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Housing groups look forward to more projects with state grant money

Habitat For Humanity Rapid City
Lee Strubinger

Habitat for Humanity in Rapid City is constructing a single-family home in a crowded housing market.

The group says more projects like this are possible since the state legislature passed a $200 million housing grant program.

Half a dozen volunteers lift a sheet of drywall onto the ceiling of a new four-bedroom, one-bathroom house in North Rapid City.

The house is going to a mother of five, who is a healthcare worker and is less than a block away from General Beadle Elementary School.

The project is backed by Black Hills Habitat For Humanity. On this particular day, it’s all women hanging drywall.

Kimberly Wallace is the community engagement administrator with Habitat for Humanity, which is coordinating construction.

“Predominantly, who we serve through the Habitat program are women,” Wallace says. “It’s just a fun opportunity for all of us to have a day of that fellowship of just women on-site learning together, growing together.”

habitat 1.jpg
Lee Strubinger
Women Build volunteers hang drywall at a Habitat For Humanity house in North Rapid City

The project is helped in part by a grant from South Dakota Housing Development Authority. The state legislature recently gave the organization $200 million to help with housing infrastructure costs.

The state put in three-quarters of the money from general funds. The other $50 million comes from federal coronavirus relief dollars.

Thirty percent of the funds will go to projects in Rapid City and Sioux Falls. Seventy percent will help fund projects in the rest of the state.

State Representative Jess Olson supported the bill, which had a rocky path through the legislature.

The Republican from Rapid City says the money will help similar projects.

“And, putting all the money toward South Dakota Housing Authority, it was able to be very clearly outlined where those dollars would go—spread across the state, rural and urban communities—to make sure that we can meet those goals,” Olson says.

The $200 million through South Dakota Housing will become available for housing projects by the end of June.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.