Bismarck Housing for Long-Term Homeless Opens
BISMARCK, ND – Burleigh County Housing Authority (BCHA) marked the completion of Edwinton Place Apartments today. The Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) project will provide 40 individuals who have experienced long-term homelessness with a stable home and offer services to address the issues that are the cause of their homelessness.
After thanking his development partner, Beyond Shelter Inc. (BSI), and the community leaders and organizations that supported the project, BCHA Executive Director Dwight Barden said in reference to Edwinton’s ‘Housing First’ approach, “Now, the real work begins.”
Housing First is endorsed by the federal government as the way to end long-term homelessness, providing immediate, permanent housing without pre-requisites like treatment or sobriety and then offering voluntary services. At Edwinton, the Dacotah Foundation, West Central Human Service Center, Community Options, Heartview Foundation, Youthworks of North Dakota and Job Service will offer treatment for substance abuse, personal care and assistance finding employment. Medical care will be provided by Sanford Health and Northland Health Center.
Edwinton is North Dakota’s third PSH project to offer individuals Housing First. BSI, a nonprofit developer based in Fargo, ND, partnered with Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority to open Cooper House in 2010 and with Grand Forks Housing Authority to open LaGrave on First in 2018.
“Beyond Shelter focuses on developing housing for the lowest income households in the community, the people whose needs are often overlooked,” BSI Development Director Lisa Rotvold.
Most of Edwinton’s financing was provided by North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA).
“Battling chronic conditions without housing makes it difficult to stabilize, leaving people trapped in a spiral that is nearly impossible to escape,” said NDHFA Interim Executive Director Dave Flohr. “When a community comes together to address the needs of its most vulnerable citizens, we all win.”
The state agency awarded $813,000 in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the project providing it with $7.2 million in equity. NDHFA also provided $1,026,147 from the National Housing Trust Fund, $460,000 from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), and $500,000 from the state’s Housing Incentive Fund.
The City of Bismarck, in agreement with Burleigh County and the Bismarck Public School District, approved a 20-year Payment in Lieu of Taxes for the property valued at more than $2 million. North Dakota Department of Commerce committed $730,000 through NSP for land acquisition, $362,500 of which will go toward the land lease. Through Bank of North Dakota, the Federal Home Loan Bank awarded $750,000 from the Affordable Housing Program. The Otto Bremer Trust provided $62,000 to cover pre-development costs. Construction financing was provided by Gate City Bank. The total cost of development was $10.3 million.
Located at 1121 S 11th Street, Edwinton is a four-story building with a controlled entrance and 24/7 front desk staffing. On the first floor, offices, meeting rooms and an exam room allows for services to be provided at the site. A community room, TV room and computer room for tenant use is located on the same level. The upper floors are made up of 40 one-bedroom/bath apartments with full kitchens. Eight of the units are fully accessible for persons with a physical disability.
The gross rent of the apartments is $729 with a $40 utility allowance making tenant rent $689 per month. Burleigh County Housing Authority project-based Housing Choice Vouchers to ensure the affordability of the units for the property’s extremely low-income tenants. With the vouchers, the tenants will pay no more than 30 percent of their income towards rent.
BCHA began moving tenants into the property earlier this month. The housing authority is anticipating that Edwinton will be fully occupied by the end of the year. Because most of the tenants are expected to arrive with minimal personal items, the housing authority is trying to outfit the apartments with the necessities needed for daily living through an Amazon wish list. Dinnerware, towels, bedding and small appliances are still needed.
“The community has been very responsive,” said Barden. “We appreciate the assistance in helping to furnishing the units equitability.”