Conrad gathers leaders to tackle housing challenges

From Sen. Kent Conrad‘s office:

Kent Conrad

FARGO – Senator Kent Conrad was joined today by housing and community leaders from across the Great Plains for the opening of the 2010 Sustainable Homes and Communities Conference.  Senator Conrad is a featured speaker at the three day conference designed to provide information and training to housing and community development specialists.  He played an important role in bringing the conference to North Dakota.

“This conference is an opportunity to bring together local, state and federal resources to provide up-to-date training for housing and community development partners throughout the region,” said Senator Conrad.  “The goal is to foster partnerships ffthat fuel creative solutions to our housing challenges.  I am proud to be working with HUD, USDA-Rural Development and a number of other agencies on this effort.”

Conference participants include Rick Garcia, Regional Administrator of HUD, Jasper Schneider, USDA Rural Development State Director, Dan Hannaher, SBA Regional Administrator, Eddie Sierra, EPA Senior Interagency Project Advisor, and Charmaine Knighton, Deputy Regional Administrator Federal Transit Administration, Region VIII.

Partnering organizations include the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), USDA Rural Development, the Small Business Administration (SBA),  U.S. Treasury Department, U.S. Department of Labor, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), as well as the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency, and the North Dakota Department of Commerce.

The conference is covering multiple program disciplines, including Housing (both single-family, and multifamily), Community Development, Public Housing, Fair Housing, and Native American programs.

The conference will also offer a training for local policy makers on the many federal mandates necessary for the administration of public funding.

Earlier this month, Senator Conrad was joined by HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, in Williston to get a firsthand look at the housing challenges facing oil-impacted communities in western North Dakota. Senator Conrad called the meeting of federal, state and local officials to consider ways that the federal government could support ongoing efforts to address the severe housing shortage that has resulted from the oil discovery in the Bakken and Three Forks formations.

Read the story about this event in Wednesday’s Forum.

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