A new study released by the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency shows what the current state of housing looks like here in North Dakota.
According to the study, North Dakotans aren’t making enough money to pay for monthly expenses, including a place to call home.
“A large segment of renters work in the accommodations and food services industries. And so those are the lowest wage earning occupations in our state. And if a household earns minimum wage they have to work 89 hours per week to pay a fair market rent of 841,” said Jennifer Henderson, the Director of Planning and Housing Development Division for NDHFA.
The findings discovered that 60 percent of North Dakotans own their home. And, it also revealed that renters have more financial difficulties than homeowners.
“In 2018, 39 percent spent more than 30 percent of their income on housing expenses. And before the pandemic, 1 in 10 North Dakotans lived below the poverty level,” said Henderson.
In Burleigh County, there are between 13-14,000 affordable housing units occupied, but there is still a need for more.
“Part of the problem is that we’ve already got large waiting lists for our programs. So it’s not like they can come in and get housing right away. We have over 500 on our voucher,” said Dwight Barden, the Executive Director for Burleigh County Housing Authority.
A home is considered affordable when 30 percent or less of your income is being paid out in housing expenses.
But with the on-going pandemic and an eviction moratorium set to expire Dec. 31, people may find themselves in deeper debt than before.
“Most of the people on our programs have limited income, so if they’re building up a rent bill odds are they’re going to get evicted because it would be very difficult for them to dig themselves out of a large bill like that,” Barden.
In the last five years, the housing authority has added 40 units to the community and are looking to add more in the near future.
In this study, it was also found that there’s a need for 13,000 affordable units to rent around the state.