Lenders, advocates honored for work

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency recognized several lending partners and housing advocates as Champions of Affordable Housing at the 22nd Annual Statewide Housing Conference on Feb. 7.

NDHFA’s lender awards are based on participation in the Agency’s homeownership programs and involvement in locally sponsored affordable housing projects and events. In addition to honoring the outstanding lending institutions that produce its loans, the individual loan officer that originated the most NDHFA loans at that lending institution was also recognized.

Kevin and Cherie Collins of Minot and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Independent Order of Odd Fellows of Devils Lake each received Housing Production Awards.

Kevin and Cherie Collins purchased and refurbished Grayce Manor, a home in Minot that provides affordable housing for young adults in the Transition into Independence Pilot Program. These individuals no longer qualify for children services yet do not meet the criteria for adult services and often lack natural support systems. Grayce Manor currently provides an affordable home for seven program participants.

Grand Lodge of North Dakota, Independent Order of Odd Fellows strives to provide a safe haven for formerly homeless and mentally disabled residents at Prairie Heights Apartments, a 23-unit project located in Devils Lake. Prairie Heights has been beneficial to the residents, providing them with not only safe, quality housing, but a certain pride and independence that can only come from having a place to call home.

Keith Olson of Crosby and Mike and Angela Christianson of Minot were recognized by NDHFA with Leadership Awards.

Keith Olson has been active in the development of several affordable housing projects in Crosby, Kenmare, Ray and Williston. He has worked tirelessly to get these projects off the ground. And, his impressive knowledge of North Dakota resources has been instrumental in the development of affordable housing for teachers, first responders, city employees and retail sector employees.

Mike and Angela Christianson recognized the serious housing shortage for lower-income tenants and partnered with the Transition into Independence Program, offering below-market rate apartments to program participants. The Christiansons’ dedication to helping others was called an asset to the community of Minot.