It has taken lots of work from all involved, but a plan to retain temporary housing units from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for longterm use is getting closer to reality.
About 450 FEMA housing units are still in place at the Virgil Workman Village in southeast Minot, housing residents displaced by the Souris River flood of 2011. In January, FEMA will begin charging rent for the units, with amounts based on income levels. FEMA's housing mission in Minot is scheduled to end June 30 of next year.
But the federal agency has agreed to donate 250 temporary housing units to the Minot Housing Authority, which in turn would operate the site as a temporary housing location for low-income residents. FEMA?is also working with another 200 residents currently living in temporary housing units on purchase agreements for those units.
The city has plans to annex the property into city limits, help upgrade the lighting and streets, and add curb and gutter in the village. FEMA will upgrade the sewer system before it turns over ownership of the units, and the property owner wants to develop affordable housing in empty areas of the village.
It all adds up, at some point, to a boost in the low-income housing market in the area. It hasn't been easy, but everyone involved should be commended for seeing a partial solution to the area's low-income housing shortage and working together to make that solution a reality. The work isn't finished, but the project is well on its way to completion.