The Fargo 1995 Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development is a comprehensive plan for addressing Fargo' s housing and community development needs. In preparing a plan for housing and community development, it is important to remember the overall goal of these programs.
The overall goal of the community planning and development programs is the development of viable urban communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate income persons.
The goal stresses the importance of meeting a wide range of the needs of a community. These needs include housing, facilities of the community, and jobs. It is the responsibility of Fargo through this plan to target community development resources to the most important needs of this community.
The City of Fargo receives federal funds for community development from three HUD programs. This plan will coordinate and target these resources to the most important needs of Fargo. Fargo Housing & Redevelopment Authority (HRA) also receives funds from HUD to assist with the costs of providing low income housing.
This is a five year strategic plan for the use of community development resources. Specific activities to be implemented are identified in the one year action plan for 1995-1996.
The Planning and Development Department strived for as much citizen participation as could be obtained in the preparation of this plan. This was done through personal contacts, letters, public notices, and public hearings.
A coordinated effort of all organizations working in community development will be needed to
implement this plan. City departments, neighborhood organizations, social service agencies,
and other organizations serving low income persons must work together to effectively improve
During the period 1980 to 1990 the City of Fargo's population grew from 61,383 to 74,111. The downtown and neighborhoods adjacent to the downtown have a greater than 51% of low and moderate income families. A map is available illustrating block groups where low and moderate income persons and areas of minority concentration are located. There are 5,105 low and moderate income persons.
Whites compose 97% of the Households in Fargo, Blacks-.29% , Hispanics-.34%, Native Americans-.96% and Asian and Pacific Islanders-.97%. The largest area of minority concentration is in the area near North Dakota State University. This is because the student population living in the area is more culturally diverse than the rest of Fargo.
The City of Fargo is one of four cities that make up the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area. Fargo's population grew 12% from 1980 to 1990 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The City experiences steady growth, averaging approximately 1,000 additional residents per year over the past 30 years. The Fargo-Moorhead Council of Governments projects that the population of Fargo will be 87,000 in the year 2000.
As a major growth center for this area, Fargo attracts persons of all income levels. The City
is a center of job creation and an important provider of services. It is expected that these two
factors will continue to generate affordable housing and social service needs in the community.
The supply and demand for housing in Fargo is quite well matched. What undersupply exists is in the area of subsidized housing. The overall housing vacancy rate in Fargo is approximately 5%.. Rental units have a vacancy rate of 5.5%, while owner-occupied units have a vacancy rate of 2.2%. A look at apartment advertisements in the newspaper indicates a small surplus of 1 to 3 bedroom apartments.
There is only a small number of rental housing units for large families in Fargo. The Census Bureau estimated that only 279 large family units were vacant in Fargo, and of those, only 30 were rental units.
The 1990 Census shows there were 16,568 rental units in Fargo. Of these units, it is estimated that 20% or 3,313 are substandard. It is believed that 97% of the substandard units in Fargo are suitable for rehabilitation.
The 1990 Census indicates that 14,830 owner-occupied units existed at that time. The Building Inspector estimates that 15% of homeowner units in the City are substandard.
Home prices in Fargo vary greatly as in any community depending on the age and size of the home. Most three bedroom homes sold over a one month period in the spring of 1995 sold for between $60,000 and $90,000. The median price of a four bedroom home during that same month was between $90,000 and $100,000. The median price of homes listed for sale is $90,000 to $100,000. The cost of a small new home of approximately 1,300 square feet can be purchased for as low as $75,000 to $85,000.
There appears to be an ample supply of good quality housing for handicapped and disabled persons in Fargo. Fargo has housing designed to serve persons with special needs such as developmental disabilities, mental illness, and persons with AID'S.
The Fargo HRA owns and operates 616 housing units. These units include 297 elderly housing units, 98 units for handicapped persons, and 220 scatter site family housing units. The HRA has no vacancies in the family housing. There are a small number of vacancies in one bedroom rental units. The Housing Authority also administers 800 Section 8 Certificates and Vouchers that provide rental assistance for lower income families.
In addition to the Fargo HRA, other entities provide 736 units of assisted housing through various HUD programs. The total number of assisted units in Fargo based on this information is 2,152. This is approximately 7% of the total housing units in the City.
There is a need to improve and expand housing for persons with special needs. They include disabled persons, mentally ill persons, the elderly, chemically dependent, developmentally disabled persons, and persons dual diagnosed. Fargo has housing designed to serve persons with special needs such as developmental disabilities, mental illness, and persons with AID'S. The City is assisting with housing projects to improve housing for persons with developmental disabilities, improve housing for persons with AID's, and create housing for persons dual diagnosed with mental illness and chemical dependency.
One of the concerns regarding the occupancy of older housing is that of a possible health hazard existing from the effect of lead based paint. This is of particular concern with regard to young children. Inquiries were made of the N.D. Health Department and the Fargo Community Health Department. These sources indicated that little or no threat exists in Fargo's older housing stock.
