September 23, 2009

Meeting city’s housing needs

By Tina Foreman
Farmer Staff Writer

It’s been almost a year in the making, but the Lutheran Social Services Housing project in Watford City has finally arrived, literally. Three units arrived and were set up in Watford City on Thursday, Sept, 17.
LSS Housing’s new rental development, Creekside Cottages, will provide much needed housing in Watford City. The project consists of 12 twin homes (24 rental units). The units were built by Dynamic Homes, a modular home builder based in Detroit Lakes, Minn. with Beard Construction of Watford City as the on site general contractor. Beard Construction is responsible for foundations, concrete work, garages and other related site work.
“I never expected it would take this long to get all the little pieces together,” says Jessica Thomasson, LSS Housing, Inc. director. “It’s just thrilling to finally see the finished product.”
It took only three hours to have all three units sitting on their foundations, with finishing work already underway.
“Once the units are on their foundations, the crew starts finishing them and getting the appliances in place,” adds Thomasson. “In addition to the finishing work, crews are getting the next three foundations ready, and when that is done, three more units will be moved in.”
The LSS units are one or two-bedroom duplex modular homes including two handicap accessible units. Each unit has all the appliances including a washer and dryer. Although the units are small, the one-stall garage and patio accompanied by the homelike layout makes the units feel more like a home than an apartment.
The mission of LSS Housing is to support the continued vitality of North Dakota communities by providing housing and housing-related services.
“This is LSS’s first housing project, starting from scratch, in North Dakota,” says Thomasson. “After checking several communities we chose Watford City because we felt it would be a great community to partner with. Everyone we talked to showed us that this is a forward-thinking and economically diverse community.”
To maintain affordable rents, LSS Housing secured financing from a variety of sources and they are still seeking local donations to support the grants and financing of the following partners” First International Bank & Trust, McKenzie County Bank, the North Dakota Department of Commerce, McKenzie County, the North Dakota Housing Financing Agency, the Tri County Regional Development Council, Affordable Housing Developers Inc., and CommunityWorks North Dakota.
 “Last fall we were looking at a goal of keeping rent between $327 and $620,” adds Thomasson. “But now that our financing has been completed it is likely that the units will be even more affordable than our earlier projections.”
LSS Housing plans to have the first six cottages available for move-in on Nov. 1, 2009 with the remaining units available before the end of the year.  Anyone interested in renting a unit or working for LSS Housing as a part-time property manager can contact Thomasson at 701-429-4258 or