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Affordable housing lacking in Minot after 2011 flooding; more than 600 await assistance


MINOT, North Dakota — New housing built since the 2011 Souris River flood in Minot has not kept up with the demand for affordable housing.

The flood four years ago damaged some of the city's more affordable neighborhoods, the Minot Daily News (http://bit.ly/1lrhHaQ ) reports. New housing built since then for low- to moderate-income families hasn't been enough to replace the vouchered rental housing lost in the flood, said Minot Housing Authority Executive Director Tom Alexander.

"We are seeing that we are still way too short," Alexander said.

Nearly 600 people and families are on a Housing Authority waiting list for help. Alexander doesn't know where those people are staying. The typical waiting time for housing assistance is between nine months and a year.

Some progress is being made, with eighty units of lower-income housing currently under construction. The first 16 of 40 units at a low- to moderate-income townhouse complex called The Willows in Burlington are expected to be available after Jan. 1. Cook's Court, a 40-unit complex for people 55 and older, is a few months away from being completed.

The complexes are being built in cooperation with the nonprofit Beyond Shelter, which has previously produced 164 units in the city. Demand for both complexes is high, Alexander said.

"We are getting calls from virtually all over North Dakota," he said.

After the flood, housing costs rose sharply with fewer structures and population growth due to the oil boom. Rents are easing slowly in Minot, Alexander said.

"The lower the rents are out in the community, the more people we can help," he said.

Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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