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Homeless housing project moves ahead

Members of the Grand Forks City Council Service Safety Committee met Tuesday and heard options for the location of a housing project for the homeless and agreed to do more research on the proposal. Housing First, a "regional housing collaborative...

Members of the Grand Forks City Council Service Safety Committee met Tuesday and heard options for the location of a housing project for the homeless and agreed to do more research on the proposal.

Housing First, a "regional housing collaborative" led by the Grand Forks Housing Authority, aims to provide permanent housing for homeless residents, according to a report submitted before the committee.

"We're not doing anything new here. This is a model that has been working around the nation," Deputy Director of Planning and Community Development Meredith Richards said.

To apply for Federal Home Loan Bank, Low Income Housing Tax Credit or Housing Trust Fund, a location for the housing project was needed, Richards said.

A publicly donated lot would give their application extra points, she said, while a downtown location would ensure proximity to agencies that provide social services.

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Three downtown locations were initially suggested for the project, but a parking lot near Northlands Rescue Mission and the former County Correctional Facility were nixed in favor of the area behind the Police Department that is being used as a skate park and parking lot, according to the report.

The location is owned by the city and does not generate property taxes.

City Council member Terry Bjerke, said he wanted to know the difference in PILOT revenue versus property taxes that could be raised from the land. PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, refers to federal compensation paid to local governments to offset some or all the revenue lost in property taxes.

Committee members instructed city staff members to gather more information on the project.

Related Topics: GRAND FORKS CITY COUNCIL
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