Minot celebrates newest affordable housing

Souris Heights serves seniors population

Jill Schramm/MDN Sen. John Hoeven, center, speaks in presenting a flag to Souris Heights after a ribbon-cutting Thursday. From left are Dominique Jackson, regional administrator with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Denver; Christopher Miller, Beyond Shelter development director, Fargo; Hoeven; David Flohr, executive director with N.D. Housing Finance Agency, Bismarck; Minot Mayor Tom Ross; and Dan Madler, Beyond Shelter CEO, Fargo.

Partners in the development of Minot’s latest affordable senior housing project gathered Thursday to celebrate the completion of the 54-unit apartment complex.

Beyond Shelter developed the $14 million project at 1400 35th Ave. NW, next to Erik Ramstad Middle School, with $5.5 million in National Disaster Resilience grant money through the City of Minot, more than $500,000 in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and more than $400,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-ND, joined representatives of Beyond Shelter, the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional office in Denver and state office Bismarck, and Minot Housing Authority for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Hoeven called the project an “amazing partnership” assembled by Beyond Shelter.

“It’s kind of a natural because up here we are used to working as partners to get things done. It takes that,” he said. “The federal end is really important in these projects, both in terms of getting them funded upfront but then also in terms of rent support to make sure that all these units are truly affordable.”

Jill Schramm/MDN Souris Court manager Brandy Ruby stands in the kitchen of one of the 54 units in the affordable housing complex for seniors Thursday.

Cheryl Forhart, one of the first residents to move in last October, relocated from Ray to be closer to her adult children.

“I love it,” she said. “Everyone’s so friendly. It’s just nice.”

Pam Pontbriand moved to Souris Heights in May from Dallas, Texas, also to be closer to family. She said her son saw Souris Heights being built from the window of his home and suggested she apply for a unit. Skeptical at first that she would be accepted, she applied and was approved.

“I love it. It’s so tranquil, quiet, peaceful,” Pontbriand said of both her new housing and Minot.

Essy Rose, who moved in last November, was living in Minot but wanted a place that was more carefree, so she can enjoy the things she likes to do. At the top of that list is leading a knitting and crocheting group in the Souris Heights community room every Thursday at 10 a.m. The group draws participants from within and outside the facility.

Jill Schramm/MDN Souris Court, an affordable senior living complex, began accepting tenants last fall.

“What a better place to meet than trying to get us in their homes and my home. This is really comfortable,” Rose said. “It is a good place to live, be comfortable, have your own peace and quiet, but still, if you enjoy visiting, it’s right here. It’s all right here.”

Her craft group has donated to the prize pool for the bingo games that are among social activities organized for residents at Souris Heights.

The complex, designed for residents ages 55 and older, features an attached parking garage, hair salon, guest suite and fitness center that is sometimes used by residents for physical therapy sessions. The 45 one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom units have washers and dryers, trash chutes, dishwashers, garbage disposals, patios/balconies and through-wall air conditioning. Some units are handicapped-accessible.

Units are available to households that earn up to 80% of the area median income, with rents ranging from $651 to $866 a month, which includes central heat and hot water.

Planning for Souris Heights began in 2019. It joins other Beyond Shelter projects in the Minot area, including Cooks Court Senior Living, Fieldcrest, Sunset Ridge, Washington Townhomes, all Minot, and Burlington Willows townhomes.

Dan Madler, Beyond Shelter CEO, Fargo, said the nonprofit is working now to develop Engle Court, to be located five blocks south of Souris Heights on 30th Avenue Northwest, just east of 16th Street.

“That project will be 72 units of affordable, quality homes for Minot families,” he said. “We’re just in the beginning stages. It will be developed over several years, but it will definitely serve the need in the community of Minot very well.”

It is being named for Karen Engle, who had been a long-time board member of the Minot Housing Authority. She died in February 2022.


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