News for Donor Advisors

A Growing City Creates Growing Challenges

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As you likely know, Sioux Falls has experienced rapid growth over the last decade, with population and household growth outpacing national trends. In fact, between 2010 and 2020, Sioux Falls’ rate of household growth was more than triple the national average. Experts say this trend of significant growth will continue in the years ahead.

Like all prospering cities, growth comes with challenges and Sioux Falls is no exception — especially as it relates to the issue of available, affordable housing. Which is why last year, the City of Sioux Falls commissioned the Augustana Research Institute to conduct a housing needs assessment. At 226 pages, the report is robust and eye-opening. I’ve read it and want to highlight a few of the key takeaways:

  • Sioux Falls has a significant housing gap for households with extremely low income. It’s estimated that only 28 units of affordable housing are available for every 100 households that fall below 30 percent of the area’s median family income. Due to this gap, the renters with the lowest incomes have the highest housing cost burden of any group in the city.
  • It’s important to know that when it comes to affordable housing in the City of Sioux Falls, 43 percent of all households have incomes at or below the eligibility level for affordable housing programs.
  • It’s especially challenging for single parents, immigrants and people of color, people with disabilities or those living on fixed incomes, felons, people with poor credit, and people with mental health or substance use issues to find and maintain housing, and to navigate housing resources.
  • The annual Point in Time Count reveals people of color have a disproportionate risk of homelessness. In 2020, American Indians in Sioux Falls were 32.1 times as likely to experience homelessness as White residents.

Numerous governmental entities and nonprofits — including the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation — are working together to find solutions, including an Accessible Housing Advisory Board consisting of city and county officials, as well as developers, realtors, and other community members.

A web portal is in development that will allow people searching for affordable housing to find available rental units in real-time. In addition, a grant from the Bush Foundation through the Community Foundation to East River Legal Services supports a Housing Retention Specialist to provide low-income tenants with resources to help avoid evictions.

Solving the issue of affordable, available housing is vital not only for the stability and growth of our workforce, but also for the dignity of our families. I’m hopeful by working together, we will one day have safe and affordable homes for everyone.

If you’d like to learn more about our community’s housing needs, and how philanthropy might create potential solutions, contact me. I’d love to visit with you.