Homes for South Dakota, a coalition of approximately 30 nonprofit, public, and private entities, gathered in the rotunda at the State Capitol to raise awareness of the need for affordable housing across the state and to advocate for a dedicated source of revenue for the South Dakota Housing Opportunity Fund (HOF).

During a luncheon, participants called legislative attention to the HOF, a program that has awarded $16.2 million in grant funding to create affordable housing for over 2,000 families since 2013. Currently, funding for HOF comes from budget surpluses, but Homes for South Dakota members argue that a dedicated source of revenue is needed to strategically implement long-term planning and leverage investments for affordable housing projects.

“HOF dollars have been leveraged with other sources time and again to create affordable housing options for families in every county of the state,” says Tawney Brunsch, Executive Committee Member of the South Dakota Native Homeownership Coalition, an organization that exhibited at the Homes for South Dakota day at the Capitol.

With rental and real estate prices on the rise, nearly a quarter of all South Dakotans have become housing cost-burdened, meaning that more than 30% of their income is being spent on housing and utilities. These households have little money left for other basic necessities, such as food, medical care, and transportation.

“We have many low- to moderate-income families whose incomes can’t keep up with the increasing housing costs. HOF has been combined with federal funding and private financing to build affordable rental and homeownership units – and even provide down payment assistance in some cases. It is a proven successful solution,” says Brunsch.