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Bismarck-Mandan needs 13,000 new homes in the next 15 years

A consultant says the Bismarck-Mandan area will need about 13,000 homes over the next 15 years.

That’s 9000 for Bismarck, and 4000 for Mandan.

Lonnie Dickson is a community and regional planner for Hanna:Keelan. His firm was hired by the two city commissions to look at housing needs. Dickson told a joint meeting of the commissions the housing vacancy rate in Bismarck is 1.3 percent, and in Mandan it’s 3.7 percent.

"From our standpoint, a healthy vacancy rate is about 8%," said Dickson. "That's sound, decent, affordable housing for all incomes. And when the vacancy rates are that low, there's nothing out there for housing choice."

One of Dickson’s recommendations is for both cities to establish housing commissions to look at the needs going forward – and how those needs could be met.

Mandan Mayor Arlyn Van Beek says affordable housing has become a real issue in both cities.

"Any way we can save a family that may be breaking, and provide them an opportunity to come out of the hole they're in, we'll be behind it," said Van Beek.

Van Beek says he also hopes to address the growing need for housing for the elderly. He points to a success story – when Edgewood Vista expanded into Mandan.

"When we put that into Mandan, the people that commented on it were saying, 'I can stay home in Mandan,'" said Van Beek.

Both city commissions say they will start working on ways to tackle the housing issue.

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