City of Minot to use $1.5M grant to buy 'zombie homes,' convert them to affordable housing

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MINOT, North Dakota — City officials in Minot hope to use a $1.5 million grant from the state to buy some of the region's derelict properties left over from the Souris River flood and turn them into affordable housing.

Officials recently announced that they received the funding from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, which will go toward buying and demolishing the estimated 250 "zombie" homes still left in the city, KXMC-TV in Minot reported (http://bit.ly/1CauOBo ). The city has been grappling for months with what to do with the hundreds of boarded-up, mold-ridden and debris-infested properties that remain, creating eyesores and potential dangers.

The Souris River swamped more than 4,000 Minot homes, businesses and other structures in June 2011.

Over the past year, the Minot Housing Authority had been working to get back the $1.5 million in flood relief funding that it returned to the state previously after a different project to provide FEMA housing fell through.

Now, the city has asked the Minot Area Community Foundation if it would like to purchase some of the homes and lease them to families needing financial assistance. Officials say they'll turn to private citizens if the foundation declines.

Most of the abandoned homes cost around $180,000, but that price can vary, said Cindy Hemphill, the finance director for the city of Minot. She added that it also costs the city about $15,000 to $20,000 to demolish the home.

"It depends on what the home is, what we have to do to purchase it, whether we have to pay unpaid taxes, or there is a mortgage that has to be satisfied, or something like that," she said.


Information from: KXMC-TV, http://www.kxnet.com

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