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Advocates for Homeless in ND Praise Housing Grants

Public housing advocates are welcoming federal dollars to help fix up existing units in North Dakota, but they say much more funding is needed. (iStockphoto)
Public housing advocates are welcoming federal dollars to help fix up existing units in North Dakota, but they say much more funding is needed. (iStockphoto)
February 15, 2016

BISMARCK, N.D. – With more than $2 million now heading to refurbish public housing in North Dakota, advocates for the state's homeless population are praising the move from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Fifteen counties in the state will use the money primarily to improve the existing stock of affordable housing.

Michael Carbone, executive director of the North Dakota Coalition for Homeless People, says repairs are sorely needed at many of these homes.

"One of the things that has been underfunded is the actual upgrades to the buildings, and those buildings have to be in good condition and habitable," he explains.

While Carbone says the $2 million is welcome, he notes that it's just a start. As an example, he cites one affordable high rise in Fargo, in need of $4 million in plumbing repairs alone.

North Dakota also is in need of more than 16,000 new, affordable housing units, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The group also finds about one in four North Dakotans who rent their homes has extremely low incomes.

Carbone says when people spend more than half their earnings on housing, they're at a much higher risk of becoming homeless.

"It's all tied together,” he stresses. “Low-income housing, affordable housing, public housing is where the people in our state who are the most challenged, in terms of housing stability, find their opportunities. "

The North Dakota housing grant is part of a more than $1.8 billion package split among all 50 states.


Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - ND