The Sioux Falls City Council has approved an appropriation of $4 million to an affordable housing fund in response to a 2023 recommendation developed through the leadership of Sioux Falls Thrive’s Housing Action Team.

The affordable housing fund will help finance building and rehabilitation projects proposed to house residents who make between 30% and 40% of Sioux Falls’ median family income (MFI).

The project was endorsed in 2022 by the City Council’s Homeless Task Force and sponsored in part by the REALTOR® Association of the Sioux Empire.

Originally proposed as an Affordable Housing Trust that would have been sustainable long-term, the fund was recommended as a response to the need for homes and apartments that are affordable for these individuals and families.

Why Do We Need an Affordable Housing Fund?

A safe and affordable home is one of the basic needs we each have as human beings. In Sioux Falls, there is a significant housing gap for extremely low-income households, defined in terms of a family of four making $27,200 or less annually.

According to Augustana Research Institute, in 2021 there were only about 28 homes or apartments available and affordable for every 100 households in that income bracket.

Due to this gap, the lowest income renters have the highest housing cost burden of any group in the city.

Sioux Falls Housing Needs Assessment 2021

The Augustana Research Institute

Severely cost-burdened low-income households are more likely than other renters to sacrifice basic necessities — for example, healthy food, healthcare and prescription medication — in order to pay the rent. They are also more likely to experience unstable housing situations, such as evictions, which has a direct correlation to learning loss in children.

Affordable housing is generally defined as housing for which the occupant is paying no more than 30% of gross monthly income for housing costs, including utilities, according to www.hud.gov.

Who Will Live in Funded Homes?

Low-wage earners such as preschool teachers, grocery store stockers, emergency medical technicians, and so many other local working people are unable to find housing they can afford in Sioux Falls.

Yet market rents continue to rise, and supply remains low, in part due to a need for more flexible locally based financing opportunities. An Affordable Housing Trust would fill a financing gap that hampers increased construction and rehabilitation in the city’s supply of housing that is affordable to individuals and families at 40% and 30% of the median family income (MFI).

For a family of four, 40% MFI in Sioux Falls is $36,300.

    • Preschool teachers make about $31,660 per year.
    • Grocery store stockers earn an estimated $30,010 annually.
    • Emergency medical technicians bring home around $29,450 each year.

For a family of four, 30% MFI in Sioux Falls is $27,200.

    • Teaching assistants make about $26,570 annually.
    • Hospitality workers earn an estimated $25,760 per year.
    • Childcare workers bring home around $23,930 each year.

The Sioux Falls Affordable Housing Trust was proposed as an important long-term resource for the City of Sioux Falls in expanding and preserving the number of affordable rental homes. Through loans and grants from the Trust, Sioux Falls would have a flexible vehicle to respond to affordable housing needs.

Written by the Housing Action Team, which is a collaborative group of community leaders supported by Sioux Falls Thrive, the proposal:

    • Established the need,
    • Described the purpose of the Sioux Falls Affordable Housing Trust,
    • Explained the priorities and goals for use of the Trust funds, and
    • Identified a process and criteria for project application review.

Today’s Rents vs. Incomes

What does it take to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Sioux Falls today? Current National Low Income Housing Coalition data shows that for the state of South Dakota the average market rent is $909 per month. Renting that average two-bedroom apartment requires a salary of $17.49/hour or $36,371 annually, according to data released in June 2023.

In Sioux Falls, average rents are higher. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Sioux Falls is $1,030 in 2023, requiring a full-time (40 hours/week) wage of $19.80/hour or $41,186 annually.

In 2021, 19,714 Sioux Falls households were living on less than $35,000 annually, according to the Sioux Falls Housing Needs Assessment. By 2026, that number is still expected to be more than 19,500.

Greater tax generation, creation of jobs, opportunities for economic development, increased job retention and productivity, and the ability to address inequality — all are among the economic benefits of increased access to quality, affordable housing.

Habitat for Humanity
https://www.habitat.org/costofhome/housing-affordability-and-economy

How Can I Get Involved?

State and local housing trust funds across the United States advance community support of affordable housing by guaranteeing that revenues are available each year for these critical needs.

In Sioux Falls, community advocates have been working for more than 10 years to establish this tool in public policy. Under the directive of the City Council’s Homeless Task Force in the fall of 2022, and the One Sioux Falls emphasis on accessible housing as a top goal, the time has come for city leaders, developers, non-profit service providers, and community stakeholders to join forces.

This collaborative proposal represents the work of dozens of people from all walks of life to find solutions for housing the community’s most vulnerable individuals and families. Discussion will continue in an effort to establish a true Housing Trust to replace the one-time funding established in 2023.

About the REALTOR® Association of the Sioux Empire: The REALTOR® Association of the Sioux Empire, Inc. (RASE) is a non-profit association that furthers our members’ career development and advocates to improve the business environment for our members. RASE provides services to about 1,000 members and 115 affiliate members engaged in residential sales and leasing, commercial sales and leasing, appraisal, consultation, home inspection, mortgage lending, and more.

About Sioux Falls Thrive: Sioux Falls Thrive’s mission is to ensure all children in the Sioux Falls area have access to the same opportunities to succeed by working to provide stability in three key areas: food security, out-of-school time, and affordable housing. Thrive was created as the community cradle-to-career workforce development initiative in 2017 by the Community Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, Development Foundation, United Way, and Forward Sioux Falls. As a volunteer-based organization, Thrive harnesses the power of Collective Impact by bringing existing community resources together to work collaboratively. The goal is to kickstart action-based solutions to the issues that inhibit student success. Thrive facilitates the work of collaborative teams and encourages community leaders and existing service providers to think innovatively to solve the most complex issues facing our youth.

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