Thursday, December 18, 2008 at 3:00 p.m.
Community Development Committee Meeting
City Commission Chambers, Fargo City Hall
1. Approval of minutes
2. Update on Fargo’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) application
3. Discuss 2009 Community Development budget
4. Other Business
Regular Meeting: Thursday: December 18, 2008:
The Regular Meeting of the Community Development Committee of the City of Fargo, North Dakota was held in the City Commission Room at City Hall at 3:00 p.m., Thursday, December 18, 2008.
The Community Development Committee Members present or absent were as follows:
Present: John Paulsen, Lynn Fundingsland, Steve Stoner, Dave Piepkorn, Dan Fremling, Tim
Mahoney, Cassie Skalicky
Absent: Pat Zavoral and Linda Klebe
Vice Chair Piepkorn called the meeting to order.
Item 1. Approval of Minutes: Regular Meeting of September 25, 2008
Mr. Paulsen moved to approve the September 25, 2008 minutes as presented. Second by Mr. Stoner. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 2. Update on Fargo’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) Application
Mr. Mahli stated the State of North Dakota was awarded $19.6 million in federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds. He added the City of Fargo has applied for $4.9m of the $19.6m allocation.
Mr. Mahli mentioned that less than half of 1% of home mortgages in North Dakota have entered into foreclosure and less than 3% of the State’s mortgages have been a month or more late on their payments. He stated Fargo and the State of North Dakota are working hard to meet affordable housing needs. He gave credit to a strong local residential lending environment and fair remodelers, land developers, realtors, etc. Mr. Mahli presented a map that showed the number of foreclosures within the City since January 2007. He added that although North Dakota has a lower number of foreclosures overall, most foreclosures in the State occurred in Fargo. Mr. Mahli also gave the Committee a map showing homes at risk of foreclosure within the City. He mentioned that he expects funds to be awarded by HUD and the State by the beginning of February. He added that the funds are required to be obligated within 18 months and spent in 4 years. Twenty-five percent of the funding must be used to serve households earning 50% or below the area median income (AMI). The remaining 75% of the funding is required to serve households earning 120% AMI. (Dan Fremling present)
Mr. Mahli summarized the distribution and uses of the NSP funds. He stated $2.97 million will be used to purchase foreclosed, vacant, or abandoned properties. The properties will be rehabbed and sold to eligible homeowners. He stated the City will work with lenders and realtors to target the toughest properties in the City. He said the City would be required to purchase homes at a 10% discounted rate and the average rehab cost will be approximately $40,000. He mentioned the funding will allow the City to purchase 18 homes, rehab them, and sell them at an average of $125,000. This will also allow the City to reuse funds to purchase additional properties or to go towards other areas of need.
Mr. Mahli stated approximately $1.7 million will be used for NSP infill projects. The infill projects include purchasing foreclosed, vacant, or abandoned properties to meet housing needs for populations at or below 50% of the area median incomes (AMI). He stated $800,000 of the $1.7 million would be used to purchase and develop a housing development for low income seniors. He continued that $500,000 is slated to be used to provide 12 units of permanent housing for homeless veterans. He added there is no site in mind for this project, but the property would need to be vacant. The remaining $140,000 would be used to purchase properties for workforce housing units. He added the City works with Habitat for Humanity and the Fargo School District to construct new owner-occupied homes.
Mr. Mahli explained that $200,000 of the NSP funds will be used for the homebuyer assistance program. He stated prospective homebuyers are offered homebuyer education classes and one hour of counseling.
Mr. Mahli mentioned that as soon as the City hears from the State, the Committee will take the proposal to the City Commission.
Mr. Fundingsland stated the current high rise in Fargo has become a mixed population of disabled individuals and seniors. He said there is an increased need for housing for low and very low income seniors. The goal, he said, is to build a companion building for the hire rise.
Mr. Mahli and Mr. Fundingsland concurred that the $800,000 could bridge the gap as funds are made available.
Mr. Stoner asked whether there was an infill site identified.
Mr. Fundingsland stated there is a closing on a location at the intersection of 17th Avenue and 25th Street South, Fargo. Mr. Fundingsland stated Lutheran Social Services and Olivet Lutheran Church have been looking at the site and the intended use would be within their mission. He continued, 100 individuals have applied for 42 units which reiterates the need for additional senior housing.
Item 3. Discuss 2009 Community Development Budget
Mr. Mahli handed out a summary of the Community Development funding requests and recommendations. He stated two of the larger requests have been invited to present information today. Of the larger requests, he said one is for senior housing, another is about a new Family Healthcare facility, and the third is for the Immigrant Development Center’s International Market Plaza.
