ST. PAUL, MINN. – A large investment in the housing market couldn’t come soon enough for the affordable-rental housing strapped Itasca and Cass counties. Three separate projects, one in Deer River and two in Grand Rapids, will share more than $13 million awarded by the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). An additional $8.7 million in tax credit equity will help the projects get off the ground even more quickly. According to Sen. Tom Saxhaug (DFL-Grand Rapids), the projects will be a boon to the entire region.
“Many rural areas across the Northwoods suffer from lack of affordable housing. The average rent here is higher than what the average wage can afford. By investing in more affordable housing units, and by rehabilitating existing but aging structures, we are making life better for the hard-working families who live here,” said Sen. Saxhaug.
The Deer River-based project is sponsored by the Leech Lake Reservation Housing Authority and includes the acquisition and rehabilitation of 22 scattered site units. Those units include anywhere from 1-4 bedrooms and are made available to families making fewer than $36,420. The investment from MHFA totals $3.511 million of the total project cost of $4.011 million.
The first Grand Rapids housing project called Beacon Hill details 48 new construction units that include both long-term homeless units and 10 units for people with disabilities. Nearly the entire cost of the $8.6 million project is covered through housing infrastructure bonds awarded by the MHFA, $6.1 million from Minnesota Housing and $2.17 million in estimated tax credit equity. Construction is set to begin next spring.
The final Northwoods investment project is called the Pine Ridge Apartments in Grand Rapids, a complex that’s more than 30-years-old. This project includes the acquisition and rehabilitation of 100 units that includes senior housing, between 1-3 bedroom units and five long-term homeless units. The project received $3.5 million from Minnesota Housing and an additional $6.6 million in estimated tax credit equity.
“Grand Rapids has a very low vacancy rate for all categories of housing, including an especially high need for quality affordable housing. These new projects will help alleviate the current shortage and will really benefit the community,” said Grand Rapids Director of Community Development, Ron Mattei.