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Affordable oil patch housing gets big boost

FARGO – Taxpayers eager to take direct action in solving western North Dakota’s current housing shortage gave a generous boost in late December to Lutheran Social Services Housing, one of the state’s fastest growing non-profit housing developers.

Lutheran Social Services Housing raised $364,159 in state tax credits for its nonprofit affordable rental housing projects in Williston, Belfield and Beach in response to the creation of the new Housing Incentive Fund finalized by the November special session of the State Legislature. In a year-end informational campaign launched in late December, a simple postcard from Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota CEO Robert Sanderson alerted businesses and individuals to this opportunity to invest all or part of their 2011 state income tax liability into new affordable rental housing for working families and seniors, all at no cost to the taxpayer.

“We are gratified that the campaign yielded such fast results from taxpayers during the last week of 2011,” Sanderson noted, which was especially important since the legislation required that the state receive the funds from taxpayers by Dec. 31. “Going forward, we encourage all those concerned about the rental housing situation in the oil patch to consider joining in this effort in 2012.”

The $364,159 total received for 2011 included $86,050 directed to Lutheran Social Services Housing’s future apartment complex for older adults in Williston, $28,109 to help with new affordable apartments being built this year in Beach and $10,000 for upcoming projects in unspecified oil patch locations. An additional $225,000 was pledged to the Belfield apartment project from MBI Energy Services and $15,000 from the First State Bank of Beach for an affordable apartments project in Beach – Lutheran Social Services Housing’s first tax incentive contributions from business entities.

The Housing Incentive Fund, administered by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency and state tax department, allows for the purchase of dollar-for-dollar tax credits that help build housing for persons being displaced by rapidly rising rents.

While the deadline has passed for receipt of 2011 state income tax participation in the Housing Incentive Fund, the fund is now open to taxpayers wanting to invest part or all of their 2012 state income tax obligation. To participate in 2012, citizens and businesses simply estimate the taxes they will owe for the year, determine the amount they wish to direct to the Housing Incentive Fund, pay that amount before year-end, and in turn receive from the state a Housing Incentive Fund dollar-for-dollar tax credit certificate to be filed with their return after year-end. Those participating can direct their credits to be used to build state-approved housing projects in a specific community or to fund upcoming work by a housing developer of their choice. Credits can be used over a ten-year period of time.

For information on new nonprofit affordable rental housing that citizens can help build in North Dakota through this program, see the Lutheran Social Services website at or the state website at For additional information or to obtain tax planning assistance and contribution forms, contact Lutheran Social Services Housing at 701-271-3282 or or contact your tax preparer.

Lutheran Social Services Housing, Inc., a subsidiary of Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota, supports the continued vitality of North Dakota communities by building, owning and managing affordable nonprofit housing and housing-related services for working families and older adults, with nine rental housing projects currently completed and under management and an additional seven projects in various stages of development.

Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota is a nonprofit social services agency serving thousands of North Dakotans each year from offices in five cities with 19 programs, including Lutheran Social Services Housing, that strengthen individuals, families and communities without regard to clients’ race, religion, gender or economic status.

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For further information:

For more on Lutheran Social Services Housing and its community development activities throughout North Dakota, please contact Director Jessica Thomasson at 701-429-4258.

Lutheran Social Services of ND news media contact: Kathryn Trill, Communications Manager, at 701-271-3289 or

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