North Dakota's Housing Incentive Fund has received its largest single gift.
Gov. Jack Dalrymple says Tesoro Petroleum is giving $5.3 million to the fund. That fund is used to create affordable housing for the elderly – as well as “essential” workers, those that can’t afford going rents.
The $5.3 million buys Tesoro tax credits – and in return, developers can use that money to start working on affordable housing.
Tesoro Executive Vice-President for Operations Keith Casey says this will fund 8 projects – in Bismarck, Mandan, Dickinson and Watford City.
"When we think about the essential workers -- the teachers, the care givers, the emergency responders -- that is so important for a healthy comunity," said Casey. "At Tesoro, we believe in doing everything we can to make a safe and environmentally-responsible, cleaner community. We thin k this is a key piece in making that happen.”
The 2015 Legislature told the Housing Finance Agency it could grant up to $30 million in state income tax credits for the Housing Incentive Fund. Agency director Jolene Kline says Tesoro’s contribution brings that total to $21.5 million. She says the deadline to raise the $30 million is December, 2016. Kline says housing is still a critical need.
“What we continue to hear, is that the biggest obstacle employers face statewide in recruiting workers is affordable housing," said Kline. "If you don't have an affordable place to live, the person is simply not going to move into the state to take that job.”
Kline says recent Job Service figures showed 3000 available jobs in Bismarck-Mandan – but only 1000 unemployed people.