Housing aid available to repair flood damageNorth Dakotans whose homes were affected by spring flooding may be able to tap state Housing Finance Agency aid to rehabilitate their dwellings or buy new ones, even if they would not normally qualify for assistance.
By: By Dale Wetzel, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — North Dakotans whose homes were affected by spring flooding may be able to tap state Housing Finance Agency aid to rehabilitate their dwellings or buy new ones, even if they would not normally qualify for assistance.
The program affects 34 counties — including Burleigh, Cass, Grand Forks, Richland, Stark and Stutsman counties — that were included in President Barack Obama’s March 24 federal disaster aid declaration, along with the Standing Rock and Spirit Lake Sioux reservations. The state Industrial Commission endorsed the effort last week.
It includes homeowners or renters who were forced to leave their homes, and people whose dwellings were destroyed, made unsafe to live in, or permanently moved because of flooding damage.
Normally, the Housing Finance Agency’s FirstHome program, which offers low-cost mortgages, cannot be used by North Dakotans who have owned a home in the previous three years. That requirement is waived for eligible home buyers in the affected counties and the two Indian reservations.
The initiative is limited to North Dakotans with low to moderate incomes, with the income ceilings varying according to where a person lives. The cost of a rehabilitation project may be as high as $150,000, while the program may be used to buy a home worth up to $298,000.
The agency’s advisory board, which has six members and includes representatives of the homebuilding and real-estate industries, recommended the changes.
The Industrial Commission oversees the Housing Finance Agency. Its members are Gov. John Hoeven, Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.