Community land trust set to receive nearly $3 million for affordable housing   

the front of a building in construction
The state housing agency plans to preserve and build more than 4,700 affordable homes throughout Minnesota.
Jackson Forderer for MPR News

Updated: 6:40 p.m.

The Northwest Minnesota Foundation recently announced its subsidiary North Star Neighbors has been awarded nearly $3 million to support affordable housing in northwest Minnesota.

The funding is part of Minnesota Housing’s $348 million plan to preserve and build more than 4,700 homes throughout the state. 

The application process for the North Star Neighbor program is expected to be launched shortly.  

It’s open to residents of 12 northwest counties: Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Kittson, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Norman, Pennington, Polk, Red Lake, and Roseau. Residents of the White Earth and Red Lake nations are also eligible. 

NMF Program Manager, Cory Boushee explained the subsidiary is a community land trust. 

“It’s a way to create affordable homeownership opportunities by retaining ownership of the land [by North Star Neighbors] on which the house is located, and then preserving the affordability of the home for the future,” Boushee said.

He said housing is a key initiative for the foundation, and the community land trust fits well with the aim of building more units across northwestern Minnesota.

“Things came together and the board thought this was a good direction for us,” he said. 

The funding will kick off the first phase of construction for six new homes in the area — four in Thief River Falls and two in Red Lake Falls. It will also make the purchase of six homes in the region more affordable on the open market for qualifying homeowners.  

“We just want to be clear that in addition to the grants, it really does take this community partnership and we're really thrilled to have the lots that have been donated by the city of Thief River Falls and the city of Red Lake Falls,” NMF Communications Director Bethany Wesley said. “You know, money only goes so far, and it takes a lot of champions on the ground. And so that’s key.” 

Construction on the new homes is set to begin this spring.