Family Healthcare Center Request
Patricia Patron, the Executive Director at the Family Healthcare Center (FHC), explained the Healthcare Center provides access to primary care services to the uninsured, underserved, and homeless population. She stated 90% of the patients receiving medical assistance at FHC are living in poverty. She added, most patients are working in low paying jobs and do not have access to health insurance. In combination with the current economic situation, she said medical services become more challenging, and said the FHC has seen an increase in the number of patients. Currently, she stated, the FHC is working to make operations more efficient. She said the FHC has 11 exam rooms, 7 full time providers, an in-house pharmacy, lab, and dental office. She added the desire is to expand capacity. Currently, she said there are 17,000 individuals that do not have access to a regular doctor and healthcare, of which the FHC serves 11,000 and 250 new patients per month. She added the FHC is currently looking at a building in the downtown Fargo to increase its capacity. Ms. Patron stated the FHC is the only facility to operate both dental and medical services, and the hope is to serve health needs in the community even better in the future.
Mr. Piepkorn asked whether a new building would enable the services at the Family Healthcare Center to become more consolidated. Ms. Patron answered, yes. She stated some of the FHC’s business is run out of a basement and is not conducive to service. She said there is no running water in some areas, only portable sinks, the location is not fully accessible for people with disabilities, patients have mobility challenges, and stairs are not acceptable for older patients.
Mr. Piepkorn noted the Healthcare Center should be located on the bus route since the majority of the individuals served are downtown. Ms. Patron stated the service area is Cass and Clay Counties, so transportation is an issue. She said the areas where a facility can be located are limited and difficult to change because the federal government has established areas and transportation requirements.
Mr. Paulsen asked whether partnerships with Meritcare have been discussed. Ms. Patron answered relationships with Meritcare and Innovis have been created. She stated there is a stronger relationship with Meritcare because it provides a reference lab, gives the same provider discount, allows access to lab services, allows appointments with specialists, creates treatment plans with patients, and provides access to primary care.
Mr. Paulsen asked what happens when a patient requires medical surgery. Ms. Patron answered patients need to provide full financial statements and work out a financial plan when requiring surgery. The idea is to provide access to preventative healthcare and eliminate emergency room visits.
Ms. Patron stated FHC has been considering the Richtman’s building in downtown Fargo as a new location. She said the building was purchased by Kilbourne Group and Kilbourne has donated a facility study to look at how the building would accommodate the services of the FHC. The location, she added, would provide room and new jobs. Ms. Patron stated two other parties are interested in the building and she would like to have a financial proposal in place by January 2009. She said there is a sense of urgency stemming from the community to work with private foundations to get the project off the ground.
Ms. Patron stated if the project comes to pass, all of the various healthcare centers as well as the homeless clinic at St. Mark’s Church would move to the one location. Ms. Patron added this site has historic value and may be eligible for tax credits and other incentives to make the project happen.
Mr. Fremling asked whether the Family Healthcare Center would serve all populations, such as reservations and Native Americans.
Ms. Patron answered yes, definitely; once patients leave the reservation it is difficult to access medical services. She added that it is fortunate have the facility study taking place and although she has not sat down with the financials, she hopes to finalize a pro forma soon.
Mr. Mahli stated the recommendation in the CD Action Plan is to assist the Family Healthcare Center with the installation of an elevator at a new facility, wherever it may be.
Immigrant Development Center Request
Fowzia Adde, Executive Director at the Immigrant Development Center (IDC), presented information on its CDBG funding request. Ms. Adde explained the IDC is a non-profit organization founded in 2003. She said the organization began from coffee table discussions focusing on women and building self sufficiency in the community. The group started growing, and the Headwaters Foundation provided funding to develop an International Market. Ms. Added stated the program works to support New American entrepreneurs.
(Tim Mahoney present)
Ms. Adde presented a business plan for the Immigrant Development Center (IDC). She added the IDC is meant to serve low income New Americans to establish credit and create jobs. She continued, 12-16 new businesses will be created at the International market (amount to 50+ jobs) and a good majority of the budget has been raised. She requested $160,000 to help buy the land that the International Market Plaza would be located—the former Cooper Tire warehouse. Mr. Mahli stated there are match requirements for a recently awarded $680,000 grant from the Office of Community Service (OCS). CDBG funds can be used for the match. He said grants and/or loans may also be available from the Bremer Foundation.
James Simon, a new American small business owner, stated he supports and appreciates the IDC project and stated the economic development activity will be good for Fargo. He added many individuals like ethnic food and crafts and this market would be a welcome addition to the Fargo-Moorhead area.
