Grafton, N.D., housing project helps improve, repair homes
GRAFTON, N.D. - Hazel Summers used to worry in wintertime about heating the large two-story house she's lived in for the past 30 years. Her frustration over house maintenance mounted last year after a vicious wind storm ripped shingles from her roof.
GRAFTON, N.D. – Hazel Summers used to worry in wintertime about heating the large two-story house she’s lived in for the past 30 years.
Her frustration over house maintenance mounted last year after a vicious wind storm ripped shingles from her roof.
“My insurance company said they’d only pay $1,300,” she said. “They sent me $54.21. So I changed insurances.”
Then, the 80-year-old widow saw a news article about a Grafton Housing Rehabilitation Project, which is operated through the Red River Regional Council, based in Grafton.
Not long after she inquired, the house was inspected and a contractor went to work, repairing the roof, replacing and insulating windows and fixing large gaps in the foundation.
“It’s so much warmer now,” she said. “I’m not losing heat.”
Summers’ house is one of about 30 single-family, low- and moderate-income homes that have been part of the $500,000 Grafton project over the past three years, according to Stacy Sevigny, who is working with the regional council’s housing program, which is financed by federal, state and local governments.
81 homes in region
The city of Grafton has contributed more than $100,000 to the local program, which has provided an average of nearly $14,000 per house. The money is used to improve energy efficiency, repair roofs, windows, doors, gutters, plumbing and electricity, as well as other improvements to meet state building code and federal Section 8 Housing Quality Standards, according to Lori Estad, also with the regional council.
The Grafton project, which began in 2012, is expected to be completed next year.
In addition to Grafton, the regional council has sponsored similar housing rehabilitation projects in Thompson, N.D., and Drayton, N.D. Together, the three projects have totaled more than $1.1 million and rehabilitated 81 homes.
“We see rehabilitation of existing homes as one avenue to maintain a high quality housing stock within our rural communities and focus on maintenance issues that may not otherwise be addressed,” said Dawn Keeley, regional council executive director. “Given the complexity of funding requirements and multiple funders required, we are the only regional council in North Dakota currently undertaking housing rehabilitation projects.”
Cavalier is next
The regional council now is in the early phase of another housing rehabilitation project, this one in Cavalier, N.D.
The project, which started earlier this year, will continue into 2016.
So far, more than $360,000 has been raised for the project, including a Federal Home Loan Bank grant for $162,278 that is being administered through United Valley Bank, Cavalier.
The Regional Council also has received $100,000 from USDA Rural Development and is seeking a $98,000 federal Community Development Block Grant through the North Dakota Department of Commerce for Cavalier.
The City of Cavalier has contributed $11,500 to the project.
The Cavalier Housing Rehabilitation Project is being led by the Cavalier Housing Committee, which is chaired by Drew Olafson, Cavalier. Other housing committee members are: Tom Ford, Darold Johnson, Rachel Morrison, Wayne Puppe, and Corene Vaughn.
Nine Cavalier homes have been identified for rehabilitation. Work already has begun on two of them. With the FHLB funds, another 20 homes can be completed, according to Sevigny and Lori Estad, regional council staff members who are leading the Cavalier project.
The average investment for each home is $13,410.
Cavalier homeowners may obtain information on eligibility by calling Sevigny or Estad at the Red River Regional Council in Grafton at (701) 352-3550.