Simplified: The Sioux Falls City Council on Tuesday approved a plan to allocate $4 million to increase the number of affordable housing units.

Why it matters

  • This housing proposal specifically targets people who earn about 30 to 40% of the area median income (AMI), which would be about $27,000 to $36,000 annually for a family of four.
  • That's as many as 20,000 people in town, according to a 2021 housing needs assessment. And, as Councilor Rich Merkouris said last week, it's a lot of folks who are working in nursing homes, childcare centers, restaurants, retail, etc.
  • The $4 million is a "drop in the bucket" in solving the housing crisis facing the city, as Sioux Falls Thrive President Michelle Erpenbach said, but councilors agreed it was an important step.
"We can hit the ground now, and go as fast as we can, get some boots in the dirt, get some money put forward and get some units built," Councilor David Barranco said. "And then over time we can have more conversations about the technical aspects and the funding aspects."

What exactly are the funds for?

The specifics of how the funds will be allocated have yet to be worked out, Housing Development Manager Logan Penfield told Sioux Falls Simplified on Tuesday.

  • That said, the first step will be to develop an application for developers to apply to access the $4 million in funds.

The overarching goal will be to add affordable units into existing projects.

"We don't want to build an apartment complex with all 30% AMI units," Penfield said. "We want to have mixed incomes in those units."
  • That might mean a developer renovating an eight-plex applies for funds to buy down rents in a couple of the units and lists the rest at market value. Or maybe a new apartment building sets aside a handful of units as part of this program.

What happens next?

Up to $1 million is available through the end of this year, with up to $2 million available in the 2024 budget.