CDBG, HOME and Social Service/Arts Fund
Mr. Mahli discussed the four categories eligible to receive CDBG, HOME and Social Service/Arts funding. The categories include Housing, Downtown, Facilities/Capital, and Social Service requests. He added this information will be made available for public review and comment and the items in the 2009 Action Plan will be used in accordance with the City’s Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development. Fargo anticipated $697,500 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds; $651,000 in HOME funds and $301,000 in the City’s Social Service/Art funding to be available. The projects in the 2009 Action Plan include the following activities:
(Owner Occupied) - $350,000 to be available for rehabilitation of existing owner-occupied housing units. This includes $50,000 in CDBG and $300,000 in HOME funds.
- $90,000 to be available to assist lower income families purchase homes. This includes $80,000 in HOME funds and the City will apply to the State of ND for $10,000 in American Dream Down payment Initiative funds.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS
- Beyond Shelter, Inc. CHDO Projects - $100,000 in HOME funds for housing at 414 11th Street No.
- Special Projects: Workforce Housing/Homelessness - $100,000 of HOME funds for housing and related projects that address priorities established around homelessness and workforce housing.
DOWNTOWN PROJECTS - $150,000 in CDBG funds for projects that address slum and blight conditions in downtown Fargo.
- International Market Plaza - $160,000 in CDBG funds to be used to assist with site acquisition and predevelopment costs for the International Market Plaza to be located at 414 11th Street No.
- Family Health Care Center Elevator - $90,000 in CDBG funds to assist with an elevator for the Family Health Care Center’s proposed expansion into a larger building.
- Neighborhood Project - $12,000 in CDBG funds for a potential project that will help beautify and improve a low/moderate income neighborhood.
CDBG PUBLIC SERVICE PROJECTS
- Homebuyer and Tenant Education - $30,000 in CDBG and $10,000 in HOME funds to support the Village Financial Service Center with the Homebuyer and Tenant Education programs.
- Emergency Shelter - $50,000 in CDBG funds to provide operating support at the Gladys Ray Shelter in Fargo.
- Metropolitan Transportation Initiative - $13,000 in CDBG funds to support transportation services for low income individuals in Fargo.
- Snow Removal Assistance - $2,500 in CDBG funds to offer emergency snow removal assistance to low income senior households and people with disabilities.
CITY SOCIAL SERVICE/ARTS PROJECTS
- CHARISM - $25,000 to support outreach and communication with low income ethnic communities.
- Cultural Diversity Resources - $25,000 to support operations and leadership programs.
- Fargo Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons - $5,000 to support Fargo’s 10 Year Plan activities and transportation for homeless individuals needing emergency shelter ($2,500 for operations and $2,500 for transportation services).
- Fargo Senior Services - $30,000 to support the Meals on Wheels program.
- Fargo Youth Commission/Boys & Girls club - $5,000 to provide scholarships to assist low income youth in the before and after school program.
- Giving+Learning Program - $10,000 to support refugee assistance and mentor program.
- Handi-Wheels Transportation - $10,000 to assist with operational expenses and provide transportation to people with disabilities;
- LSS of ND-Daily Bread & Great Plains Food Bank - $5,000 to provide the intake and distribution of donated food items.
- Metro Youth Partnership - $30,000 to support partnership programs for youth and adults to engage in healthy relationships.
- New Life Center - $15,000 to support operations that serve the homeless people.
- ND Homeless Coalition for Homeless People - $5,000 to support activities related to the North Dakota Continuum of Care application.
- Rape and Abuse Crises Center of FM - $15,000 to provide crisis support and services for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
- Red River Human Services Foundation, Activity Center - $12,000 to fund educational and social programs for those people with disabilities.
- River Keepers - $4,000 to renovate bathrooms at the Red River Living/Learning Center.
- YWCA Cass Clay Emergency Shelter - $15,000 to assist with operational costs and support services for women and children.
- The Arts Partnership - $85,000 to support the Council’s Arts Fund ($30K for operations and $55K for programs).
- $140,000 in CDBG funds for project development, planning, and administrative costs associated with the delivery of the CDBG program. HOME funds will provide an additional $51,000 for administration. This item includes $1,000 for fair housing activities and $5,000 for a study on homelessness.
Mr. Mahli stated he would like a recommendation from the CD Committee to publish the CDBG, HOME, and Social Service/Art fund recommendations to a 30 day public comment period. He stated he will bring the comments to the February CD Committee for a recommendation to the City Commission.
Mr. Fundingsland moved to approve the Community Development Committee fund recommendations. Second by Mr. Stoner. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.
Item 4. Other Business
Mr. Mahli stated the next Community Development Committee meeting will take place on February 26th, after the 2009 Action Plan is published and the 30 day comment period is up.
Mr. Piepkorn moved to adjourn the meeting at 4:29 p.m. Second by Mr. Fundingsland. All Members present voted aye and the motion was declared carried.