Drawing lots for lots

Minot’s newest affordable housing development is about to open its doors, and Minot Housing Authority is drawing names to see who gets to move in.

The housing authority is conducting a lottery, which will determine which qualified households receive leases.

Starting today and continuing for a week, people interested in the two- three- or four-bedroom units at Washington Townhomes can fill out applications at the Minot Housing Authority office, 108 E. Burdick Expressway. People will need to providing information on household size and income. It is not necessary to bring documentation. Income information will be third-party verified.

Based on family size and income, applicants will be entered into lottery pools for the 16 townhomes. A drawing will determine the winner of each pool.

“We are hoping to start leasing next month,” said Tom Pearson, executive director for the housing authority.

Pearson said it is unknown how many applicants to expect.

“My anticipation is there’s going to be way more applicants than units,” he said.

A second townhome building with another 16 units is expected to open in April. The housing authority will announce a second lottery round later to fill those units.

The first affordable housing project in Minot in a number of years, Beyond Shelter’s $6.8 million Washington Townhomes project broke ground last August in southeast Minot near Washington Elementary School. The first 32 of the eventual 64 units were scheduled to open by August 2013, but with favorable weather, the developer was aggressive in moving to project to an earlier conclusion.

The housing authority will have information available to assist potential applicants who are uncertain about whether they might qualify. The area median income varies depending on household size. As an example, a family of four could have an income of no more than $38,280 to qualify at 60 percent of area median income.

Beyond Shelter, Fargo, received funding assistance for Washington Townhomes through a Community Development Block Grant of $750,000, federal HOME funds of $700,000 and Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

Community Development Inc. of Caldwell, Idaho, is awaiting a decision from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency regarding its request for tax credits. If approved, Community Development plans to begin construction this summer on a 36-unit apartment building adjacent to Walmart, behind Joshua Plaza. The proposed Norheim Heights would be developed with 6 buildings, a community building, playground and half-court basketball. Qualified residents would have income levels ranging from 30 to 60 percent of area median income.

CommunityWorks North Dakota also plans to develop 30 affordable housing units on 18th Avenue Southeast, west of 13th Street. The nonprofit organization based in Mandan, is developing the Minot Place Townhomes with MetroPlains, a Devils Lake property management company.

The project is proposed to include 12 single-level units and 18 two-story units. There will be six one-bedroom, 12 two-bedroom, and 12 three-bedroom townhomes with attached garages. Five or six units will be wheelchair accessible.