Jul 13 2017
Waiver Will Keep Development of ‘LaGrave on First’ Housing Project on Track, Providing Permanent Housing, Job Training & Support for Homeless
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp today announced that she successfully pushed the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to approve a waiver allowing construction to go forward on the LaGrave on First housing project in Grand Forks, which will provide permanent supportive housing to help homeless North Dakotans get back on their feet.
HUD Secretary Ben Carson gave Heitkamp the news over the phone today, after she led the congressional delegation last month in urging the agency to quickly review and approve the waiver Grand Forks had requested to begin the project despite a procedural misstep that had paused it.
“North Dakota needs more affordable housing, and Grand Forks is no exception. That’s why I urged Secretary Carson last month to quickly approve this waiver and keep the LaGrave on First project on track,” said Heitkamp. “This housing project shows Grand Forks at its best—folks working together and responding to a shortage of housing by coming up with a supportive model that will help homeless families get back on their feet, learn job skills, and overcome health challenges. Despite a small procedural misstep, the project is fully funded and should be allowed to move forward with construction. Now that HUD officially approved the waiver, as I urged the agency to do as soon as possible, Grand Forks is one step closer to seeing this project become a reality.”
The 42-unit project is being developed by Grand Forks Homes with cooperative support from the City of Grand Forks and the Grand Forks Housing Authority. The necessary $9 million in financing is all in place, and organizers are hoping to open the facility later this year.
The waiver that Heitkamp successfully pushed HUD to quickly approve was needed to continue development of the project because all activity on it was halted earlier this year after a procedural misstep in the environmental review process.
Had HUD not quickly approved the waiver, it would have jeopardized funding for the project—a point Heitkamp reinforced in the letter she led the delegation in sending Secretary Carson last month.