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Housing fund coming up short in ND oil country

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 11, 2012 at 2:54 pm •  Published: December 11, 2012

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Contributions are lagging for a North Dakota fund aimed at building affordable housing, primarily in the state's booming oil patch, officials said Tuesday.

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency's low-income housing development program gives individual and business donors a dollar-for-dollar tax credit, and they can designate their contributions for specific projects. The Legislature last year approved $15 million in state income tax credits to subsidize construction of $104 million in low-income dwellings.

Agency director Mike Anderson said the full tax credit contributions would fund 739 new low-income units at 26 proposed housing projects. But only $11.3 million has been raised to date, and 10 projects, totaling 352 units, might not be built if the balance is not raised by the end-of-year deadline, he said.

Anderson called them "shovel-ready projects that can't break ground."

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced Tuesday that WPX Energy Inc., a Tulsa, Okla.-based oil exploration and production company, contributed $100,000 toward the fund.

Jeremy Conger, WPX Energy's director of operations, said the company's contribution would go toward building affordable housing on the Fort Berthold Reservation in western North Dakota, where the population and rental rates have soared amid record production in the oil patch.

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