Housing futures in North Dakota continue to be a struggle.
New housing developments are springing up, but material and land costs continue to drive affordability out of the equation.
Senator Heidi Heitkamp is on a housing a finance committee in congress.
This week, she returned to North Dakota for first hand discussions with community leaders on how to improve three areas surrounding what she calls a 'housing crisis' in North Dakota.
(Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, (D) North Dakota) "The days of thinking the federal government are going to come in here and take care of 80 percent are over. Done. It's not going to happen. So how do we leverage what we can do without being ridiculous with regulation. How do we leverage what we can do with a local effort and make all of this happen and that's really the sweet spot that I'm trying to find. If we do this, will that begin the process of meeting this need?"
The group discussed 'red tape' surrounding Housing and Urban Development funds --- and programs for people moving into the state looking for work who are often unable to cover start up costs after moving and become homeless.
They also talked about afforability, citing embedded infrastructure costs and lot prices.
(Mayor Curt Zimbelman, City of Minot) "In the long run, normally you look for the market to be taken care of by itself, by the building going on, but in our case, with the costs that are involved and the price of land and materials as well, we're just not reaching that so we've got to come up with some other ways of providing housing for those that need it. And when we lose a great deal of your inventory to a flood, it compounds the problem."