The Fargo area has several agencies offering a variety of services to homeless persons and
persons who are threatened with homelessness. Most of the homeless are served by four
agencies. The New Life Center is an organization that provides temporary care for destitute and
homeless men and families through a program of material and physical aid. The Fargo-Moorhead YWCA operates an emergency shelter with 17 sleeping rooms for up to 40 women
with children. Centre, Inc. operates residential and outpatient treatment and correctional
services. Youthworks provides apartments and food for young adults that are homeless.
Housing and Community Development objectives
In order to maintain viable neighborhoods, all important needs should be addressed. Housing rehabilitation in a neighborhood with inadequate infrastructure is a bad investment. Jobs without child care do not benefit the unemployed with children. A comprehensive and coordinated effort is needed for community development efforts to succeed in improving the lives of the citizens of Fargo.
Lower income residents of Fargo have a variety of housing needs. Homeless persons need immediate shelter for the night.
Transitional housing provides homeless families with short term housing. Specialized housing serves persons with special problems such as mental illness, AID's, chemical dependency, and other disabilities. Some low income households need assistance to pay their rent each month, while others struggle to purchase a home.
There is an adequate supply of housing in Fargo. The vacancy rate on rental housing is 5.5% in professionally managed apartments. Because of this, the focus of this plan will be to improve existing housing rather that create new housing units.
There is also the need to assist lower income households in obtaining home ownership, especially those living in subsidized housing units. It will be a priority to assist families in subsidized rental housing with purchasing a home. By assisting these persons with home ownership, persons waiting for rental assistance also benefit.
Fargo has been very supportive of programs that help lower income families and individuals avoid homelessness. The support of these programs will continue in the future. The homeless of the community are assisted primarily by two shelters. The New Life Center serves homeless men. The YWCA shelter serves women and children, and another facility operated by the YWCA provides transitional housing for families. These centers are assisted with money from HUD, the United Way, and private donations.
Fargo will be supportive of economic development effort to create new jobs in the community. These efforts will include incentives for businesses that create new jobs, and eliminating slum and blighted conditions that discourage investment downtown.
Fargo has housing designed to serve persons with special needs such as developmental disabilities, mental illness, and persons with AID'S. The City is currently assisting with housing projects to improve housing for persons with developmental disabilities, improve housing for persons with AID'S, and create housing for persons dual diagnosed with mental illness and chemical dependency.
There is a strong need to continue to invest community development resources in the redevelopment of the downtown. Grant and loan programs need to be continued to eliminate blighted conditions. Loan programs to create jobs for low income persons need to be promoted more so that more jobs and investment will take place in the downtown. It is an objective of this plan to assist one to two businesses each year with an economic development project that would create up to 10 jobs. It is also an objective of the plan to assist one to two projects that will eliminate blighted conditions in the downtown. The annual budget of CDBG resources for the downtown will be $300,000.
The need for child care was one of the most important community development needs identified in a survey of community residents by the United Way in 1993. Day care centers serving low income families report long waiting lists and the lack of money to expand their facilities. This year the City of Fargo received four requests for facilities to provide child care or provide youth programs. It is the object of this plan to expand the availability of child care for lower income families. It is estimated that $500,000 to $800,000 will be needed for this activity over the next five years which will benefit over 100 children.
Older neighborhoods in Fargo are in need of replacement of water and sewer lines. often, needed improvements are protested out because many lower income households protest the creation of an assessment district to finance the improvements. It is an objective of this plan to continue this plan to continue to use CDBG funds to pay the special assessments of lower income households associated with needed infrastructure improvements. It is estimated that $75,000 to $100,000 will be needed each year for this activity. The activity will benefit an additional 80 persons each year.
Fargo has supported a variety of special needs facilities for the low income over the life of the
CDBG program. These have included homeless shelters, activity centers for special needs
persons such as the Developmentally Disabled, neighborhood centers in lower income
neighborhoods, and park facilities in lower income neighborhoods. There will continue to be
a need for these types of facilities in the future. Some further study of neighborhood needs
will be needed to better identify what type of facilities are needed. It is estimated that
$200,000 to $500,000 will be needed for these types of facilities over the next five years.
Fargo expects to have available $1,025,500 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and $552,923 in HOME Block Grant funds from the North Dakota HOME Program. In addition, the City of Fargo expects to receive approximately $89,000 from the HUD Emergency Shelter Grant program through the State of North Dakota.
The Fargo HRA also receives funds from HUD to provide housing for lower income persons. This is done through rental vouchers, public housing, and other programs. 6
Projects in the 1995-1996 action plan for use of CDBG and HOME funds include the following activities.
In addition to the many activities in this work program that prevent people from becoming homeless, the City of Fargo has been assisting homeless persons through four organizations. The New Life Center provides a shelter and transitional housing for men. The YWCA provides a shelter for families, women, and children. Centre, Inc. provides housing for homeless substance abusers. Youthworks provides housing for homeless young adults.
The HRA provides housing for lower income residents. Programs include provision of public housing, administration of Section 8 rental vouchers to provide rent assistance, comprehensive grants to improved public housing, and a congregate housing service program.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
TABLE (without associated map) provides information about the project(s).