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SD Housing outlines September rollout for infrastructure fund


The $200 million in housing infrastructure grants and loans likely won’t reach developers until September.

That’s what state lawmakers on the executive board are hearing from the new head of South Dakota Housing Development Authority.

Lawmakers hoped the money would get used in the spring construction season. The new September window is part of a contentious path to get the housing infrastructure money out the door.

State lawmakers passed the funding in 2022 and placed the $200 million into South Dakota Housing. The Noem administration wanted the money placed into the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. The money went unspent, and lawmakers passed a similar bill again in the 2023 session.

One key difference between the two bills is the recent one requires South Dakota Housing to draft administrative rules.

Dixie Hieb is counsel for the Housing board. She said this is the first time South Dakota Housing has had to go through the rules process in 30 years.

“This bill had a specific ‘you need to adopt administrative rules.’” Heib said. “We looked at whether our exemption could take us out of that requirement and decided that the more specific later in time provision of the bill put us in the administrative process.”

State law requires South Dakota Housing to report to GOED. Several lawyers say that means Housing's rules must go through GOED, also.

Governor Kristi Noem signed the law greenlighting Housing’s authority to spend the money in February.

Several lawmakers are concerned about the pace in getting the rules implemented, especially since the abrupt resignation South Dakota Housing Director Lorraine Polak.

Republican State Senator Lee Schoenbeck inquired with the new head of South Dakota Housing, Chas Olson, whether the legislative board that approves administrative rules group could see the document by July.

“July rules review is certainly in the ballpark,” Olson said.

“Is that your objective?” Schoenbeck asked. “I’m trying to understand, because we’re getting asked by people.”

“Yes, that would be our objective to meet the July meeting,” Olson answered.

Olson said projects that started after the program was signed into law will still qualify to apply for loans and grants.

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.
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