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The Department of Housing and Urban Development released its updated guidelines for low and moderate income programs, meaning more Minot residents will be eligible for assistance through the federal agency.
HUD updates its LMI eligibility guidelines every year, said John Zakian, NDR Program Manager for the City of Minot.
“With the changes this year, we have more people in our community who are eligible for service,” Zakian said. “But that also means HUD is expecting us to help more people who fall into those income guidelines, so the pressure is on us to accomplish that.”
The new guidelines are effective April 1. A family of four is considered the median. The guidelines rose between 2017 and 2018.
Minot was awarded $74.3 million in 2016 from HUD’s National Disaster Resilience Competition. Of those funds, $33.6 million was designated for the creation of affordable housing, both single family units and multi-family units. Zakian said the affordable housing must be an equitable combination of rehabilitated units and new construction.
“At the core, we have to remember that we were awarded this money as part of a competition based on scores from HUD,” Zakian said. “We were awarded funds based on what we promised what we would do in our action plan. Acquisitions for flood control projects and construction of low to moderate income housing, both single family and multi-family, were scored very high for Minot as those were determined to be our biggest unmet needs.”
Zakian said HUD expects the 13 grant recipients, including Minot, to utilize the NDR funding as proposed in the submitted and approved action plans.
“This type of data will keep pressure on us by HUD to use the appropriate amount of NDR funds for new single family and multi-family housing during the next three years,” Zakian said.
Minot’s first major project supported by the NDR program was completed in August 2018. Park South Apartments was a partnership between private and public entities. The building’s 35 units were renovated and five new units were added. The project also included upgrades to the building’s common area, installing a new boiler system, a new entrance, an elevator, and air conditioning.
“There aren’t any finalized plans right now for another big project like Park South,” Zakian said. “But that means we just have to continue to work at addressing the affordable housing concern incrementally.”