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North Dakotans Give Without Giving to Help State's Housing Crunch

December 30, 2011

BISMARCK, N. D. - The people of North Dakota are opening their wallets to help with the state's housing crunch – and they're doing it without spending a dime. Josh Askvig, AARP North Dakota associate state director for advocacy, says folks can contribute to the recently-established North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund and get a dollar-for-dollar state income tax credit.

"The unique thing about this is, there's no state funding. So, the Housing Incentive Fund is only made up of what is contributed, up to a $15 million cap. Then, that's where the credits come out of, and businesses are eligible for the credit as well as individuals."

The fund provides low-interest loans as an incentive for developers to build affordable, multifamily housing in places where it's lacking. Askvig says the need is great, especially in oil country where the influx of people has driven the cost of rent too high for some.

"Specifically, those on fixed incomes who may not have the ability to make adjustments as the rent increases happen and this is a way for people to contribute money into the Housing Incentive Fund, get a tax credit back and help provide affordable housing for those people who need it."

The funds are for use statewide, although Askvig says most will be focused on the oil-impacted counties, along with those counties that have been declared federal disaster areas.

"There's a total of about 23 of them – but overall, yes, it can be applied across the state. You can actually, when you contribute, designate where you'd like that money targeted, and they'll do their best to try to meet that."

Nearly $5 million has already been contributed. More information is available on the North Dakota Housing Incentive Fund website.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND