Housing advocates and homeless services providers in North Dakota are urgently stepping up to action after a recent vote in the North Dakota House Appropriations Committee to eliminate funding to the state’s Housing Incentive Fund (HIF). The appropriations bill now moves to a conference committee to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. The previously passed Senate bill included $15 million for the HIF. The North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, an NLIHC state partner, and the Housing North Dakota Alliance are coordinating a flurry of emails to the legislators on the committee to push for restoration of the Senate’s funding level.
The Housing Incentive Fund is a state-level gap financing program administered by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The fund can be used for development and preservation of multi-family affordable homes and to pay for supportive services attached to housing. Since its creation in 2011, the HIF has helped to create nearly 3,000 new homes.
Though established to be a trust fund, the HIF has faced frequent fluctuations in funding levels from the state legislature, most recently funded at zero in the appropriations bill in 2017. The Senate appropriation for 2021 at $15 million would constitute a doubling of funds since the previous 2019 biennial budget made $7.5 million available.