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"Developing affordable housing and home ownership opportunities for low and moderate income households in the Headwaters Region."
History: The Headwaters Housing Development Corporation (HHDC) was incorporated on April 20, 1998 and is a subsidiary corporation of the Headwaters Regional Development Commission (HRDC). The HHDC is a non-profit housing development corporation with 501 (C)(3) status. The organization was created specifically to deal with an inadequate supply of affordable housing throughout the Region.
The HHDC and its parent organization, the HRDC, have a great deal of experience building and selling affordable single family houses to low and moderate income persons, especially first-time home buyers. This experience came as a result of the creation and implementation of the Beltrami County Affordable Home Construction Partnership, which began in 1994. The Beltrami County HRA contracted with the HRDC for the staff support needed fore this effort. Initially the partnership was created with the Northwest Technical College-Bemidji, the Bemidji High School, and the Bemidji Area Habitat for Humanity.
In 1999, the HRA turned this program over to the HHDC, which has expanded its activities further into Beltrami County as well as into other counties in the Region. The HHDC contracts with the HRDC to provide staff assistance in its housing development activities.
Since 1994, the HHDC has developed or managed the construction of 67 single family houses in Bemidji, five houses in Mahnomen, two houses in Clearbrook, one house in Blackduck, three houses in Park Rapids, and one house in Akeley. In addition, the HHDC currently has seven houses under construction in Bemidji. While most houses are built through new construction, the HHDC has also purchased and rehabilitated two existing houses in Bemidji and is always interested in pursuing new models to forward the housing production goal set by the HRDC Board.
The HRDC’s housing production goal is to “increase production and occupancy of affordable housing units to 20 units annually within the next three years.”
The HHDC has historically focused its efforts on the development and sale of single family workforce housing. While that focus remains, the organization is also pursuing new models to help meet a variety of housing needs within the Region. One new model is the development of supportive housing. HHDC is working cooperatively with the Beltrami County HRA and other organizations to develop a twenty-unity supportive/transitional housing project in Bemidji. The housing will be designed for long term homeless individuals and families, and will meet basic shelter needs of persons served, as well as provide the support services needed in order to help ensure their success. HHDC is also developing capacity to rehabilitate substandard housing in order to meet a broader range of housing needs.
The HRDC provides three primary staff persons to the HHDC to carry out its program development and implementation activities. Tim Flathers, HRDC Community Development Director, has been with the organization since 1983. Tim’s primary responsibility is to work with communities in the Region to identify their housing needs and develop new opportunities for the HHDC. Tim was the staff person responsible for creating and implementing the Beltrami County HRA’s housing development projects during its first four years.
Mary Thompson, HRDC Accounting and Administrative Director, has been with the organization since 1992. In addition to her accounting duties, Mary provides a variety of financial support to the HHDC, including managing down payment assistance programs and gap financing assistance. Mary also plays a significant role in marketing houses built by the HHDC and is responsible for providing home buyer education throughout the Region.
Aaron Chirpich manages the construction activities of the HHDC and is responsible for most of the current HHDC building and development activities. Aaron’s duties include land acquisition, working with general contractors, managing construction projects, accessing and managing construction and gap funds and selling houses.
Board of Directors:
- Ray Melander, President - Hubbard County
- Dave Jaeger, Vice-President - Mahnomen County
- John Nelson, Director - Clearwater County
- Joe Vene, Secretary - Beltrami County
- Rick Rone, Treasurer - Lake of the Woods County
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