People (see Memo, 10/21).
In June 2011, more than 10,000 people were displaced from Minot, the state’s fourth largest city, when the Souris River reached historic flood levels. The damage exacerbated the growing shortage of affordable housing stemming from the state’s robust oil reserves and associated employment opportunities. Currently, the HIF has $6.3 million as a result of tax credits purchased by investors. In the first round of allocations, 11 housing development projects received $4.7 million. Subsequent rounds will occur quarterly until funds are exhausted. State officials report a consistent and growing demand for HIF funds and advocates continue their efforts to secure a dedicated HIF revenue source.
In response to the floods, the legislature increased HIF’s authorization level from an initial $4 million to $15 million biennium cap. It also amended the timeframe for investors to claim HIF tax credits. Initially, tax credits could be claimed over a five-year period; the legislature’s change now allows investors to claim all of their credits in one year. The intent is to make the HIF more attractive to companies experiencing significant profits as a result of the state’s oil reserves.
HIF’s authorizing legislation provides that 90% of the funds must be set aside for counties that have been most impacted by sharp population growth as a result of the state’s oil reserves. As part of the emergency flood legislation, the legislature expanded HIF’s 90% set aside requirement to include counties designated as disaster areas. Initially prioritized are developments near Minot that suffered some of the most severe flood damage.
“The damage caused by the floods has made the already sharp decline in available and affordable housing even worse,” said Michael Carbone, Executive Director of NDCHP. “We are using NLIHC’s Housing Spotlight (see article elsewhere in Memo) to illustrate the gap between affordable housing that existed prior to the flood and the rapid population gains that North Dakota is experiencing. If we are to make real progress, it is imperative that our legislature secure dedicated funding for the HIF.”
For more information, contact Michael Carbone at firstname.lastname@example.org.